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Amazing Possibilities!

  • Writer's pictureMatthew Kelly

The Matt Birk Interview with Matthew Kelly


Watch the full interview!


Matthew Kelly:

Hi, I'm Matthew Kelly. Thanks for joining us. I'm here with super bowl champion, Matt Birk. Matt, it's great to have you with us.


Matt Birk:

Great to be here, Matthew.


Matthew Kelly:

I got some very serious questions to get started. Are you a coffee lover?


Matt Birk:

I live on coffee.


Matthew Kelly:

You live on coffee?


Matt Birk:

I have to.


Matthew Kelly:

How much coffee? I've got a thing going, I'm asking all my guests how much coffee they drink to see who is most enamored, or addicted to coffee. How much coffee do you drink a day?


Matt Birk:

I'd say only, three or four cups. But then, the natural question is how big are the cups? Right? It doesn't matter how many cups you have. My cups are generally the 24 ounce.


Matthew Kelly:

24 ounces-


Matt Birk:

Variety, yes.


Matthew Kelly:

Three, or four?


Matt Birk:

Yeah, three or four of those.


Matthew Kelly:

At what point of the day, do you stop drinking coffee?


Matt Birk:

Oh, eight, nine o'clock at night. I could drink coffee while laying in bed and fall asleep right then and there, it's-


Matthew Kelly:

Wow.


Matt Birk:

That doesn't speak to my character at all. I mean, I don't think it should be lauded for that.


Matthew Kelly:

I don't think so. It's a superpower, isn't it?


Matt Birk:

Well, just means I've drank a lot of coffee over the years and it pretty much has almost zero effect on me, but I'm addicted. I have eight kids. I mean, how do you parent without-


Matthew Kelly:

We're going to get to that. And I hear that.


Matt Birk:

I got all excuses-


Matthew Kelly:

I hear that big time and I'm sure coffee isn't the only thing that you need in order to father eight children. What about, favorite movie?


Matt Birk:

Favorite movie is Braveheart.


Matthew Kelly:

Braveheart, why is it your favorite movie?


Matt Birk:

I think, it's got that thing, right? That thing that speaks to something in us, men. The courage, the fight, the cause, the woman, I mean, it's got it all, right? And it's got bagpipes, bagpipes are sweet.


Matthew Kelly:

Kilts, I thought you're going to mention the kilts.


Matt Birk:

I'm not big into the kilts, but the bagpipes I can get behind.


Matthew Kelly:

All right. The great line in the movie, "All men die, but not all men really live."


Matt Birk:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).


Matthew Kelly:

You've had incredible life, lots of different chapters and seasons of that life. But, it started, you grew up in Minnesota. What was life like as a child growing up in Minnesota?


Matt Birk:

I was very fortunate to have just that idyllic childhood. I mean, grew up in a part of town where there was just a bunch of families, a bunch of kids, blue collar middle-class, good values, million kids in the neighborhood. We were just outside playing all the time, walked up the hill to school, walked up the hill, to church. I mean, it was just perfect. I look back and I think how lucky I was to grow up in a time and a place like that. And yeah, long for that for my kids, right? Life's different these days.


Matthew Kelly:

Life is different these days. I read somewhere that, as a kid, you didn't win stuff. You weren't particularly athletic. You didn't get picked first in sports.


Matt Birk:

It's all true.


Matthew Kelly:

How does someone go from that, to being on a winning super bowl team?


Matt Birk:

Yeah, so I loved sports. I wasn't really any good at them. I was the fat, slow kid, which I was all right with. I mean, it didn't really matter. I remember, I knew I wasn't that good at sports, but it didn't matter. It didn't diminish my love for them. I mean, you play in the neighborhood and there's guys that are really good and guys that aren't. I was one of the guys that wasn't, and that was okay. And I tried every single sport, and then I got to high school and I said, "Well, the only sport I haven't tried is football. So, I might as well try that." Right? And that's when I discovered two gifts that God gave me. He gave me the gift of getting in people's way and the gift of grabbing onto them.


