In the spirit of Father’s Day, Carolina Panthers All-Pro running back Christian McCaffrey and his dad Ed, a former NFL wideout and 3x-Super Bowl champ, teamed up with USAA and the USO of North Carolina. The goal was to virtually surprise a father and daughter military family, and it worked perfectly.
The wonderful experience, hosted by USAA, who is an Official NFL Salute to Service Partner per their commitment to authentically honor military through “Salute to Service,” was caught in all it’s glory and shared to McCaffrey’s Twitter page, which can be seen below:
Much like football runs in the McCaffrey family, military service runs in families with members who have previously served. Per USAA, 80 percent of military recruits come from families where at least one family member has served; 25 percent have a parent who has served, and Senior Airman Ella R. and Gunnery Sergeant Jeremy C. are no different.
Ella is active-duty with the United States Air Force, based at Langley Air Force Base in Hampton. She has three years of service. Her father, Jeremy, is active-duty with the United States Marine Corps and has 16 years of service. He is based at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. Both are die-hard Panthers fans.
Ed McCaffrey Starred During Broncos Back-to-Back Super Bowl Runs
While USAA featured the inspiration that Jeremy instilled on his daughter Ella to follow in his footsteps, they weren’t the only ones.
We all know Christian McCaffrey, the dual-threat, Pro Bowl running back who just cashed in on a massive $64 million deal due to his on-field brilliance. However, let’s not forget the man who paved the way for him. The man who Christian says he “always wanted to be like.”
While the Panthers star has a chance of going down in the history books when his career is all said and done, Ed was no slouch himself on the gridiron. In fact, he may be one of the most underrated players to take an NFL field in recent memory.
As a 3rd-round pick out of Stanford, the same school Christian later attended, it took him a number of years to find his footing in the league. Ed would bounce around the NFL for a number of seasons, making very little noise with the New York Giants and San Franciso 49ers along the way. It wasn’t until his eighth season in the league where McCaffrey began to shine.
In 1998, as a member of the Denver Broncos, Ed would eclipse 1,000-receiving yards and scored double-digit touchdowns, each first-time occurrences in his NFL career. His breakout campaign helped him reach his first and only Pro Bowl. From there, McCaffrey would go on to rip off three consecutive 1,000-yard seasons, averaging more than eight touchdowns over that span, and collecting two of his three Super Bowl rings along the way.
Like Father Like Son(s)
Since retiring, Ed has remained a prevalent figure in the community. The Ed McCaffrey “Dare to Play” football camp and the “Dare to Cheer” cheerleading camp helps individuals with Down syndrome as a partner with the Global Down Syndrome Foundation.
He and his wife, Lisa, also founded the McCaffrey Family Foundation, which assists children whose medical situation/conditions have created an academic or financial hardship.
Christian has followed in his dad’s footsteps on and off the field. The 24-year-old Colorado native is a major contributor with the “Dare to Play” camp. He also launched “22 and You” amid the Coronavirus outbreak earlier this year, to help raise money for medical workers during the COVID-19 crisis.
Christian is far from the only McCaffrey to pursue a career that their father once excelled in.
His older brother Max played three seasons in the NFL and now is the wide receivers coach at the University of Northern Colorado. His younger brother, Dylan, is a quarterback at the University of Michigan. The youngest brother, Luke, plays quarterback at the University of Nebraska.