From the last-second second-guessing in team war rooms to the not-always-entertaining waiting game that plays out in prospects' living rooms, the NFL Draft produces an endless supply of nervous moments.
Yet in the middle of it all, Ginger Jarrett had her nerves under control – especially once she saw the name of the prospect that the Panthers had decided to draft.
Right after the Panthers picked Sione Fua and right before they picked Kealoha Pilares, Jarrett got the honor – and the much easier task – of announcing her team's selection of West Virginia cornerback Brandon Hogan to kick off the third and final day of the NFL Draft.
"I wasn't nervous. I really wasn't," said Jarrett, who stood at the Panthers' draft table at Radio City Music Hall in New York and announced the team's fourth-round pick. "My only slight bit of fear was, 'Gosh, please pick somebody who I can pronounce their name.'"
The Panthers obliged, and Jarrett experienced a thrill she won't soon forget. An original PSL owner at Bank of America Stadium along with her husband, Coy, Jarrett was randomly selected from a pool of PSL owners as the second annual winner of the Panthers Primetime Pick Draft Experience.
Jarrett, a Gibsonville, N.C., resident who retired as a quality manager at American Express in 2007, fondly recalls the call from Panthers ticket marketing manager Chrystal Rowe telling her that she'd been selected to make the selection.
"She said, 'What if I told you that you won?' I said, 'Well, I'd probably tell you that you're kidding because I've never won anything in my life,'" Jarrett said. "Needless to say, I was completely blown away."
The announcing of the pick was the centerpiece of the experience, but it was far from the only perk Jarrett and her husband experienced. The Panthers flew to couple to New York and provided accommodations for two nights. They enjoyed VIP seats for the first two days of the draft, and in between they got a behind-the-scenes tour of Radio City Music Hall; met NFL commissioner Roger Goddell as a part of a fan forum breakfast; heard former NFL great Sterling Sharpe speak; and still found time to be tourists.
"It was a great experience. We had a wonderful time," Jarrett said. "I'm so appreciative. I've always felt like the Panthers were a first-class, professional organization, and I just got to see it from a different perspective, from a different side.
"I know now that it's true even beyond Sundays – it's true every day."
The highlight of the trip, of course, was making the pick, something she did while sporting a No. 1 Panthers jersey with "JARRETT" emblazoned across the back.
"I thought it was just totally awesome," she said. "It's so different being there in person. It's kind of the same perspective as when you go to a football game in person as opposed to watching at home. At home, you may see things better because you don't have anybody jumping in front of you, but the atmosphere is so exciting."
Jarrett also is excited to see what Hogan and the other players the Panthers drafted will be able to accomplish when they team with Carolina's returning players and try to improve from a trying 2010 season.
"You've got to put the past behind you. It's a new year," Jarrett said. "You're not always going to have a winning season, but that's one of the things about being a true fan – you have to follow along even when things aren't great.
"I'm just real excited to start playing football."