Matt Birk:

And those are two really important gifts, if you're an offensive lineman, that's it, that's it in a nutshell. And I started playing football and I was like, "Wow. I mean, I'm actually good at this. And I'd just play in high school, I'd get a letter jacket and probably had a girlfriend that was a little better looking than she should have been, because I was on the football team. I liked it and never thought I'd play in college and ended up playing in college. Never thought I'd end up playing in the NFL and playing the NFL for 15 years." But, I mean, sports was such a huge part of my childhood. And I mean, I can remember for years, people would ask me, "What do you want to be when you grow up?"


Matt Birk:

And I was conflicted. I didn't know if I wanted to be a professional baseball player, professional basketball, this was the big decisions that were weighing on me as a child. And I guess, it's a way of saying that, God answers prayers. Because, more than anything, I wanted to be a professional athlete, but I think that you need to be specific in your prayers to God. Because, yes, he made me a professional athlete, but he made me an offensive lineman. There's no kids on their knees, praying at night and saying, "God, please make me an offensive lineman." Right? Nobody wants to be an offensive lineman, but the world needs linemen too. And that's what I was.


Matthew Kelly:

So, you almost never left Minnesota as a kid.


Matt Birk:

Right.


Matthew Kelly:

What's it like stepping on the campus at Harvard?


Matt Birk:

Woo, man.


Matthew Kelly:

18 years old.


Matt Birk:

Yeah, 18 years old. So, I joke around, but it's true. I never won a trophy as a kid, never. Was never on a all-star team, or anything and had the success in high school with football. And so, it was average in many ways until high school. I started getting recognized and school would always come fairly easy to me. So, I was a good student, good athlete, going to Harvard to play football. My parents, I remember they woke my brothers up early, I had two younger brothers. Woke them up, made them drive me to the airport, all of us. And they just dropped me at the curb. I had two duffel bags, which was pretty much everything I had. And they said, "Good luck. We love you. We'll come visit you when we can." And jumped on a plane and went to Harvard. And I got there and it was just like, "Oh my gosh, the world is so much bigger than I knew." I mean, I grew up in St. Paul, Minnesota never really went anywhere. I thought everybody was white, Irish and Catholic, that was my whole world.


Matt Birk:

But, then just got exposed to people from all over the world and all these different ideas. But, the thing that happened to me in college early on, was where I'd been coasting for a few years. It just seemed like I just had the Midas touch. I was having all this success and everybody was telling me how great I was doing, how proud they were. And I was believing the hype. "Yeah, I'm pretty good. I'm working hard." And I got to Harvard and all just came crashing down. I mean, I'm on the football field, I'm an 18 year old boy, I'm playing against 22 year old men. That's not going well. And then, in school, you're sitting here in class with some of the best and the brightest in the world. And you're competing for grades against them and have these unbelievable world famous professors. Football wasn't going well, school wasn't going well. And it was probably the first I'm going to say real crisis I had in my life where it was like, "Oh my gosh, I don't know if I can do this."


Matthew Kelly:

So, you're into your first semester. You wanted to leave. Your dad wrote you a letter. What did the letter say?


Matt Birk:

Well, so here's how it went. I was like, "Yeah, this isn't going well." I was way beyond my comfort zone and I was scared. And so, when I went home for Christmas break, I had two duffel bags with me. That was everything I had. And my plan was I wasn't going to go back. So, waiting for the right time to spring this on my parents and I bring it up and I say, "I don't think I'm going to go back." And my dad, he's a pretty old school guy. He listened, he said, "No, you're going back." And that was it, I went back. Didn't want to, but that was it. Your dad told you, I don't know, he just did it.


Matt Birk:

So, I'd been back for a few weeks and I get a letter in my mailbox, which back then we wrote letters. We didn't have email. And it was a letter from my dad. And he told me that, when he was 18 years old, he got a trip to Vietnam. He didn't want to go. He was told to go twice-


Matthew Kelly:

Hmm.


Matt Birk:

Serve two tours in the Vietnam war. And he said, "You're at a great school. You get to play football, nobody's shooting at you. Grow up." Essentially, it was grow up. And I remember, obviously, it was unbelievable perspective. And I mean, at 18 years old and you're selfish. And I'd gotten to a point in my life where it was just, everything was about me. And so, I didn't have that perspective and the way that he told it to me, it's those times when a father needs to tell his son something like, "Hey, this is important." Changed my life, and I stopped feeling sorry for myself. I don't know if it got any easier. School was still pretty hard, football got better. I got bigger and stronger. School, was still a struggle. But, that was an important day in my life.


