I spent the first quarter Sunday watching the Super Bowl at Baltimore Raven Joe Flacco's Hometown Party at Kove's Restaurant in Audubon, NJ.
Nearly 800 people packed the restaurant's three floors for the event which was organized by the borough and the Audubon Fathers’ Association. The typical die-hard Eagles fans dined on football vites like wings, chicken fingers, sausage, and pasta. I grew up in Audubon, NJ until I was 10 years old, and my father was the ob-gyn in town. My claim to fame is my dad delivered Joe Flacco at Virtua Hospital on Jan. 16, 1985.
Audubon has a population of about 9,000 people, and is about a quaint as a community as you can imagine. Sports are a big part of the community's fabric.
Although his entire family traveled to New Orleans to watch the game, I did meet many of his friends and neighbors who told me that Joe regularly comes back to Audubon since his folks and his wife's parents still reside there. To Audubon, he's just regular Joe - whether he's in town to play basketball at the local elementary school down the street from his parents place, or to visit kids in the classrooms.
In recent years, Flacco has donated Reebok sneakers to the kids on the baseball team, as he's played for many years on the Audubon Baseball team. They won four state champions when Joe was the team's pitcher. He's also donated the batting cages for both the boys and girl's ball teams.