‘I’m a football player, I don’t save lives’ — Seahawks receiver Doug Baldwin

His mother is from Tacloban. Photo by Elton Lugay

His mother is from Tacloban. Photo by Elton Lugay

By Elton Lugay

Five days before the Super Bowl match between the Denver Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks, the NFL players met some 5,000 media from around the world during the Super Bowl Media Day at Prudential Center in Newark.

I was with a small group of Filipino reporters and fans for a minutes-long interview with 25-year-old Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin, whose mother is from Tacloban, Leyte.

Remember that November photo where he came running down Century Link Field before their game with the Minnesota Vikings carrying a Filipino flag? Sure, the flag was carried wrong — red side up -– but Filipinos were more enthused to learn that Baldwin is Filipino American inspiring the people of Leyte to keep fighting, rather than the flag signifying a state of war. Baldwin would also reveal that his family in the Philippines, including his maternal grandmother, managed to escape the fury of Typhoon Haiyan.

On January 28, I met this remarkable NFL player.

“This is the last game of the season,” the Florida-born Baldwin told our delegation. “It’s win or go home”

He was asked if he’s single. He politely smiled.

He takes pride in being part Filipino, he said. “Yeah, I eat lumpia, it’s my favorite.” But no, he won’t be carrying a Philippine flag again to this week’s Super Bowl. “That’s not happening.”

Other reporters joined us and asked patently annoying questions:

“How many cavities does Beast Mode have?”

“None,” Baldwin replied.

Questions that bordered on crass and intrusive, such as the mathematical dimensions of his anatomy, were thrown his way. He just kept his cool and was smiling throughout the brief interview.

“All of this media attention for a game, for a sport, it’s really unbelievable,” he said toward the end. “I think this is unnecessary and overwhelming to some degree. I am a
football player. I don’t save lives.”

Such humility from an NFL star is rare, but this receiver from Stanford is truly one of a kind. The NY Daily News referred to him as the “underrated force in Seattle’s run to Super Bowl XLVIII.”

Baldwin has reportedly signed a three-year contract with the Seattle Seahawks as a restricted free agent for $1.4 million.

The Super Bowl Media Day alone was an event into itself. There were 7,000 fans who each paid $28.50 to watch the media ask questions of their favorite NFL players. Parking was $40. Not to mention that one had to brave the arctic weather to get to Newark, New Jersey.

Philippine Independence Day Council’s Violeta Manarang McGough and Raul Estrellado were on the bleachers watching the circus-like frenzy. Violeta’s cheerleader daughter Nancy performed that day.

“I’m happy to be here since I won’t be watching the Big Game on Sunday,” she told The FilAm.

Tickets to the Big game are insanely pricey. But there’s a chance the $5K price is slowly going to $1K because of the feared poor attendance due to the frigid weather.

Celebrities in the crowd were led by the legendary Regis Philbin, Nick Cannon of “America’s Got Talent,” and Olympic Champion Gabby Douglas.

In honor for Typhoon Haiyan’s victims.

In honor of Typhoon Haiyan’s victims and survivors.

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