Most fans probably think the Saturday night before the Super Bowl has to be the most stressful night of the players’ lives. That it’s a night of tossing and turning in bed while thinking about what they’ll be playing for on Sunday, how big the stage will be, and how fortunate they are to be living their dreams.
So I decided to ask members of the New England Patriots this week about how they will actually spend this Saturday night. What are their routines? How easy is it too sleep? How darn stressful is it?
But instead of stress, what I found out was it will be a night full of chocolate ice cream, Fortnite, and episodes of popular Food Network shows like “Chopped” and “Guy’s Grocery Games.”
Here are their stories.
Julian Edelman: ‘A little melatonin’
“Eat. Then we have meetings, usually. Go over the game plan, go over the whole call sheet. And then I take a little melatonin, like cherry juice. They have these melatonin cherry juices, it’s supposed to be good for anti-inflammatory.
“And then I pass out. I like to be in bed by 9 and watch some TV. Catch a flick and then end up falling asleep.”
Rob Gronkowski: ‘You gotta take it all in’
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“We have meetings and stuff and final walk-throughs where we’re bringing it all together to make sure we’re all on the same page. Get a nice dinner. Probably watch a movie and get a good night’s sleep – that’s the most crucial.
“I wouldn’t say it’s the easiest night to sleep but you gotta treat it like any other game and keep your mindset in and keep your routine going like any other time.
“It’s overwhelming every year because it’s a once in a lifetime type of opportunity and now this is my fifth time here and it’s pretty spectacular to be part of it. Every single year no matter how may times you’ve been you don’t take it for granted because you know how hard it is to get here and you know how much work you put in and then you’re season can be over just like that. You gotta take it all in, you gotta enjoy it.”
Phillip Dorsett: ‘Chocolate ice cream’
“I’m relaxed. I just try to get sleep. I like sleep. I mean, you think about (the game) but you try not to make it any bigger than what it is. I mean honestly, I’m the same guy. I do the same thing every game – I have a routine. I’m a routine-orientated guy.
“I eat junk food the night before a game. I eat chocolate ice cream. I do it before every game. That’s the only night I eat ice cream… I like chocolate. I started doing it in college. We had really good chocolate ice cream in our team hotel in college and I just kept doing it. I had a big game after the first time but there have been plenty of games where I probably didn’t have a good game so it’s not really superstion or anything like that. I just do it.”
Patrick Chung: ‘I like to watch Chopped‘
“I just watch ‘Modern Family,’ Food Network … I like ‘Chopped,’ hopefully ‘Guy’s Grocery Games’ is on. I like to watch ‘Chopped’ and wonder, ‘Damn, how am I gonna make something out of this?’ And I just try to ease my mind, man. Just chill out, have some juice and relax.”
Dont’a Hightower: ‘I’m playing Fortnite’
“It’s not really different (than a regular night before a game). I don’t really have a crazy routine that I do, besides meeting and chilling or relaxing or whatever. Usually if it’s a home game, I’m playing Fortnite, so I’m relaxing and I’m unwinding. Some dudes are playing spades or cards or whatever and we’re just in there hanging out. We put in the work all week so we’re just trying to unwind and relax.”
Hightower brought his gaming system with him to Atlanta and when asked if he’d be playing Fortnite this Saturday night he smiled and said, “Probably.”
Nate Ebner: ‘Kick up the feet’
“I mean, it’s the same as it is every week for me. I treat it the same as any other game. This is not the time to start to try a bunch of different stuff. Freaking out is not going to do anything. Your sleep is important for you – it’s a long game. So it’s important to be as rested as possible so I just try to do whatever I can to calm myself and get a good night sleep. Trust that you’ve done enough of your studying and whatnot and get some good rest. Watch some TV, kick up the feet, just try to get comfortable and get some good sleep.
“You think about (the Super Bowl) a little bit but again, it’s one of those things you could waste all your energy laying in bed thinking about stuff that’s not even happening or you could relax your mind and wait because you know you can’t control anything or change anything right then and fall asleep.”
Rex Burkhead: ‘Just lock in mentally’
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“Just lock in mentally, kind of go through the plays again and making sure I’m locked in on my assignments and then just try to relax. Get as much sleep as possible because it’s a long day leading up to the Super Bowl and you’re going to be antsy until you go to that stadium.
“Last year I actually slept pretty good. It’s a long week so you’re kind of tired anyways and once you get some rest you’re feeling good for the game.”
Lawrence Guy: ‘I just relax’
“Saturday night we go through our film session, finish it off. For me, I just relax. The game is a game. Big game, regular game… games are games. It’s going to be decided by who plays more technically sound and who plays the hardest down-by-down football. So I just pretty much relax, enjoy it, get a good night’s sleep, get up and get a good breakfast.
“If you want to watch a show, watch a show. Watch a movie. I go to sleep around 10:30-11.
“It’s really easy to sleep. I tell the guys it’s just another game. I know what type of game it is but when you step on that field everything gets ignored. You don’t see the fans, you don’t hear all that. You just see the person in front of you who you’re gonna compete against. What happens in the game, somebody’s gonna win, someone’s gonna lose. So when you look at that atmosphere, it is what it is.”
James White: ‘It’s that easy’
“I just relax in my room, watch a little film and go to sleep,” he said with a laugh.
When asked if it was that easy, he laughed again and said, “Yup, it’s that easy.”
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