What do players do before the biggest Monday night football game in the history of the world or at least in Charlotte?
Carolina tackle Jordan Gross takes a nap, wakes up, heads to the team hotel and eats a pregame meal. About 5 p.m. he goes to his room and, for 20 minutes, meditates. He doesn't chant. He thinks about the game and his role.
"That's my last chance to calm down," Gross says.
He's a little nervous but he can't allow himself to be wired.
"I used to be more nervous and you end up burning so much energy," says Gross. "To play a whole game as an o-lineman requires a lot of energy. I’d love to see how many calories you use."
Soon the players get in buses and ride from the hotel to the game.
"You know what will be cool?" Gross asks. "The cool thing is driving from the hotel to the stadium because you see everybody out tailgating. And every game you win there’s more people out tailgating, there’s more Panther jerseys and less of the other team's.
" And it’s very nostalgic for me because I’ve seen the scene a few times and I’ve seen the other scene a lot of times and it’s beautiful when it’s all blue and black."
Guard Travelle Wharton planned to drive to Bank of America Stadium early, sit in a tub and ride a stationary bike. He needed to move. He drove back home and then drove to the hotel.
On the bus from the hotel to the game he planned to put on his headphones and listen to music.
"I like to put on something smooth, nothing real hard," says Wharton. "I’ll play Kirk Franklin and some gospel to kind of calm me down and let me enjoy the moment until it’s time to get to the stadium. I'll take my head phones out and get in the routine of getting taped, getting stretched.
"I lay out my stuff, make sure I got all my pads, chill out. We used to go outside but now I just make sure I got everything laid out.
"Because," says Wharton, "once you get loose and once the first group goes out that’s when, OK, it’s showtime. You’re on the clock. It’s counting down"