Think you’re stressed? Imagine being the wife of a Panthers coach this weekend

Ken and Jordan Dorsey
Ken and Jordan Dorsey

Had you been sitting at Dogwood Restaurant in Charlotte the week before the Super Bowl, you might have spotted a group of the Panthers coaches’ wives.

About 14 of them get together every month for dinner — they never pick the same place twice and the person celebrating a birthday month gets to pick. Unless they are doing takeout. That calls for Zoe’s Kitchen.

And they have already hit up Baku, Napa On Providence and Cowfish, so don’t expect to spot them there this year.

Jordan Dorsey, who’s married to Panthers quarterback coach Ken Dorsey (both pictured above), said their dinner at Dogwood “was our pow-wow of, how are we going to do this?” come Super Bowl weekend.

But they’re used to figuring it out together. “We have a great camaraderie,” said Dorsey of the women, whose connection she compared to the “great bond” the team of men has displayed this year.

The women operate as a support system for one another, whether that means helping out with the kids, rides to the doctor or emotional support, said Ashley Brown, wife of assistant offensive line coach Ray Brown.

“That’s the whole thing,” Brown said, “is trying to create a bond and trying to create some unity off the field because they’ve got it — the guys got it, the coaches have it, so we just need to be able to do things together and to like each other. I refer to all these ladies as my NFL sisters.”

Dorsey, who has two kids, ages 5 and 7, said the season can get pretty difficult and overwhelming, whether the wives are scheduling guests or trying to organize activities.

Plus, she said, her husband doesn’t stress and keeps busy planning for the next game. “I carry all of the stress…. I think that’s the case for most of the wives because that’s what we do best.”

Brown also has two kids, ages 13 and 20, and said her husband is often gone for coaching duties from 5:30 a.m.-10 p.m. And that’s when the team isn’t traveling. But she gives him a break by “holding our home front down.” Oh, and by mounting a sign on the mantel that reads, “We interrupt this marriage to bring you football season.”

Ashley Brown

Now, the coaches’ wives are prepped to spend the end of the season at the Super Bowl once most of them have flown in Friday.

This weekend, Dorsey and her family are planning a low-key stay in San Jose, possibly to take a trip to the children’s museum and then catch the Panthers when they get a break Saturday afternoon. She said others will be attending events like Taste of the NFL Saturday night before everyone converges for the pre-game family brunch (sans players) Sunday. And of course, the big game itself is on the agenda.

Brown said she is going to let the kids do the NFL Experience with the friends they brought, see the city, grab dinner with friends in the area at Santana Row, go to a comedy show “and just kind of hang out and enjoy the game.

“And the victory party on Sunday.”

Photos: Jordan Dorsey, Katie Toussaint