It’s hard to believe it has already been ten years since I played in Super Bowl 41. To put into words what the experience was like has always been somewhat mystifying. It all started in the small Scandinavian town of Lindstrom, Minnesota. My father, a Methodist minister, was a quarterback at heart and had a fantastic arm, or at least I thought so as a young boy. We would spend countless hours in the backyard playing catch, as my passion for the game of football began to grow. The hours of practice, though, would come out of the Rivertown community of Hastings, Minnesota, where I grew up as a young adult, and where my dad and I continued our backyard football experience. I love sharing the story of how football started with my dad, because it became one of my most special Super Bowl moments.
As I ran out of the tunnel for Super Bowl 41, I heard a familiar voice shout my name. I turned, and there, almost falling over the railing was my dad. His face was filled with pride, and mine filled with overwhelming excitement and tears. I ran back to him, in what felt like an incredible cinematic moment. I reached up and grabbed his hand. We looked at each other, and once again became father and son playing catch in the backyard. I remember looking up at him and saying, “It all started with you, Dad, in the backyard. Thank you for everything you’ve given me, and I love you very much.”
We went on to defeat the Chicago Bears 29 to 17, and became Super Bowl 41 champions. It was a dream come true. I wanted to share this special moment with all of you because this is what is coming to Minnesota this February. The Super Bowl is not just a game. It is the product of dreams. It is the full spectrum of a player’s life and identity, built upon their memories and countless hours of sacrifice and work. It will be an experience unparalleled by anything you have ever experienced. Bar none. So sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride. Take it from this Golden Gopher Minnesota Super Bowl champion. Dreams do come true. And you’re about to experience it!