Julius Adams was a happy man a year ago, when Adam Vinatieri kicked the game-winning field goal in Houston that gave the New England Patriots their
second Super Bowl victory in three years.
Yes, he sure was proud of his team, the only team he played for during a 16-year NFL career that included one trip to the Pro Bowl and one trip to the
"Deep down inside, I'm still a Patriot," Adams said last week from his home in Columbia, S.C. "It's exciting to see what they've done. That's a superb
team that just keeps coming back year after year. Those young men play as a unit. There's nobody on that team who is me-me-me. It's all we."
Next Sunday, when the Patriots line up against the Eagles in Jacksonville, Fla., to play in their third Super Bowl in four seasons, Adams, whose image
hangs from a giant red-white-and-blue banner outside of the Patriots' Gillette Stadium, will be rooting against his team.
"I have to go with the Eagles, because my son is playing for the Eagles," he said.
His son is Keith Adams, the linebacker known as "Bullet" to his coaches and teammates because of the way he flies to the football and slams into
opposing running backs with a brute force that often knocks the soft contact lenses right out of his eyes. The loss of one means he made a good hit.
The loss of two means he made a great hit.
"They still pop out, so that's how I know I got in a really good hit," Adams said. "If I lose both of them, I might be struggling to find the
Adams had only one "contact hit" in the NFC championship victory over the Falcons.
"T.J. Duckett," he said.
His overall impact in the Eagles' victory, however, was immense.
With Adams making the first postseason start of his career, quarterback Michael Vick said the Falcons tried to exploit his presence on the field.
Instead, they found the weakside linebacker's area of the field closed to all offensive business.
Julius Adams, who said he can be critical of his son's play, didn't make it up from his South Carolina home to the title game.
"It was pretty cold," he said. "I told Keith there's a difference between sitting out there and playing in it. I told him I wasn't going to be able to
make it, but I like watching it on TV because the replays are so good."
He especially liked what he saw from his son.
"I'm always critiquing him after every game and telling him what to do, and it seemed like in that game he put it all together," Julius said. "I told
him he played well."
Defensive coordinator Jim Johnson told him, too. And when coach Andy Reid was asked about Adams the other day, a smile came across his face.
"The Bullet has done a great job," Reid said.
Given his performance against the Falcons, it seems likely that Adams will be back on the field as a starter against the Patriots in Super Bowl XXXIX.
But even if he doesn't start, Julius and Keith Adams will become just the third father-son combination to play in the Super Bowl.
"It's remarkable," Keith said. "For us to be playing the team he used to be with - the Patriots - it's just like a dream come true. I just want to win
it because he didn't have a chance to win it. Then I'll have the bragging rights on him."
The father's Super Bowl experience was not a pleasant one. He was part of the Patriots' 1985 team that made the playoffs as a wild card, then won
three straight games on the road to reach the Super Bowl. They remain the only team to reach the Super Bowl by winning three times on the road.
But when the Patriots (14-5) got to Super Bowl XX in New Orleans, the Chicago Bears (17-1) were waiting for them.
Final score: Bears 46, Patriots 10.
"It was exciting to get there," Julius said. "We had to fight all the way to get there. Half of the team had an intestinal virus the day of the game.
Guys were sick, but we still went out and played to the best of our ability. I made it through the game, but the next day I got sick.
"The Bears were just a superior team to us on that day. They came out and played all aspects of the game well. They deserved to win."
Keith was only 6 years old when he attended his father's only Super Bowl.
"I remember it was a long day for the Patriots," he said. "They got crushed. But the whole atmosphere was amazing, and just to know that my father had
played in a Super Bowl was really special.
"I know he was disappointed. Being a true competitor, you never want to lose any game, but it was a great accomplishment for him to play all those
years and finally go to the Super Bowl. He was 15 years into his career."
Adams said being the son of a professional football player had its perks.
"It was great," he said. "Financially, I was definitely blessed. I grew up on a 120-acre farm with horses, cows, four-wheelers and motorcycles. I was
But not spoiled.
Julius Adams, who is now an assistant high school football coach in South Carolina, has always stayed on his son to do the right things.
"I coached him quite a bit," Julius said. "This past off-season, I worked with him, getting him ready. I'm very strict on the things he does and how
he plays. I make him work on his technique, and I make him learn to read his keys. He has the natural ability. He can hit and he can run.
"I always teach my children to respect people and respect your opponent. Don't go around thinking you're this and that. Your opponent trains just like
You can hear the father in the son when Keith is asked about starting against the Patriots and his impending free agency. The Patriots' "we" theme
that his father boasted about is entrenched in Keith.
The son on starting in the Super Bowl: "I don't even get into any of that. I just feel like we earned the right to play in the biggest game of the
year, and I'm happy that as a team we can go out there and try to win this game. It doesn't matter to me if I start or don't start. I just want to
contribute all that I can, given the opportunity."
The son on his contract status: "I don't even think about it. I consider myself a true football player, and I'll let my agent and everybody else
handle that. I'm just here to play football. That's what I've been doing my whole life. I've been playing since I was 5 and all through college
without being paid. I've been blessed in life financially and spiritually and with my health."
And now the son, just like the father, will get a chance to play in a Super Bowl.
The father - "the Patriot" - thinks the Eagles have a chance.
"I don't know why people give the Eagles so little chance," Julius said. "No one can see the future. I tell Keith to go out and give your all,
especially in this game.
"That's what the Patriots do. They go out and play. They don't seem to worry about the scoreboard, and the Eagles have been doing that the last two
games. They've been going out and having fun. I want the Eagles to win, and I think they'll beat them. That's me. I'm pulling for the Eagles."
Like Father, Like Son
When Eagles linebacker Keith Adams takes the field next Sunday against the New England Patriots, he and his father, Julius, will both have played in
the Super Bowl. Only four other father-son combinations have been on the active roster for Super Bowl teams; Keith and Julius will be just the third
father-son tandem to actually play in the game.
Family Pos. Team Season
Father: Julius Adams DE New England 1985
Son: Keith Adams LB EAGLES 2004
Father: Frank Cornish DT Miami 1971
Son: Frank Cornish C Dallas 1992, '93
Father: Tony Dorsett RB Dallas 1977, '78
Son: Anthony Dorsett CB Tennessee 1999 Oakland 2002
Father: Bob Griese QB Miami 1971, '72, '73
Son: Brian Griese* QB Denver 1998
Father: Manu Tuiasosopo DE San Francisco 1984
Son: Marquis Tuiasosopo *QB Oakland 2002
*-Did not play in game.