Atlanta Falcons kicker Matt Bryant is married to Melissa Gigliotta Bryant.
Matt, 39, and Melissa, 41, has seven children.
Here’s what you need to know about Melissa Bryant:
1. Matt & Melissa Bryant Both Grew Up in Texas
The Super Bowl is a homecoming of sorts for Melissa and Matt Bryant. Both of them grew up there. Melissa Bryant is originally from Beaumont, Texas, and Matt is from Orange.
The Bryants made a stop in Beaumont before heading to Houston for the big game.
“Waking up in Beaumont Texas in my childhood home knowing we’re headed to the Super Bowl Sunday is surreal,” Melissa tweeted.
Last week, as Matt headed to Houston with the team, his wife posted a touching message on Instagram about the journey that they have made together, in football and in life:
To Matt: Watching you over the years play football, I can remember great games, sad games and nail biters. I think of how many times I’ve prayed, smiled and cried with joy at your accomplishments. In all of these years in the NFL it doesn’t even touch the times I’ve smiled at watching you become a father, grow as a couple, experience life together. As you depart today for Houston I can’t help but think this is just another game. It will come and go in a few short hours. Where you’ve made the most impact is in the lives of your family and your children. We love you so. Know we are more proud of you off the field above anything else. You have worked your whole life for this moment. I know you will shine. So Happy you’ve allowed us to join in on this circus life.
Melissa Bryant often expresses her love for her kids and husband on social media.
“I am truly blessed! I am so happy with my life. My children, husband and family make me laugh and smile everyday! God is really amazing in what he can do!,” Melissa Bryant says on Facebook.
“I visit my home town Beaumont, Texas, often and over the years have turned into a taxi cab driver,chef, banker,and nurse and cheerleader to my 7 kids!,” she says. “We try to travel A LOT and I love to see new places and meet new friends. Spending time with family is my top job! I love my KIDS! GOD has blessed our family!”
2. The Bryants Started a Charity After Their Son, Tryson, Died of SIDS When He Was 3 Months Old
Melissa and Matt Bryant tragically lost one of their children, Tryson, in 2008 when he was just 3 months old. He died of sudden-infant death syndrome, or SIDS.
Out of that tragedy, the Bryants created the Matthew Tryson Bryant Foundation, and have been working closely with the March of Dimes to fight SIDS.
Bryant played in a game for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers just days after his son died, and one day after his funeral, because he did not want a teammate to be cut so the team could sign a replacement kicker, he told ESPN.
Bryant, who is playing in his first Super Bowl this year just 90 miles from where his son is buried, spoke about the tragedy in a pregame interview with ESPN:
“It was hard. You are part of something you couldn’t even imagine what that would was like and now you’re just thrust into it,” Matt Bryant told ESPN. “And now you’ve got to find a way to make your way through that world.”
Melissa Bryant told ESPN “it was like he had a personality from the beginning. … He smiled early.”
“It was by far the hardest thing we have ever experienced,” Melissa Bryant told NFLFemale.com.
She and her husband are also involved in raising money for several other causes, including the fights against ALS and cystic fibrosis. They are also active in helping military families.
“We have a soft spot obviously for children. We are drawn to helping military, because we are fortunate to live in this free country. By the grace of GOD we are here. Matt’s family has a military back ground,” Melissa Bryant said.
3. The Bryant Kids Range in Age From College to Kindergarten & Include 2 Sets of Twins
The Bryant kids range in age from kindergarten to college, and include two sets of twins, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post. The youngest children, one of the sets of twins, are 5.
Melissa Bryant told NFLFemale.com she and her husband are blessed to have such a large family.
“We didn’t set out for any amount. God gives you what you can handle and apparently he thinks highly of us,” Melissa said. “Although when all nine of us are together I do question his thought process.”
Things can get a little crazy in the Bryant household, Melissa said.
“The boys are messy and always throwing balls in the house. We have had many ER visits,” Melissa Bryant said. “They come with lots of smelly sports equipment. I wouldn’t trade it for the world though. I’m really good at getting Georgia clay out of baseball pants. It took me a couple of years to figure it out.”
4. Melissa Says She Manages the Bryant House ‘Like an Army General With a Soft Heart’
Melissa Bryant said family comes first for her and her husband.
“Our family and children come first. It’s very simple. They are our first priority. I manage our house like an army general with a soft heart. I keep a hand written book with schedules. I like old school,” she said.
The Bryant kids are following their father’s footsteps in sports, playing football, basketball and cheerleading, Melissa said.
“Football and baseball seasons give me grey hair,” she told NFLFemale.com. “The time I spend in my car driving is beyond imaginable. The time I spend WATCHING FOOTBALL is insane! Thursday nights (freshman) Friday nights (varsity) Saturday (youth, usually all day long) and Sunday (Matt). Don’t forget cheerleading on Saturdays too. Can’t forget the girl.”
When he’s not on the field, Matt is helping out as a coach.
“Matt helps coach the kids whenever he is free. He is the head coach for baseball in the spring and assists in the fall with football and basketball,” Melissa said. “We do make time to do one date night during the season with just the two of us. A little time to catch up.”
5. The Family Has a Vacation Home Called ‘Kicking Back’ in Alabama, Where They Plan to Live After Matt Retires
When Matt Bryant’s football career comes to an end, he and Melissa plan on settling down in Orange Beach, Alabama, according to Gulf Coast News Today.
They are currently building a house, called “Kicking Back 2,” in the beach town.
The Bryants recently sold the first “Kicking Back” beach house, located on Ona Island, for $2.8 million. The 8,000-square-foot home ended up not being big enough for the large family.
The family currently lives in the Atlanta area.