The Super Bowl is almost upon us, and the NFL playoffs have more than lived up to the hype so far. But with all the craziness and insanity of comparing players' performances and statistics, sometimes we forget that many of these players are also family men.
Some NFL dads are open with their struggles to spend time with their kids while juggling all of the responsibilities and fame their job entails; other dads are just fun to watch -- seeing a huge 300-pound running back chasing after his tutu-clad, wand-waving daughter is always entertaining. On top of that, some NFL dads are just plain hot. So, we've rounded up the most famous (and other not so famous) dads from the NFL playoff teams.
Seattle Seahawks: Matt Hasselbeck
No one would have imagined that the 7-9 Seahawks could beat the defending Super Bowl champions, but the balding 35-year-old quarterback for the team had little doubt it could be done. Only a 12-season veteran juggling the stresses of a professional football career along with raising three kids, Annabelle, 9, Mallorie, 7, and Henry, 5, knows that anything can be done. Hopefully his continued playoff success will equal all the success he's had with his family life.
Chicago Bears: Charles Tillman
As one of the best cornerbacks for the Bears as well as the entire league, many NFL-loving parents appreciated not only his skills, but his dedication to his daughter Tiana, 2. Little Tiana had cardiomyopathy, which prevented her heart from pumping blood throughout her body. He and his wife Jackie petitioned the FDA to use a heart pump to keep her alive until she could get a transplant. Now she is a healthy, beautiful little girl, and Tillman set up the Cornerstone Foundation to help chronically ill children in the Chicago area.
Green Bay Packers: Scott Wells
Offensive linemen don't get much glory, as the players they protect and block for (the quarterback and running back) tend to get the fame as well as the larger paychecks. Wells has been playing for the Packers since 2004. But back in 2005, he and his wife Julie had to cope with the loss of stillborn twin sons. Deacon, the first of the twins, arrived, feet-first, already dead. Maddox followed moments later, and he died during the birth. Luckily the couple was able to recover from such a devastating tragedy, and now feel so blessed to be raising a son, Jackson, and a daughter, Lola.
Atlanta Falcons: Tony Gonzalez
Gonzalez is one of the best tight ends in the NFL -- he currently holds the records for single season receptions by a tight end, career touchdowns by a tight end, career receptions by a tight end, and reception yards by a tight end. On top of that, he's also a dad of two to Malia and Nikko. Nikko, 8, and Tony were recently featured on My Dad's a Pro, a show on the Cartoon Network, where Nikko gives all NFL fans a sneak peek at his life with his famous dad. Regardless if all of what Tony did during the show was just for the cameras, he seems like a fantastic dad and it's always fun to see the perspective (as well as all the opportunities) of young kids with famous parents.
New England Patriots: Tom Brady
You can't talk about famous dads in football without mentioning Tom Brady. John Edward Thomas Moynahan was born in 2007, while Benjamin Rein Brady arrived in 2009. Brady's super-hot wife Gisele Bundchen made a lot of people shake their heads when she said there should be a law forcing women to breastfeed, but from all accounts, Brady seems to be a pretty good dad. We just can't wait for him to get a haircut.
Pittsburgh Steelers: Troy Polamalu
As one of the most feared safeties in the entire NFL, offenses are always on guard when playing against Polamalu. But off the field, Polamalu is a quiet, soft-spoken, family-oriented man, with two children, Paisios and Ephraim, both named after Greek Orthodox Christian saints. Polamalu has always been open about infusing spirituality into his sons' lives, and told Pittsburgh Magazine: "So with my son, it's important for him to first understand the spiritual struggle and, as a result of that, know how to [deal with] the physical struggles that he has in his life -- whether it's dealing with not enough or too much of something."
Baltimore Ravens: Matt Birk
Of course NFL fans know all about Ravens' tough defense, but their veteran center, a two-time All Pro and six-time Pro Bowl selection, is definitely one of their team's unsung heroes. Not only is this guy super smart (yup, Harvard grads can actually make it in the NFL), he's balanced playing in the NFL since 1998 along with FIVE children (and dog). He also founded a charity, Matt Birk's Hike Foundation, that helps out at-risk kids in Baltimore. Kudos to Birk, his tough play, his brain, and his beautiful family!
New York Jets: LaDainian Tomlinson
It's been a career of breaking records for running back LaDainian Tomlinson, but it's been a struggle off the field in his personal life. His wife Torsha carried their daughter, Mckiah Renee, for six months, but they found out she was stillborn in 2005. The New York Daily News reported that LaDainian felt he lost his way when he lost his baby. But five years later, the couple was able to put their daughter's painful death behind them, and Torsha gave birth to son Daylen Oliver last summer. Tomlinson himself helped deliver the baby: "It was the most amazing moment of my life," Tomlinson said. "I wanted to see what he looked like. I kept thinking, 'Don't fumble! Don't fumble!' I was staring at him and I started to cry."
Who is your favorite NFL dad?