I know no one will believe me when I say this, but I have had today’s SportsMan of Style picked for weeks–I just had no time to write about him. Really! It had nothing to do with his skills and awards in the Pro Bowl! If the Cardinals won the Super Bowl I was ready to run with this piece last Monday—but I decided to save it for a week that wasn’t dominated by Steeler Nation. I’m almost a bit annoyed that he did so well yesterday in the Pro Bowl because now everyone is talking about him instead of just those who love him!
My pick for SportsMan of Style: Larry Fitzgerald
Who is he?
The wide receiver for the Arizona Cardinals who just won the MVP of the NFL Pro Bowl.
- Larry Darnell Fitzgerald, Jr. is 6’3, 226 pounds of pure athleticism, raw talent and amazing hands.
- Fitzy was born on August 31, 1983 (August babies are the best! But I’m not biased in any way!)
- He learned to love football by age 4–he would actually sleep with one at night
- Before college he was a ball boy for the Minnesota Vikings.
- At the U of Pittsburgh he began breaking all sorts of records and in his second year, became the runner up for the Heisman Trophy for most outstanding college football player.
- He entered the NFL early, in 2004 and has been quietly taking over every year.
- His father, Larry, Sr., is the acclaimed sports editor for the Minnesota Spokesman Recorder
- Larry, Sr. is the first reporter to ever cover his own son in a Super Bowl.
- There was a lot of hoopla about Larry’s baby mama drama back in December but rather than throw all those rumors around, I’m just going to throw around this super cute pic of Larry and his 1 year old son Devin Fitzgerald taken the day before the Super Bowl
Why we love him:
He makes all of this, look so easy!
Or as one blog said Fitzy “makes the amazing look ordinary.”
Larry has been described as having: “Sticky hands,” a vice-like-grip, “the best hands in the NFL,” and my favorite announcer quote–”he is just Fabulous!”
Career Stats and the 2008-2009 magic
It didn’t take long for Larry to stand out in the NFL. In his second year he earned his first Pro Bowl nomination and began breaking NFL records too. Even in 2006, when he was injured, Larry posted good stats. In 2007, he gained his second Pro Bowl nomination–despite the Cardinals being not-so-good.
- In the 2008 regular season, Larry had 96 catches for 1431 yards, average 14.9 yards per catch. Oh, and 12 touchdowns!
And then came the postseason
- Larry exploded into the postseasn with 30 catches, 546 yards (avg 18.2) and a whopping 7 TDs in only four games! He had at least one in every game in the post season!
- In the NFC Championship he had 3 TDs, tying a record for most TDs in a divisional championship.
- And little Larry Fitzgerald and the Arizona Cardinals went to their very first Super Bowl.
- He had two remarkable TDs in the Super Bowl that brought the Cardinals back into the game in the final minutes. If it wasn’t for the miracle catch by Steelers Santonio Holmes with :35 left in the game, the Cards would have won and Larry would have been the reason.
- The following week, Larry took over the Pro Bowl and had 2 more amazing touchdown catches that earned him the MVP trophy of the Pro Bowl.
Why I’m loving his style:
“[Larry is] a receiver who catches everything and brags about nothing, who climbs his own invisible staircase to get to footballs, who dresses and speaks impeccably and travels the world alone in the offseason, taking in museums.” ~Rick Reilly, ESPN.com
Simple. Classy. Very articulate. That’s actually what made me fall for him! I kept hearing an interview with him on SportsCenter every hour on the hour. I would tune out for 58 minutes and then every time the interview came back on, I found myself looking up and taking notice. It’s not often you find an athlete who is so well-spoken. Half the time answers are so non-sensical you wonder why the interviewers even bother! But not with Fitzy!
My two favorite fun facts:
During the Super Bowl he was referred to by one of the game announcers as Fitzy, which just tickled me to no end since I thought I made that up for him as my pet name!
The announcers also called him Fabulous, which is totally my word!
~all photos from ESPN and NFL.com unless otherwise noted.