As we move closer to the Super Bowl...I wanna let you in on a little secret...there is no such thing as getting rest the night before the game.
It is a misnomer.
The night before the game is the night where you get the LEAST amount of sleep. When you are about to play in the biggest game of your life...in front of the world...the mere thought of it keeps you up for most of the night. I've never played in a Super Bowl. Neither have you. One can only imagine what it must be like in the hours leading up to the game. As many of you know, I played football when I was in college. I played at South Carolina State University. When I played, I could barely sleep the night before the game. Neither could most of my teammates. It would be routine to find my teammates up until 3 or 4 am. Some would be playing a game of cards. Some would be up watching tv. Some would be studying. Some would be mentally preparing for the game. Very few would be asleep. Too much anxiety. There is a lot of preparation that leads up to the 3 hours that you spend on the field. As you prepare, sometimes you forget to do the little things...like get some rest. I remember times where my roommate Russell and I would stay up talking about the game for hours...before we even played it.
We only played on the college level. It's magnified even more when you're talking about the NFL. The players who will participate in the Super Bowl will probably get very little sleep tonight. They've worked hard all year to get to this point. You can't view the game as "just another game" because it's not. It's the only game. I've only attended one Super Bowl in my life. It was Super Bowl XXI...the Denver Broncos vs the New York Giants. My uncle, Harry Carson, was the starting middle linebacker for the Giants. He told me that he barely slept the night before that game. He said that just before kickoff, he found himself unable to breathe and hyperventilating. I understood. I had the same thing happen to me a few times when I played at South Carolina State. There was one time where I nearly fainted after the 1st play of the game. It was the emotion...adrenaline...anxiety of playing in a game. I'm sure that it's 10 times more extreme when you're playing in a Super Bowl. My uncle also told me that he had several teammates throw up just before they went on the field. One teammmate, quarterback Phil Simms, only had an hour of sleep. Simms went on to lead the Giants to victory that day and was named the Super Bowl MVP.
As you watch the game tomorrow, don't be suprised if you see guys getting oxygen before the game starts. Don't be surprised if you see some guys sitting on the bench and they are yawning. There is a lot of pressure and anxiety that is built up. And the one thing that we all need...will be the thing that the players won't get tonight...a good nights sleep.