Father, Son, and the Sport Of Football

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“My dad intercepted Tom Brady.” Not something you hear every day unless you’re talking to Antoine Winfield Jr. It was while his father was a member of the Buffalo Bills in 2001 before he went on to play nine more seasons with the Minnesota Vikings. And that’s who just happens to be the Buccaneers opponent this weekend.

The Apple And The Tree

Winfield Sr. was an All-American, Jim Thorpe award-winning cornerback at Ohio State University. Subsequently, Antoine Winfield Jr. was born in Columbus where his father and mother Erniece had both attended college. Dad would be drafted in the first round of the 1999 NFL Draft by the Buffalo Bills. As an unrestricted free agent in 2004, he would sign a six-year, $34.8 million contract. Yeah, he could ball.

From the time Winfield Jr. was able to walk, he was learning his craft. The Father and son duo would break down video of Winfield Sr.’s formers games. From the time Antoine Jr. was able to understand route trees and defensive philosophies, he was getting a master’s degree in greatness. As a result, Winfield Jr. would find himself an All-American safety at the University of Minnesota. He’d go on to be drafted by the Buccaneers in the second round of this year’s NFL draft. He’ll take on his dad’s old team this weekend.

Do As I say…And As I Do

“Lil’ Tweeze”, a take on his father’s own nickname of “Tweeze”, is truly a chip off the old block. Winfield Jr. has been Learning defensive concepts, breaking down film, and understanding the intricacies of coverage from the time he was a little guy. In addition to ferreting out opponent’s tendencies, predicting pre-snap routes, and technique, Winfield Jr. also seems to have learned to function with an “act like you’ve been there before” mentality.

The first year Buccaneers safety brings a ball-hawking mentality to an aggressive Buccaneers defense. Something that has opposing quarterbacks watching. It’s not just his physical presence, but also his professional mentality that makes Winfield Jr. a beast for opposing offenses to have to deal with.

Unlike his father, who once intercepted Tom Brady, Winfield Jr. is playing with him. As a result, when the Buccaneers play the Vikings on Sunday, it will be a reunion. A reunion of everything that is so great about football. Buccaneers fans have a front row seat.

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