Matthew Kelly:

Powerful. Is there another lesson that your father taught you that it's important for you to teach your children?


Matt Birk:

Hmm. My dad, he's just a doer. He's one of those, guess you could say, he evangelizes with his actions. It's his personal example. Yeah, we didn't have a lot growing up, but he was always volunteering to, whatever it was. Run the Christmas tree lot, be the commissioner of the little league, make meals at the soup kitchen, whatever it was, he just went and did it. Didn't try to make a spectacle out of it, just went and did it. Never said anything, just work, my mom and my dad. I feel, one of the great blessings of my life, is that I was born to two parents who have great work ethic. They just went to work every day. And that's a blessing. If you have that example where you're expected, it's just what we do. We show up and we work and we show up and we serve, that's powerful. That's big part of what shaped who I am today.


Matthew Kelly:

Is it hard to pass that on to your kids?


Matt Birk:

I think it's getting harder, kids these days. I mean, I had a full-time job when I was 11. Worked every day at the golf course for the Summer, every single day. And this is what we did, right? These days it's different, life is different, it's digital, it's a lot more comfortable, but it's just the culture, right? The motivation, the value that we just put on work as a society, as a whole. The dignity that we see in work, I don't think it's what it used to be. And so, it is hard to do. I was very fortunate to be able to play football for 15 years. I don't need to work, but I remember when I retired, it was like, "Well, what am I going to do? Am I going to go play golf every day and go catch fish?" I remember I made a conscious decision, "My kids need to see me working, doing something, getting up every single day and doing work, because that's important." Because, the example of my parents, the effect that it had on me. I think, that's the best way to try to pass something on.


Matthew Kelly:

Yeah. I'm struck by something you just said. You said, "I don't need to work." And financially, that's true, right? And I think our society looks at work that way.


Matt Birk:

Mm-hmm.


Matthew Kelly:

We say, "We need to work financially, or we don't need to work financially." But, then what you've expanded on, is the reality that you do actually need to work.


Matt Birk:

Yes.


Matthew Kelly:

And that we do have this need to exert ourselves in that way and to end up playing golf every day, isn't necessarily good for the soul. At dinner last night, you made a comment that really struck me also. You said, "I've always had the gift of faith." It is a gift. When did you become aware of that? Or, how did you experience that as a child?


Matt Birk:

Hmm. I just remember as a child, just always feeling like God was right beside me. Just, always on my shoulder. Like I said, I was the fat, slow, whatever, below average. I was never sad, I never had any angst, or stress. I always just felt like everything was just always going to work out. I've always had this feeling, that everything's always going to work out. And I can vividly remember times in my life where, I'm on my bike, biking to school and God's with me, I'm talking to God like a friend. I mean, those are just early memories I have. I guess I didn't realize that until probably a few years ago, that I was blessed with the gift of faith. Again, that says nothing about my character. It's just, something I was blessed with.


Matthew Kelly:

How did that manifest during your football career?


Matt Birk:

Wow. So, there's the other side of the story, right? So, first of all, I think prosperity derails more people than adversity does.


Matthew Kelly:

Hmm.


Matt Birk:

And so, I had enjoyed a lot of prosperity, high school, college. And then, I get drafted by my hometown team. The team that I grew up, we used to run home from church to get in front of the TV and watch the Vikings game on Sundays. And here I'm playing for the Vikings and everybody's slapping me on the back saying, "God, you're doing great. We're so proud of you. You're doing awesome." And I'm naive enough, I'm believing them. I'm like, "Yes, I am doing awesome." And I can remember I stopped going to church pretty much. I left high school and I remember the first Sunday, go out to school, we're practicing football.


Matt Birk:

We wake up Sunday morning, we've got the day off. There's seven other guys in the dorm room with me. And I'm waiting for somebody to say, "Hey, let's go to church." And nobody said, "Let's go to church." And so, I didn't go. And it was the first Sunday I ever missed.


Matthew Kelly:

Hmm.


Matt Birk:

You feel pretty guilty about that. It was hard. Second Sunday rolls around, don't go to church. Becomes a lot easier the second time and the third time. Habits, the habits that you talk about. So, I've justified not going to mass like, "Hey God, I'm really busy, doing all these great things." Everybody's telling me how great I'm doing, right? Of course, you play in the NFL. "Well, our games are on Sunday. How am I supposed to make it? How do you expect me to go to mass, when I got to go play the Bears?" And that's an excused absence, right?


