When Larry Fitzgerald Sr. watches his namesake take the field for the Big Game on Sunday, he won’t show any emotion. Though he has been through a lifetime of practices and camps, recruitment and drafts, and invested emotionally as only a parent can, he won’t so much as let out a cheer during the game.
Larry Fitzgerald Jr., all-pro wide receiver for the Arizona Cardinals, will play in his first Super Bowl game this Sunday, and his father won’t be in the stands rallying. He will be watching though, from a press box, with an objective eye.
Larry Fitzgerald's father, Larry Sr., is a veteran sportswriter for the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder, and will have to cover his own son in the Big Game, an impartial observer.
"I won't cheer," the elder Fitzgerald, 53, told ESPN Magazine. "I'm going to stay objective. I've come too far to suddenly show up in the press box with pompons. But if you could put a monitor on my insides, you'd find a whole fan club in there."
Larry Fitzgerald Jr.’s performance this season has certainly been headline-worthy. The University of Pittsburgh alum recorded 96 receptions for 1,431 yards, and 12 touchdowns. In the postseason, where his team wasn’t expected to make much noise, the Minnesota native broke Jerry Rice’s postseason record for receiving yards with 419. Though his father has always dreamed that he’d make it to the Big Game, the reality is still hard to believe.
"I've been sticking needles in my skin just to see if this is all real," says the father. "I've been in this business so long, covered so many great athletes, from Jordan to Magic to Kirby Puckett. And to see your own son understand what greatness is all about, to have him be the one who says, 'Listen guys, we're going to win this. Follow my lead.' Man, it's just … gratifying."
The younger Fitzgerald understands his father’s role, but still longs to see him cheering.
"It'd be nice if he could come down in the stands and sit there and support me like a father, instead of sitting up in the press box where he can't cheer for me,” he told reporters at Media Day. “But that's my dad's job."
Sunday for the Fitzgeralds will be all about business.
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