By Luke Sims
While reading the running back round table that Sports Illustrated just did (Link in the Hub), it struck me that the ritual side of football is often overlooked. I watch a lot of tennis and those guys have some seriously wacky rituals. Whether is Rafael Nadal not being able to cross the net until an opponent does, not being able to step on lines, lining up all of his water bottles, wearing shoes two sizes too small; Lleyton Hewitt constantly adjusting his collar and necklace; or Goran Ivanišević needing his “lucky ball”, I grew up watching some wacky stuff.
Yet when I watch football everything is so orchestrated that it is odd to find the quirks that plague other sports. Sometimes I think the closest we really come is Mitch Berger keeping a Snickers bar in his spare shoe on the sidelines. And he’s a punter… Occasionally we see kickers and punters with quirks and noticeable rituals. Everyone else, however, appears to move with perfect intention – be it calling a play, noting opposing packages, or coaching on the sidelines.
So when I was reading about Maurice Jones-Drew, Michael Turner, and Adrian Peterson getting ready for their games it struck me that I really don’t know much about what the players on the Jags do before game, plays, etc… While some players become notorious for jawing with opponents (John Randle and Cortland Finnegan come to mind), that isn’t really a ritual in my book. Michael Turner doing everything precisely the same way on game day is really getting there though.
In contrast, Maurice Jones-Drew really seems to have a pretty flexible order to things. He goes to sleep late (Who doesn’t?), gets up at six, watches some Law and Order, does breakfast, jog, warm up, strap on the pads, study the game plan a bit, and then it’s superstar time! It isn’t quite the ritual that gets attention, but it’s the way to effectively prepare for a game. And the results are seen week in and week out on the field.
Any weird rituals or pre-game routines you guys have noticed on the Jags? Anything you guys like to do when you go out and play a sport?
– Luke N. Sims
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