As the New England Patriots’ special teams captain, Matthew Slater is in charge of calling heads or tails at the coin toss before a game or prior to overtime. And he always calls heads.
The 11-year veteran says he does so because that’s what his dad, Jackie Slater, did during his 20 years as an NFL offensive lineman. And Jackie, now a Pro Football Hall of Famer, always called heads because “Christ is always at the head of my life.”
Matthew recounted the story to our team filming for Football Sunday.
“I remember as a youngster, my dad was my hero, my earthly hero,” Matthew said. “I always looked to him, wanted to do everything the way he did it.
“I remember watching him at the coin toss, walk out there and make the call. I went and asked him about it later on. I said, ‘Dad, why do you call “heads,” what’s your mindset at the coin toss?’ And he told me, ‘Yeah, I always call “heads” and for me, when I accepted Christ, I told myself, “Christ is always at the head of my life, so it’s just a reminder for me when I go out there, even when I’m playing a football game, He’s still the head. He doesn’t stop being the head in between the white lines.”‘ And for me that was pretty profound.
“As a young person, I was like, ‘Man, how about that, that’s something.’ It’s stuck with me to this day as a 33-year-old, I still remember that conversation in my head.”
Jackie was a seven-time Pro Bowler for the Los Angeles and St. Louis Rams from 1976-95, during which he made one Super Bowl appearance. The Rams have since retired his No. 78 jersey.
Matthew is also a seven-time Pro Bowler, and has been with New England since 2008. This Sunday will be his fifth Super Bowl appearance, and he’s looking for his third championship.
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