Kirk Cousins has had quite a year.
The Washington Redskins quarterback almost stumbled into his starting position with the team during the offseason, but, somehow, found a way to make it all work leading his team to an NFC East title and postseason berth.
Now, with their season on the line this Sunday, Cousins and the Redskins are looking to keep things rolling. But while there were plenty of doubters earlier this year, Cousins has never lacked confidence. Why? He’s got one heck of a support system away from the field and he’s always been playing for something more important; his family.
Get to know the entire Cousins’ clan here, from his wife Julie to his parents before the Redskins square off against the Green Bay Packers this weekend:
1. Cousins & Julie Hampton Were Married in June 2014
After they first met through a mutual friend several years ago, Cousins and Julie Hampton tied the knot on June 28 2014 in a Georgia ceremony. While the wedding itself was beautiful, Cousins’ proposal was even more epic.
The Redskins quarter told The Washington Post he bought the engagement ring during Washington’s bye week before meeting with a congressman to propose on a state building in front of the Capitol. Setting that standard pretty high there.
Cousins broke down the afternoon:
I was extremely nervous. On the way down driving the car, as we got close to the Capitol building I was holding her hand and she goes, ‘Why are your hands cold and sweaty?’ I said, ‘I don’t know,’ but I knew it was because I was super nervous.
Hampton grew up in Georgia and is a born and bred Bulldogs fans. She now works as an elementary school teacher and is regularly spotted supporting Cousins throughout the course of the season.
2. His Father Don, Worked as a Minister
Cousins grew up in Michigan, but before moving the family there, his father, Don worked as the senior pastor at Discovery Church in Orlando Florida.
His father’s work impacted Cousins while he was growing up and help him develop a relationship with his religion from a very young age. While playing at Michigan State, Cousins discussed that relationship with a website called Beyond the Ultimate, saying:
It wasn’t until…about my junior year of high school that I started to realize the sacrifice and commitment that it took to be a Christian, to ‘walk the walk’ and to really live the life that Jesus lived and to follow after Him with everything you got; and not just (be) somebody who claimed to be a Christian.
Cousins added that his faith increased during high school when he broke his ankle during his junior year and did not receive any Division I scholarship offers. The future NFL quarterback said that having faith helped reassure him that everything would always work out.
3. Cousins’ Father Battled Cancer & Earned the Game Ball Earlier This Year
One of the most emotional moments of the NFL season occurred earlier this year when Cousins rushed to the sidelines following a Redskins victory in November.
His father, Don, had been diagnosed with metastatic squamous cell carcinoma and started undergoing treatments in late July. However, on that day he had just recently completed his final cancer treatment and was healthy enough to see his son play.
Cousins did not disappoint.
He went 20-for-25 for 324 yards and four touchdowns with a perfect 158.3 passer rating in the Redskins 47-14 victory over the New Orleans Saints.
After the game, Cousins rushed to his family’s seats and handed his father the game ball. He deserved it.
4. His Grandparents Were Longtime Season-Ticket Holders at Iowa
Although Cousins bleeds green and white, particularly after his dominant college career at Michigan State, the quarterback has a serious history with a different Big 10 team; Iowa.
His fandfather, Ralph Woodard, was a tight end and defensive end for the Hawkeyes in the late 1940s and his grandfather’s brother, Dick Woodard, was a center and linebacker as well. He went on to play in the NFL with the New York Giants and Washington Redskins in the 1950s.
That sparked a serious Iowa fandom and Kirk’s mother, MaryAnn, who grew up in Fort Dodge, also attended the school. She studied nursing and was a member of the dance team. She told Michigan Live:
We would be at the homecoming parade and the band would come down the street and my father would have tears in his eyes. Iowa football was such a part of our lives.
Cousins himself was a major Iowa fan while he was growing up and still considers Tim Dwight one of his favorite players. However, he’s a little quieter about his fandom now. After all, you can’t divide fandoms.
5. Cousins & His Brother Applied to Trademark ‘You Like That’ This Year
Why have brothers if they’re not going to help you try and trademark a singular emotional moment in your football-playing life? That’s why brothers exist. Obviously.
Two days after Cousins led the largest comeback in Redskins history and shouted “You like that” at Comcast SportsNet’s Tarik El-Bashir, he and his brother Kyle filed a trademark application for the phrase.
The application was started for protection of a handful of goods and services with the phrase on it. Cousins has already started selling “You like that” T-shirts to raise money for charity.
The Redskins are also reaping the benefits of Cousins’ viral moment.
The team will be handing out those towels ahead of Sunday afternoon’s playoff matchup against Green Bay. The towels also feature the logo for the International Justice Mission, a Washington charity that Cousins supports.