Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

For Yulee Youngster, Super Bowl a Tossup

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

For Yulee Youngster, Super Bowl a Tossup

Article excerpt

Byline: AMELIA A. HART, Nassau Neighbors staff writer

YULEE -- Jacob Santana, a second-grader at Yulee Primary School, was at the center of the universe during the coin toss Sunday to begin Super Bowl XXXIX between the New England Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles.

However, he didn't know who won the toss at Alltel Stadium in Jacksonville until the day after the big game.

Jacob, 7, was one of four Greater Jacksonville Pop Warner players selected to represent the youth football league at the coin toss. They stood next to the Super Bowl team captains while the world watched.

He couldn't see the toss because he was blocked by a ring of large football players encircling one of his counterparts, the boy who tossed the coin.

Jacob plays wide receiver for the Lakeshore Rebels. He has lived in Yulee since December with his family -- his father, Jose, mother, Jaime, and brother, Joshua, 6.

Jacob's parents said they were told their son was selected to attend the coin toss because he fell into the range of ages and ethnic backgrounds league officials wanted for players chosen to represent the league.

When Jacob left the field after the coin toss and changed out of his Rebels uniform, he and his father made their way to their seats. They'd missed the first five minutes of the game.

Jacob's family told him the next day that the Eagles won the toss.

But that wasn't the important part for them. Jacob's selection to be on the field was all that mattered.

Jose Santana said his first reaction when a Pop Warner official called him Feb. 1 to tell him his son was going to the Super Bowl was that it was a joke.

But the call was real.

Still, they had to undergo an extensive background check and a rehearsal the Friday before Super Sunday.

While his father watched from the sidelines, Jacob walked onto the Alltel Stadium field. Waiting for him were the two best football teams in the NFL, two former U.S. presidents, tens of thousands of screaming fans in the stands and nearly a billion more watching on TV.

Jose Santana said Monday that during the hours leading up to that moment, he kept asking his son if he was nervous. …

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