Photo Gallery: Play 60 Super Kid
When Steelers fan Thomas Brown entered the NFL PLAY 60 Super Bowl Contest, he prayed nightly that he would win. His prayers were answered, and then some. Not only did he win and become this year's NFL PLAY 60 Super Kid, but he got a bonus when he had a surprise dinner with Steelers safety Troy Polamalu at Jerome Bettis Grille 36 on Monday night and a tour of the Steelers practice facility and Heinz Field on Tuesday, along with meeting Steelers players.
Brown thought he was taking a trip with his father, Shannon Brown, an active duty Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps, to Washington, D.C. on Monday afternoon. He soon found out he was headed to Pittsburgh, and when Polamalu arrived to join him for dinner, he was shocked.
"Since he had his hair in a ponytail I didn't recognize him," said Brown. "Then I was like, 'that's Troy Polamalu.' My jaw dropped. He was very humble. It was hard to tell he was a really great football player because he was acting like he was a regular person, very humble."
Brown will play a key role in Super Bowl XLVIII as he will hand the game ball to the officials prior to kickoff. Polamalu offered him a little fun advice.
"He told me I should get a Terrible Towel, wrap the ball around it and go up to the ref, wipe the ball off with the Terrible Towel, and give it to the ref," said Brown.
Brown, who is active playing NFL Flag Football and is a competitive swimmer, visited the Steelers practice facility along with his father on Tuesday, meeting Steelers President Art Rooney II and Head Coach Mike Tomlin, and Tomlin interviewed him, and received a tour from center Maurkice Pouncey, played catch with Heath Miller and interviewed Brett Keisel.
"Maurkice Pouncey showed up and gave us a tour," said Brown, who put the Play 60 motto to work doing pushups in the weight room with Pouncey. "Then we were waiting for a little bit and Heath Miller showed up. We went out to the practice field and threw the ball to each other and he signed the ball that Maurkice Pouncey gave me that he also signed."
Brown saw the team's Super Bowl trophies, had his picture taken in front of Polamalu's locker, and got a rundown of what the Steelers player personnel department does.
He will take part in other activities during Super Bowl week, including opening the NFL Play 60 portion of Super Bowl Boulevard. He will also be the first Super Kid to attend a Super Bowl Media Day, with his activities being filmed by Nickelodeon, and got a head start on interviewing NFL players when he asked Keisel some questions.
One message that Brown was happy to share during his visit, and will while he is at the Super Bowl, was the importance of the NFL's PLAY 60 message, which is exercising for 60 minutes a day and eating healthy.
"You should eat healthy so you can get muscles like Maurkice Pouncey," said Brown. "You should eat right by eating vegetables, fruits and not artificial things. You should play 60 for a day and when you do you will grow big and strong like Maurkice Pouncey."
Each kid that entered the contest was asked to answer three questions. Below are the questions, and Brown's answers.
1. Who is your favorite player on your local NFL team, and how does he inspire you to PLAY 60?
My favorite player is Troy Polamalu. I like the Steelers, but my dad is in the Marines and we move around a lot. Troy inspires me by his confidence in the game, and that he is always willing to play his hardest. I am working hard because my goal is to make it into the NFL and be a safety.
2. What do you think your favorite player does to stay fit?
He eats healthy foods, he works out, and he stays in shape. He keeps his in mind in shape too by watching film and studying his opponents every week. That gives him strategies of how to play better and make awesome plays, like beating the snap count.
3. If you could tell your favorite team what healthy foods they needed to eat, what would you suggest and why?
I would tell them to eat healthy foods that are not artificial. Eat veggies, lots of protein to build muscles, and stay away from junk food. It will also make your hair shinier, especially Troy. I think they should do this because I tried it and it has made me a better player on the field and a better student in the classroom.