Matthew Kelly:

Just because it's the Bears?


Matt Birk:

Well, any NFL franchise. Most of them, most of them. So, I'd reached this point where I was very focused on worldly success, had all the fame and money and, there's a hamburger named after me in St. Paul, that's how famous I was.


Matthew Kelly:

Hamburger.


Matt Birk:

If you're a lineman and you have a hamburger named after you, that's pretty big time.


Matthew Kelly:

That is big time. That's usually a quarterback thing.


Matt Birk:

Yeah, it's still there. You come to Minnesota, we'll get a Matt Birk burger. I'd just signed to the biggest contract in the history of the NFL for a center. I mean, beyond my wildest dreams. But, I knew on the inside, there was a huge hole. I knew that I was actually dying.


Matthew Kelly:

Hmm.


Matt Birk:

All these things were supposed to bring me happiness, this was everything I ever wanted. Why am I not? Why don't I have that joy that I thought I would have? So, I meet girl, become rather smitten with her. And she becomes my wife. And she was Catholic too, but fallen away a little bit. But, she was like, "Hey, we got to go to church." I was like, "Yeah." I went back to church and this was really the first time as an adult. I wasn't going, because my parents told me to go, or "Hey, it's Christmas, meet us at mass." I went and I was like, "Wow, yeah. Maybe, there's something here."


Matt Birk:

And I guess the point I'm trying to make is, I was raised catholic, given the gift of the faith as a child. But, at some point, all of us cradle Catholics, we have to claim the faith as our own. We have to say, "Yes, I am a Catholic." And so, it's through my marriage that I came back to the faith and really became intentional about being a Catholic, living out my identity as a child of God and taking my faith seriously.


Matthew Kelly:

You mentioned your wife, Adrianna. How much ice tea did you drink, in an effort to win your wife's affection?


Matt Birk:

Okay. So, I was a lineman. I was about 315 pounds, single, never cooking for myself, right? So, you got to find your places where you can go and get those high calorie meals. So, there is a diner, it was a greasy spoon diner, famous, been there forever, good food, good rib-sticking food, great breakfast, meatloaf, that stuff. So, I went in there and there was this waitress who I liked particularly, and everything at this place is big. All the portions are big and even the drinks, they're 32 ounce classes. So, I would always sit in this girl's section and I'd get an ice tea, well it was 32 ounces ice tea. Well, I wanted her to come back and refill my drink, so I could continue hitting on her. And so, I would suck down, three or four ice teas at a breakfast. So, Adriana would come back and fill up my glass and I could make small talk. So, it was some work, I walked out of there with a few bellyaches, but it was well worth it, because she did become my wife, so...


Matthew Kelly:

Talking about the gift of faith, talking about falling away from the church, coming back to the church. How is God manifesting in your life different today than at any other time in your life?


Matt Birk:

Well, that's a great question. I feel like right now I have eight children, couple business opportunities, the school that I'm involved in, a lot of stuff going on. It's a lot. And I think God's got me in that place right now where I know that I have no choice, but to submit to his will. And I remember that place, I know I can't do this. There are times where I still say, "Oh, I'm on top of it. I got this." And then, it's just disaster. I mean, I'm really in that place where, I say almost because I'm still human, but it's almost total dependency on God, that we can just keep this whole thing together. I mean, with kids, there's all this stuff with kids. Marriage, it's a lot. And I can't even begin to try to really wrap my head all around it, or even feel like I have any semblance of control.


Matthew Kelly:

Hmm.


Matt Birk:

And so, it's almost like, "Okay, well, show up. Here I am, God. Help me figure this out, give me the wisdom and the endurance to do these things according to your will." And I think it's a pretty good place to be. I'm not trying to make it sound like, "Everything's easy and great, it's not." Which is I think, the point. But, I'm at that point where I almost have no choice, but to submit to the will of God.


Matthew Kelly:

It's sounds like there's been this journey from the arrogance of youth, "I got it all going on. Everyone's telling me I'm the man." To, this position of humility and dependence on God. We see a lot of people trying to maintain the arrogance-


Matt Birk:

Hmm.


