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What It's Like to Have an NFL Dad

This story starts when I texted New York Giants offensive lineman Rich Seubert after their huge, 31-7 December win over the Washington Redskins (if they had lost, I wasn’t going to send the text). I asked him if I could meet his kids to ask “What is it like to have a dad in the NFL?”

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No more than 30 seconds later he replied “sounds good!” (You’re probably wondering how I got his cell phone number. Well that would be my dad. He helped out Rich and his football buddies one time while they were turkey hunting in Upstate New York and one the players locked his keys in the truck!)

This season, Rich played left guard and also filled in at center when Shaun O’Hara was injured, doing an excellent job hiking the ball to Eli Manning. Rich is from a small town in Wisconsin. There were only about 40 kids in his high school graduating class. That’s where he met his wife, Jodi. Some 13 years later he still travels back home and goes fishing. But nowadays, it is with his two sons, Hunter (age 6) and Isaac (3).

He invited us by his house to meet up. I was scared to go in, but then Isaac opened the door with his dog and a big smile on his face, and everything was good. Hunter was in the basement playing Wii football, yelling up to dad to fix the remote again. So we all ended up in the basement talking while Hunter tossed a Nerf football to his dad and Isaac laughed and asked me if I wanted to play with his construction trucks.

Hunter is a Rich Junior, through and through. Life is all about football, fishing, and four-wheeling. If you walk in his bedroom there is a big “Seubert 69” flag hanging above the closet door. When dad gets home and school is out, it is either football inside or on the back lawn. If you ask him what position he wants to play, it’s receiver (but dad will tell you “We hike in this house!”). Isaac pulled me around his room to show me his games. Rich calls Isaac Smiley because he is always happy and mom’s helper. Besides dad as their super hero, it’s Batman for Isaac and Ben 10 for Hunter. (With number three coming this spring, I bet it will be Cinderella because girls rule!)

You know how teachers want us to read every night? Mom let us know the boys like a bunch of books before bedtime, and starting this year Hunter reads and dad falls asleep first.

When Hunter is visiting grandpa Seubert back home in Wisconsin, he hops out of bed and asks grandpa “Do you want to take me four-wheeling?” Besides that, the most fun is fishing on grandpa’s pond, catching crappies and bluegill.

If you ask the brothers if they get to hang out with their dad’s football buddies, it’s tight end Kevin Boss they talk about. Kevin better not mess with Hunter, who has a blue belt in karate. When the Giants are home in the New Meadowlands Stadium, mom and the boys sit close enough to wave. If they win, they stay and hug dad. And if they lose? “We just go,” Hunter says, joking around just like his dad does.

So I really wanted to know if Hunter remembered his dad lifting him up on the field after winning Super Bowl XLII. After his dad says “you don’t remember that,” Hunter grins and says, “Yeah, he was all wet.” I got to try on Rich’s Super Bowl ring; it fit over two of my fingers!

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Before we left, Rich got out his cell phone and took a picture of his boys and sent it to my older sister Jordan’s phone. She really wanted to come but was back home cheering at her first game. Rich wrote her a note, something like, “wish you were here.” This is just the kind of down-to-earth guy he is.

Being around the Seubert’s even for a bit just makes you want to be around them more. The neat part is, home is pretty normal with school, toys, visits to grandparents, and lots of games with dad, especially football. Next time you watch the Giants look for #69. He is a cool dad!