Moms. Football moms. That's who makes football run. Men and dads may be coaching our sons, but it's Mom who drives the sport. Who drives to every practice and game. Who provides snacks and oranges and sports drinks. Who do bake sales. Who clean the uniforms.
Who learn gloves, not cleats, are the real odifours offenders. Only football moms know how horribly hands can stink. Who drive home from practices with windows down because there is no smell on the planet quite like a minivan full of pubescent sweat-soaked males and musty shoulder pads.
Mom cheers the loudest, and wipe the tears. Moms build their sons up and support them when they're down. They make and buy shirts and jerseys with their names.
They go to football seminars and learn about the game. They may not know as much as dad, but they know enough. They for sure know when their son is fouled.
They shudder in horror when their baby is laid out on the field, not moving. Knowing, Rubbing Some Dirt In It, isn't close to what a kiss can do.
They shuttle their sons to ERs and surgeries and orthopedic appointments. They have every cast, remember every stitch. Blush a little when the ER nurse greets them by name.
They're the engine that drives the football train.
Whether it's Pop Warner, middle/high school football or college ball, moms are there every step of the way. Filling out forms, taking them for physicals, buying cleats, mouthpieces, footballs and gloves. Contraptions to help them do better. They volunteer to make programs, paint logos on the field, make goody bags.
They give up things to buy that football camp or size 15 cleat or football booster club membership. Give up time, money and effort because it's what makes their boys happy. It's what fills their souls with joy. A sport that leaves them broken and bruised. Physically and mentally. It's what they want, who they are, so they willingly sacrifice what they can to make their sons hopes, dreams, goals come true.
They make hotel reservations and lay out trips. They figure how many tickets are needed. They make scrap books. Buy every newspaper, print out any article with their son’s name. Make videos. Send out recruiting CDs. Meet coaches.
They frame awards. Remember who was mean to their son. Who helped, who was there.
When a sliver of these young men make it to the NFL, nothing changes. They may not have to deal with mounds of laundry or the expensive burden of paying for football, but the rest stays the same. They are in it.
They may not get to be a part of their daily lives anymore, but they're traveling to games, watching the NFL Network, they're reading Sports Illustrated and scouring what they can find that show their sons.
The NFL is a cruel business. It doesn't matter what you did yesterday, it matters what you did today. These moms hearts ache when they don't see the love.
When their sons are called busts after a game or two.
When they're sent hateful letters.
When they're booed.
Moms plan holidays around football. If you're in school and you miss Thanksgiving it means you're still playing. Moms find a way to still get you that turkey dinner with all the fixins. If you're playing on Christmas, it means you've made it to the NFL. If moms can't be with you, they worry you're not alone, that some other Mom is cooking for you.
The average age of an NFL player is 26. Most are single and their moms are their greatest support. When the camera is on them, it's, HI MOM, they shout. There's a reason. They know who got them there.
Over 54% of all NFL revenue comes from females. So, while football is seen as a male sport, it's women who drive it. Who fill the teams with their children, buy the tickets and the gear. Lots of gear.
When you see a player do well, just know, in all likelihood, his mom is why he's there. When you blast a player, know it's Mom who will feel that pain the most.
Chances are, if a guy makes it in the NFL, he was a ‘momma's boy’, not daddy's. Sons aren't playing football unless Mom signs off on it. It's usually not dad doing all of the above.
Dad may talk football, may pat his son on the back, go to the games, hug him when he's down, but it's Mom who's drying his tears, and that doesn't stop when he runs out from the tunnel and CBS announces his name.
This is the life of an NFL Mom. That player you love or hate, has a Mom who probably went through above. When we bash their sons, we're slicing their hearts, dumping on their blood, their sweat and their tears.
This is a shoutout to every NFL Mom out there, the unseen face who got our favorite player to the big show. A thank you. On the bad days, we'll try and remember that some Mom is breaking for her son. Trying to pick him up.
For our Broncos moms, whose sons may be down right now, and for the ones who are riding sky high, we got your back. For the wives who allow their mothers-in-laws to still be a big part of their sons’ careers, good for you. You're appreciated, as well.
Going to end this with a thank you. Without you, there would be no NFL, no Denver Broncos. It's a tough sport. It takes a tougher Mom to get her son there. It doesn't mean that a, Thank You, won't be appreciated. Here's ours from MHR: Bravo Zulu (well done)!