Matthew Kelly:

Even through the things you're describing and I think the collateral damage that comes with that, you've made this journey yourself, but you've seen a lot of other people make the journey.


Matt Birk:

Oh yeah.


Matthew Kelly:

Some people make good choices, some people make bad choices. What are some of the things that you look at people and think, "Hmm, making a bad choice, how is my life different to them? Why was I able to make better choice?" What is the difference between the people that handle it well and the people that don't?


Matt Birk:

Yeah. I think, the biggest thing, is you're only as good as the people you're around. Yeah. I mean, I know from playing football that you could be the greatest player in the world. If you don't have great teammates, other guys that are talented and committed, you're not going to do anything. Football's the ultimate team game. I think life, it's a team sport. And there was a time where I thought, "Yeah, look at these friends that I've selected." Right?


Matthew Kelly:

Right.


Matt Birk:

I know that's not me. God put amazing people in my life at the right time. My wife, a handful of older men, at a time when I needed, when I was coming back to the faith and still very young and immature in my journey. I needed mentors. I needed guys that would take time to sit down and answer my questions and talk to me. But, it's my teammates in life who have kept me on a good path. They inspire me, they guide me, they hold me accountable. That's what we all need.


Matthew Kelly:

Yeah.


Matt Birk:

Yeah, that's what we all need. And yeah, very, very blessed.


Matthew Kelly:

So, you grew up Catholic, you take a break-


Matt Birk:

Take a break.


Matthew Kelly:

Like many, many, many people do-


Matt Birk:

Yeah.


Matthew Kelly:

You come back. You have a favorite memory as a Catholic?


Matt Birk:

Hmm, favorite memory as a Catholic? I can remember, this one, is somewhat recent. So, we're all busy, we're all so busy. And few years ago, we're at mass and I'm in the way back, because I've got a, I don't know, one or two year old, who's not behaving, right? And pastor gets up, to do the homily. He talks about adoration. Well, we have an adoration chapel at our church and it's been here for 26 years, perpetual adoration. And there's signups today after mass and right away, I'm thinking, "Well, come on. I got a lot going on. I don't have time yet." And this pastor says, "If you don't have one hour a week to spend with Jesus, maybe you need to think about your priorities." And I said, "Well, okay. I guess that's one of those where I feel like he's speaking directly to me."


Matt Birk:

So, I go to the table and I'm a tough guy. I'm a tough guy, right? I want to make it hurt a little bit. So, I sign up for 4:00 AM Monday morning, right? I'm thinking, "Yeah, this is good. I'm not only going to do the... I'm going to take 4:00 AM." And this little woman, Teresa Boland is her name. She runs the adoration, she runs the program, she's been doing it forever, she's five feet tall. She just has the joy of Jesus in her. I mean, she's one of these people. And I sign up and I'm thinking, 4:00 AM Monday, I'm I'm getting like extra credit for this, right? I show up, I go to sign in the book, Teresa Boland was there. She had been there since 2:00 AM-


Matthew Kelly:

Hmm.


Matt Birk:

From 2:00 to 4:00. So, she fills in all the hours that nobody else takes. And so, she's there. And I was probably telling everybody, "Yeah, I got adoration at 4:00 AM tomorrow." Look at me, look at me, right? All proud. I show off and every Monday I would show up at 4:00 AM and Teresa's there from 2:00 to 4:00.


Matthew Kelly:

Hmm.


Matt Birk:

And I thought, maybe I need to check my ego a little bit. But, I mean, first of all, I need humility. I need those moments. I need those things, because I can get...


Matt Birk:

I need those moments. I need those things, because I can get out of control really fast. But I remember that was the moment. That was a Catholic moment, like when my dad wrote me that letter. And it was like I think there was a permanent effect there. Like, "Okay. I'm going to be a little bit different forever going forward."


Matthew Kelly:

So you stopped playing football in high school. You go to Harvard and play football. When did you know you would play professional football?


Matt Birk:

About halfway through my senior season, an NFL scout came by to watch my film. And I was like, "Really?" So I just asked him point blank. I said, "You really think I could play in the NFL?" "I think you got a chance." It was at that point, again, at this point in my life, I'm selfish. I'm about... Harvard, I'm about achievement. I'm about money and success. So this guy says I can go play in the NFL. So that just really became my singular focus. I maybe went to class a little bit less and was just all about... And I just said, "I'm just going to pursue this as far as I can. And when it's over, it's over. And then I'll go start by my real life." But it wasn't until my senior year of college.


