You will have very little trouble knowing who former Ferriday Bulldog standout Tommy Brasher will be pulling for in the Super Bowl this Sunday.

"Kansas City," said Brasher, who spent more than 30 years as an assistant coach to Andy Reid at Philadelphia and Kansas City."

Brasher coached at Kansas City from 2013-15 before taking over Special Projects in 2016-17 for the Chiefs while dealing with cancer.

"I'm very excited about the Super Bowl," said Brasher, who still keeps in touch with Reid.

Brasher said Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes is a big reason the Chiefs are seeking their second straight Super Bowl win.

"He's special," Brasher said.

While Tampa Bay is led by quarterback Tom Brady, the Bucs have not been to the Super Bowl since 2003 when the Buccaneers beat Oakland 48-21.

This was the first Super Bowl in which the league's number one-ranked offense (Raiders) faced the league's number one-ranked defense (Buccaneers). The game sometimes is referred to as the "Gruden Bowl" because Gruden, currently the head football coach of the Las Vegas Raiders, was the Oakland Raiders' head coach from 1998 to 2001, and as a result of a trade then became the Buccaneers head coach in 2002. 

As for this year's game?

"I think the key to Kansas City winning is experience, having been there last year," Brasher said.

Brasher said Reid is one of the hardest workers he has been around.

"He comes to the office after getting three or four hours of sleep a night," Brasher said. "I'm very proud of him and was honored to be a part of his staffer such a long time."

Brasher, a member of the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame, only spent two years in Ferriday. But they were two years he will always treasure.

"It was a lot tougher leaving Ferriday than it was El Dorado," said the 80-year-old Brasher from his home in Redmond, Wa. "When you were a kid in Ferriday, your whole life was Ferriday Bulldogs. There were a lot of people patting us on the back, but we didn't pay much attention to that."

 Brasher made the coaching jump from college -- including ULM to -- NFL in 1982 as an assistant coach with New England.

Brasher was named defensive line coach for Philadelphia in 1985, then moved on to the Atlanta Falcons until 1989. After this he went to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to coach for one year in 1990. He coached the Seattle Seahawks defensive line from 1992-1998. Then he went back to the Philadelphia Eagles from 1999, until 2005. 

In 2001 Brasher was awarded the Eagles Ed Block Courage Award, presented to selected players or coaches in the NFL who are voted by their teammates as role models of inspiration, sportsmanship, and courage. 

Brasher received the award after being told he had cancer in the side of his neck just below his right ear. It had been growing for weeks, ever since he felt a small bump while taking a shower at training camp.

Doctors cut out the cancer which had already invaded his salivary gland. In a 7-hour operation, doctors removed the gland.

But that didn't slow down Brasher, who showed up in the Eagles' coaching booth for an away contest against the New York Giants. When he saw the players virtually ignoring what Dave Taub, the assistant who stepped in for him on the field, he went into action.

 At halftime, Brasher took the elevator down to the basement and strutted out onto the field. He finished the game on the field.

 He obviously learned from the best.

Then days after returning from New York, Brasher had another surgery — this time to remove 67 lymph nodes. The result is a 6-inch long, vertical scar behind his ear.

"I never feared for my life, I didn't have time," Brasher said. "I needed to be on the field."

The doctors put him on an aggressive recovery plan. Every weekday at 7 a.m. he had to go for a radiation treatment. He did this for six weeks until he had undergone 30 treatments.  

He never stopped coaching. The playoffs were coming, and the Eagles were on the first of four runs to the NFC Championship Game. Brasher refused to take time off. And when the offseason came, he worked right through that as well.

When Reid was told the cancer was gone, he greeted this news just as he had the diagnosis.

He shrugged.

He had players to coach.

And the last of the old football tough guys lives on.

For all his coaching success, Brasher will never forget his time at Ferriday and being part of the still state record of 54 straight games without a loss.

I don't think that streak will ever be broken," he said. "You just don't see that many good players on a high school football team any more. And it was amazing the number we had. There were five guys sign Division I scholarships one year. That's unheard of for a Class A team. That was a really special group and will always be that way for me."

 

 

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