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NFL players with quirky pregame superstitions you need to hear about

(NEXSTAR) — From wearing lucky underwear to indulging in junk food, some NFL players rely on pregame rituals or superstitions to help boost their confidence on the field.

Take, for example, Kansas City Chiefs’ star quarterback Patrick Mahomes, whose team will face off against the San Francisco 49ers this Super Bowl Sunday. In a November 2023 interview with ESPN’s Adam Schefter and NFL icon Peyton Manning, Mahomes admitted to sporting the same pair of red underwear for every game of his professional football career.

The 28-year-old said his wife, Brittany, bought the pair for him, so he’s committed to wearing them. If you’re concerned about his hygiene, don’t fret.

“I only wear them for game day though. They’re not too worn down. I clean them. I wash them every once in a while, at least,” Mahomes quipped. “As long I’m winning football games, I’ll keep the superstition going.”

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes sits on the bench with teammates before the NFL Super Bowl 58 football game against the San Francisco 49ers, Sunday, Feb. 11, 2024, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

Chiefs’ tight end Travis Kelce, on the other hand, isn’t following in Mahomes’ footsteps.

“I don’t think I’m superstitious,” Kelce said during a pre-Super Bowl press conference last week. “I think I like to live my life a certain way in hopes that I get good things to happen to me, but I’m not wearing the same underwear every single game or nothing like that.”

San Francisco 49ers defensive end Clelin Ferrell (94) runs onto the field during an NFL football game against the New York Giants, Thursday, Sept. 21, 2023, in Santa Clara, Calif. (AP Photo/Scot Tucker)

Defensive lineman Clelin Ferrell of the 49ers has a different type of pregame ritual that he refuses to break: a trip to the movies. Ferrell started this tradition because he “finds solace and inspiration in the world of cinema,” according to the team’s official website.

“I just like to see whatever’s out. That’s my way of staying in tune with what’s new because I really like cinema and the theater,” Ferrell said in a statement.

And he doesn’t skip out on getting snacks at the concession stand.

“I get the popcorn, nachos, ICEE, the whole nine. And honestly, I mix all three flavors of ICEE – blue raspberry, cherry and coke – and I get a large. I’m even getting a hot dog for the movie. That’s like my cheat meal for the week,” he said.

Apart from Mahomes and Ferrell, there are plenty of other quirky rituals from NLF players who won’t be taking the field on Sunday. Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen told Yahoo Sports earlier this month that he throws up before every game.

“I don’t know what it is. I don’t know. It’s not like I’m nervous,” Allen said. “I think it’s, honestly, primal… And I think my body just naturally does it.”

Former Jacksonville Jaguars defensive tackle John Henderson took pregame intensity to a whole new level with face slapping. Yes, you read that right. Before hitting the field, Henderson would ask a member of the training staff to administer a hearty slap to his face, according to Bleacher Report.

The legendary Tom Brady, widely regarded as one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time, took a softer approach in getting pumped for game day. The legendary quarterback, who announced his retirement last year, relied on mantras and special stones for luck. Brady credited his ex-wife Gisele Bundchen for this ritual, telling CBS Sports in 2019 that she’s all about “the power of intention.” With a trophy cabinet full of championships, who’s to argue with Brady’s methods?

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