Matthew Kelly:

So draft day comes around. You wake up on draft day. What does that feel like?


Matt Birk:

Well, I was nervous because I wasn't sure if I was going to get drafted or not. And I'd had a private workout with the Vikings and they had told me, "We're not going to draft the lineman and you're probably going to get drafted." So it was good to hear like, "Wow. I'm going to get drafted. That's great." I just wanted an opportunity, but not with the Vikings. So the Vikings weren't on my radar at all. And so then when the phone rang and it was... They call you. Scouts call you, "Hey, we're from this team. We're looking at to take you at the next pick." And okay, but the phone rang and it was Denny Green, the head coach of the Minnesota Vikings. The head coach isn't calling you to say, "We might take you." He's calling to say, "We just took you." And I remember he said, "Do you want to play in Minnesota?" I said, "Of course, I do." And then my name came up on the screen, and I had a bunch of friends. We're all in the dorm room. It was a great moment.


Matthew Kelly:

So you're in the dorm room. That's what you were?


Matt Birk:

Yeah, yeah. Just sitting in the dorm room.


Matthew Kelly:

So you get picked in the sixth round. What did that feel like? What are you thinking in that moment?


Matt Birk:

It's surreal. I'm going to make my way back home and it was like things were coming together. Again, I was about success. That's what I was about. So I was like, "This is great. I'm going to go play for the Minnesota Vikings. I'll be the hometown hero. I'll make lot of money. I'm going to be famous." It was all just fallen into place. Again, that's where I was at at that point in my life.


Matthew Kelly:

But you still had to finish out the semester.


Matt Birk:

Finished the semester, graduated, which was important. And then went to training camp, and it was very similar to the experience I had when I first got to Harvard. Because I'd been in this place whereby the end of high school and by the end of college, it's like, "I'm one of the best." And then you start over, and you're on the bottom again. And I had a lot of those same feelings. "I don't know if I can do this," right? I'd built it up in my mind, like, "I'm just going to make this happen." And then you get there and you're like... You're trying to block guys like John Randall. It's not going well. And I said, "Okay." I said, "I'm probably not going to make it." But I said, "But I'm going to just make sure that I show up. I do every single thing they asked me to do. And then when they cut me at the end of training camp, I can say I gave it my best and move on."


Matt Birk:

So I show up the first day and it goes horribly, maybe the worst practice ever in the history of the NFL. It might be. I'm talking like I'm not blocking anybody. I couldn't block a dummy, a tackling dummy. And after practice, the coach comes up to me. He's like, "I think you need to learn how to play center." I'd never played center before. And I said, "Okay. Well, so what do we do?" "Well, the first thing you got to do is you got to learn how to snap a football." "Okay. That makes sense." So he goes, "Be out here five minutes early before practice, and the quarterbacks will meet you out here. You practice snapping a football." "Okay, great."


Matt Birk:

So I'm out there waiting, waiting. Here come the quarterbacks. I'm pumped up. I'm trying to pump myself up. Quarterbacks, come out. They're like... And for five minutes we just practiced snapping the football. Bend over, put your hand on the ball. Quarterback puts his hands underneath you. It takes a little getting used to. And we just practiced snapping the football. And I was like, "Okay." And that day and every single day, I went out five minutes early and practiced snapping a football to the quarterbacks. Because the snap, it's that important, you know? Like you've probably never noticed the snap, unless it's on the ground or over his head, right? And then you blame the center like everybody else does. You never blame the quarterback, but you never watch a game and say, "Oh, my gosh. How does the center snap the ball? It's perfect. How does he do that?"


Matt Birk:

It's the first number one thing of any play, like, "Get a good snap." Otherwise, you got no chance. And then we do that. And then every day as a line of you go down and get these things called shoots. You'd come out and they teach you how to stay low. They teach you leverage, which is important in line play. And then you do these same five drills every single day, no matter what. No matter if you're a rookie or you're a 15-year vet. No matter if you're the last guy on the roster or All-Pro, you do the fundamentals over and over and over, because they're that important. Nobody's good enough to just get by on talent to just say, "I got this. I'm going to go make it happen."


