9-year-old from Virginia Beach will present the game ball at Super Bowl XLVIII

Posted at 4:55 PM, Jan 23, 2014
and last updated 2014-01-24 10:08:38-05

A lesson on eating right is getting a Virginia Beach nine-year-old a lot of attention.

Thomas Brown was asked why his favorite football player, Troy Polamalu, should eat right.

In his contest essay, he suggested healthy-eating tips for Troy Polamalu and his teammates, writing “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.”

And with that answer, Thomas was named the NFL Play 60 Super Kid. Part of the prize was flying to Pittsburgh to meet Troy Polamalu and tour the Steelers facility.

“We went to Jerome Bettis’ restaurant. We talked for fifteen minutes. Troy showed up. I didn’t recognize him because his hair was in a ponytail. Then he was like, I am the person whose jersey you are wearing, and I was like… Wow!”

When Thomas told Troy that eating his veggies will make his hair shinier…

“He said wow and laughed his head off,” Thomas says.

During dinner, the two talked about sports and animals. Thomas had a baked potato, chicken and broccoli and at one point got an assist from Troy’s wife Theodora.

“She cut my chicken for me,” Thomas says.

The next day they were off to the Steelers practice facility where Maurkice Pouncey led them on a guided tour. He saw the Steelers record six Super Bowl trophies and met the president of the team, Art Rooney II. But the highlight of the day was about to come.

“Mike Tomlin showed up and he interviewed me. He asked me who he should take in the draft. I told him to take Bradley Robey. He is a cornerback for the Ohio State Buckeyes,” Thomas says.

After meeting with the coach, UVA grad Heath Miller joined him for a game of catch. What did Thomas want to know about his favorite team?

“My favorite question to ask is what is your favorite animal? Heath said dog, so did Maurkice and Coach Tomlin. Troy said gorilla, that’s pretty cool,” Thomas says.

What else is cool, is the signed jerseys Thomas received.

Those were a pretty amazing prize, but that’s only the half of it. Now, Thomas will be off the New York for the week to take part in the Super Bowl festivities, including practice. He will officially present the game ball before kickoff.

“I will walk out on the field and hand the ball to the ref,” he says.

Thomas, his 12-year-old brother, and parents are all invited to the big game.