Hall of Famer Jackie Slater: Football and Fatherhood

Pro Football Hall of Famer Jackie Slater never misses an opportunity to connect with his son, Matthew, who is the captain of the New England Patriots special-team’s unit, after every game.

Whether it’s a Patriots victory or defeat, one thing is for certain, it’s only a matter of time before the two are on the phone dissecting the game.

“Every game, the two people I talk to are my wife and my dad,” Matthew Slater explained in an interview courtesy of ESPN. “First of all, I let my dad know I came out OK. Or if I didn’t, let him know what happened. Then we talk about plays that happened over the course of the ballgame.”

“They’re usually pretty interesting conversations because we talk specifically about certain plays,” said Jackie Slater. “He knows when I’m watching the game I’m watching the cold, hard details of his job. Was he supposed to be covering? Blocking? I don’t follow the ball unless, of course -- unless it’s anywhere near him. Just about the detail of his assignment, the effort he’s putting in, if he was successful or if he failed.”

The father and son bond is unique. Deeply rooted in faith and the values of the game, Commitment, Integrity, Courage, Respect and Excellence. The two became the first father-son combination to win the Bart Starr Award, which honors humanitarian efforts. Matthew Slater is the award winner this year, while his father was a recipient in 1996.

Also, the Slaters are a part of a long list of father and sons to have played in the Super Bowl. Read more about Father/Son combos to have played in the Super Bowl.

Jackie, a seven-time Pro Bowl offensive tackle who played 20 years for the Rams and appeared in Super Bowl XIV, will be in Houston for Super Bowl LI on Sunday, marking the third time he’s watched Matthew in a Super Bowl.

“My dad has always been one of my biggest critics, but in a good way,” said Matthew. “He’s always been there to encourage me, whether it was good or bad, ask me the tough questions. Mom would always say, ‘You did great,’ but Dad knows football, and he understands how the game is going.”