Jason O. Watson/Getty Images(SAN FRANCISCO) — When the Denver Broncos hit the field Sunday, they’ll be dressed in their white uniforms instead of the orange ones they typically wear for home games.
And it may have been a superstitious choice on their part: the Broncos won their last Super Bowl in those white jerseys during the 1998 season. And this season, the Broncos were 6-2 on the road and tied a franchise record for the most away-game wins in a season.
“We’ve had Super Bowl success in our white uniforms, and we’re looking forward to wearing them again in Super Bowl 50,” John Elway, executive vice president of football operations and general manager of the Broncos, said in a press release about the decision.
Although there’s no way to prove that superstitions really work, a number of players and even coaches on both teams will probably continue their game day rituals this Sunday.
Here are some of the pre-game rituals the Carolina Panthers and Denver Broncos have previously admitted to doing:
Carolina Panthers Coach Ron Rivera always wears the same shoes on game days.
Rivera has admitted to being very superstitious before games. Rivera’s wife Stephanie cooks him the same breakfast before every home game using bread from a local store called Great Harvest Bread Co. She also gives him a peanut butter and oatmeal cookie before every game, according to ESPN.
Before every game, Rivera said he walks to the 20-yard line during introductions, looks up at his wife in her seat and says “I love you” in sign language.
For the last three years Rivera has worn the same pair of black Nike shoes, which equipment manager Jackie Miles shines before every game, according to ESPN. He only wears the shoes on game days.
Carolina Panthers Quarterback Cam Newton chews gum.
Newton said he’s superstitious about chewing gum during games.
“I just depend on Wrigley’s Winterfresh chewing gum to get me through the adverse times in the game…and in a given game, the superstition comes. You made a big play? Even if the gum is rock solid, you can’t take it out,” Newton said in an interview with the Charlotte Observer in December 2013. “You got to keep fighting through it. You may put another piece of gum in, but that’s that play-making gum. But if you’re sucking, of course, you’ve got to toss that gum.”
Denver Broncos Quarterback Peyton Manning likes to sleep in.
At his last Super Bowl appearance in 2014, Manning said his Super Bowl ritual is sleeping late.
“Hopefully I’ll sleep in,” Manning said in an interview with the Denver Post in January 2014. “It ends up being a little bit of a longer day and you can shorten the time before the game by being asleep.”
Denver Broncos Offensive Lineman Louis Vasquez keeps his mouthpiece in the whole game.
At media day for Super Bowl 48, Vasquez admitted that he had a game-day superstition.
Vasquez said he never takes out his mouthpiece during the game.
Carolina Panthers Linebacker Ben Jacobs grows a beard.
Hair is pretty important to Jacobs.
“I kind of do a beard every year. Mostly because I’m lazy, and I don’t want to shave it, and then half because I’m superstitious, I think it helps us win games,” Jacobs told KLAS-TV on Super Bowl 50 opening night. “This has been about 14 weeks now, and I haven’t had a haircut in 14 weeks. Just one more week, and then I’m shaving it off.”
Denver Broncos Wide Receiver Emmanuel Sanders plays video games.
Sanders tweeted in September 2014 that his pre-game ritual is to play the Madden NFL video game “against the opposing team.”
Gameday! Pre-game ritual… Madden against the opposing team. #VisualizeSuccess pic.twitter.com/KnQkkNsrQV
— Emmanuel Sanders (@ESanders_10) September 14, 2014
Carolina Panthers Linebacker Luke Kuechly eats at a local restaurant before games.
Kuechly regularly eats at the Roasting Company in Charlotte, North Carolina.
“That’s one of my go-tos before a game,” Kuechly said in an interview with the Charlotte Observer on Wednesday.
The Roasting Company owner Doug Bell told the Charlotte Observer that when the Panthers lost on Dec. 27 to the Atlanta Falcons, Kuechly confessed to him that he broke his streak and hadn’t eaten there the week before the game.
Before he left for California for Super Bowl 50, Bell said Kuechly ate at the restaurant. But just in case, Bell said he decided to send the restaurant’s bottled “Tico” sauce so Kuechly could put it on whatever he eats while on the West Coast.
Denver Broncos Outside Linebacker DeMarcus Ware listens to music.
Ware’s pre-game ritual consists of listening to calming music before kickoff.
“I have some type of nice music [playing]. I listen to more calming jazz music. I don’t need pump-up music. I’m already pumped up for the game. I’m listening to Al Green, some type of B.B. King, or Jason Mraz — soft listening stuff; that’s more me. I feel like if I’m listening to calm music, my body is more calm, and I can stretch and release,” Ware said in an interview with Pop Sugar in February 2015.
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