About a week after returning from the game that would send Demarcus Dobbs and his team to the Super Bowl, Benedictine football coach Danny Britt made the phone call that you can't make to just anybody.
"Finally, I was talking to him and I said, well I haven't heard anything yet,'' Britt said of a recent conversation he had with Dobbs, a member of the 49ers. "And he said I got you tickets and a hotel room. And I said, well we'll be there.''
Britt and his wife Stephanie will travel to New Orleans this weekend for their first Super Bowl.
They will stay at the 49ers' family hotel and participate in team family functions, an experience that will be exciting but also appropriate considering the relationship they have shared with Dobbs for almost a decade, since the player and coach were both at Calvary Day and the Britts took the young man who was living at Bethesda Home for Boys into their home and their hearts.
"I'll tell people, his father is still alive,'' said Britt. "And I'll tell people all the time, he didn't need the father, I needed the son, because I only have two daughters.''
Dobbs lived with the Britts while playing at Calvary and the relationship has continued though his career at the University of Georgia and for the last two years while he has played professionally with the 49ers.
"When we went to Georgia, Mark Richt petitioned the NCAA to let us be seen as family and the NCAA agreed and ever since, that's what we've done,'' said Britt, who attended most of Dobbs' home games in Athens and many road games across the Southeast as well. "My daughters, Southern and Sailor, don't remember a time when Demarcus wasn't living with us or at least a part of our family. And his mother passed away when he was in high school, so he'll introduce Stephanie by saying this is my mom. So, yes, he's definitely family.''
And there will definitely be a moment Sunday when that hits Britt all over again, when after years of traveling to college and pro football games, he feels a father's pride as he sees a member of his family on the sideline at the Super Bowl.
"I remember the first time I saw him run out as a Georgia bulldog and me and my wife were both in tears, just the fact that he as experiencing that,'' Britt said of Dobbs, who is injured and will not play in the Super Bowl. But he is attending the game as a member of the 49ers. "Same feeling when he ran out as a 49er, that's pretty cool. And now to have him in the super bowl is great. As a football coach, to be able to go to the Super Bowl, and not only that, have your son be such a major part of it is pretty darn cool.''