Quite arguably, Sunday night brings up a matchup of mammoth proportions, as the 11-3 New York Giants play host to the 11-3 Carolina Panthers, in the battle of who claims the number one seed in the NFC.
At stake for the number one seed, is home field advantage throughout the playoffs, and a first round bye. For the number two seed, home field advantage for one game against the wildcard winner, and a first round bye.
As I sit here writing this article, I’m thinking about how many pregame rituals that not just the players, but fans go through before a big game such as this.
I will walk you through a typical pregame ritual/preparation that I go through before a game of this magnitude.
To start things off, I make sure to hang out with the rival fan of who my team is playing the next day. I accomplished that quite simply last night, by spending the evening with my father, who suffice it to say, is a Giants fan.
Last night before I went to bed I slept a certain way that I do only before a big game.
I woke up feeling fully refreshed this morning, and clicked on ESPN to catch Sunday NFL Countdown with Boomer and the gang.
While watching that, I started my pregame ritual.
I put on my black Panthers player practice shorts, and my black Carolina Panthers Equipment long sleeve shirt.
Next, I put my ash-gray Penn State—with Nittany Lion logo underneath “Penn State”—t-shirt over top of my Panthers Equipment long sleeve “T.”
I now go out to the kitchen and have a cup of coffee to get my juices flowing. On a cold, cloudy, wet-weather morning it’s very difficult for me to get motivated. I’m kind of like an old muscle car in the sense that I have to be prodded and fettered to get the desired outcome of high performance.
After I have my cup of coffee and watch a few more minutes of NFL Sunday Countdown, I continue with my pregame ritual.
My next pregame preparation is one of the most sacred to me. I put on my 2006 size 40 game worn Curtis Deloatch, number 41 white “away” jersey—the same jersey I wore to my first Panthers (preseason) game against the Eagles.
I then perform my next sacred ritual by putting on a pair of Panthers game worn, white pants—over top of my black shorts, of course—complete with black and blue striping and Panther head logo on both side panels, and blue belt.
I now stop my pregame ritual for some lunch.
For lunch, I go to the nearby Italian restaurant—yes, dressed as I am—and have a delicious Philly cheesesteak, “with” (if you’re from Philly or the Philadelphia area, you know what I mean by “with;” for those who aren’t familiar, “with” means everything).
I bring lunch back, and try not to make a mess all over myself, as the cheesesteak has the tomato sauce on it, and that can be a real pain to get that out of clothes, especially white clothes.
After lunch, I finish my pregame ritual by putting on my white Nike sneakers with Teal and Silver accents, Panthers football laces wristband, and my Panthers sideline hat.
I am now ready for gametime, a good six-and-a-half hours early.
Now I just need to find my Panthers helmet with “Darth Vader” style face mask (like the one San Diego’s LT wears), complete with dark visor.
If you have any pregame rituals of your own, please share them in the comments section.
Let the Sunday games begin, and go Panthers!