Yesterday, it was announced that New England Patriots team captain and core special teamer Matthew Slater has been chosen by his peers across the NFL to receive the 2017 Bart Starr Award. But at a point when his teammates, coaches and other members of the Patriots organization already knew, Slater did not – purposefully.
During his weekly scheduled press conference, which took place yesterday, Slater told the story of how the team set him up:
Well they set me up pretty good. We have our bible study on Mondays after the game. They changed the time of the bible study, made it a little bit later, and I was like, 'Oh well, schedule adjust here.' [Patriots Character Coach/Team Development] Jack Easterby tells me, 'Hey, see you at bible study,' and I'm like, 'Yeah,' you know, everything's status quo, and I go into the bible study and there's like 60 guys in there and coaches, and I'm like, 'Man, we're about to have a good bible study right now. This is going to be good.'
Slater was not even thrown off by a camera crew entering the room, thinking that the team might do a playoff special documenting one of the team’s bible studies. And when Easterby’s phone rang and the female voice on the other end of the line wanted to speak to "Matt", he thought about defensive coordinator Matt Patricia.
It turned out that "Matt" was indeed Matthew Slater and the female voice on the other side was Bart Starr’s wife Cherry congratulating him on being chosen to receive the award – an honor Matthew’s father Jackie received in 1996; making the Slaters the first father-son-duo to win the Bart Starr Award.
The above-mentioned film crew was there to document the exchange between Slater and Mrs. Starr – and it is must-watch television. You can watch the entire clip here.