Matt Birk:

And so football eyes everything. And that's, as I came back to the Catholic faith, that's what I came to really appreciate about the Catholic faith was... I'm a mess. We're all broken, good times, bad times, whatever, but there's all these fundamentals at our disposal. Then all we got to do is just show up and do them, right? Like go to mass, go to confession, adoration, the rosary. We've even got the saints. We've got the hall of fame of Cath. There's all these things. It doesn't... In football, I was a low talent guy. So I was like, "I'm just going to show up and just do whatever they tell me to do." And after a while, I got better and better and became all right at it.


Matt Birk:

It's like the same thing with Catholicism. All you got to do is just show up and just keep doing the fundamentals over and over and over. That's what football is. You always hear about, "Who's going to win the game?" Well, whatever team's more fundamentally sound is going to win. It's a game of fundamentals, blocking, tackling, running, catching. Faith and life, it's the same thing. Just keep doing it over and over and over. And it's counter-cultural, because we love the highlights, right? We're about highlights. We don't give out medals or trophies for just for fortitude and perseverance, just showing up. But that's what I think that's what makes a great life. It makes a great football player, the commitment to something and just continue to show up.


Matt Birk:

I remember I was having a... I was late in my career. I don't know, it was towards the end. And I remember this younger guy, one of my teammates, comes up to me. And football is really, it's a spiritual thing. Wherever you are in your faith, football, it's hard. It hurts. You got to sacrifice. You've high highs, low lows. There's a lot going on. You have some great moments with your teammates. There was this guy he'd been in like five or six years. He comes over to me one day, middle of practice where we're sitting some out. He said, "Man." He goes, "I got to ask you something. How have you lasted so long in the NFL?" I think he was expecting me to give him like some training tip, like, "Oh. You got to stand on your head for two minutes a night," or something like that.


Matt Birk:

And I said, "Ben," I said, "Early on in my career, it was about, can I do this?" Yeah, it was a challenge of can I do this? I said, "Now I'm at the point where it's, how much can I take?" In a way it's like you show up and you just take the... You put your body through the ringer. You go on this wild ride every year of a season. You put yourself through it. And the older you get, the harder it gets, and it became as almost like a challenge. Not can I do it? But how much can it take? Can I keep committing to this and doing it more? And that became my thing. And as I get a little bit older, I'm not old, but as I get a little bit older, that's a little bit how I look at life versus like, what can I go do? Or what can I go buy or any of that? But it's like, part of life is it's sacrifice, suffering. Like how much can I take?


Matthew Kelly:

Playing offensive lineman and how much can you take? And you're taking a lot, and it's not the most popular position on the planet. And lots of other players getting more attention. And it is very much a supportive role in a world where everyone wants to be center stage. What did you learn about playing a supporting role? And how does that change the way you see other people playing supporting roles in everyday life?


Matt Birk:

Like I said, I was never the star of any team. So being an... That's just like who I am. I loved offensive line because it was hard. There's no glory. And the only guys that really know how hard it is are the guys that you're playing next to. And I know, like I said, no kid's kneeling down at night saying their prayers saying, "Please, God. Make me an offensive lineman." And I wouldn't have said that either, but it was the best. It was the best. First of all, you get to eat whatever you want. Second, you're with a bunch of other guys who we know we're never going to be modeling underwear. We know who... There's low ego. We're just a bunch of guys bringing our lunch pails to work. So it's the best.


Matt Birk:

But I do think that... I don't know. I do think I do go out of my way sometimes to find those people who are in support, who most people might be invisible in society. And I don't know, just let them know that I appreciate them or just go out of my way to say Hi to them. But I also know, even though I was a professional athlete and accomplished and this and that, I knew how much it meant when the quarterback or the running back or the wide receiver would come over and say, "Good job, guys," and give you a little... Let's you know, that he appreciated what we were doing. We were called the Big Uglies, right? Because that's who we were.


Matt Birk:

And it's like, these guys... And we're talking world-class athletes, right? We're talking guys who are... They're the fastest guys in... They're the best in the world. They're the best quarterback, running back, wide receiver, like elite athletes. Millions of people are buying their jerseys. These guys are the thing. Even though they're your teammates, you still look up to guys like that. And when they would come over and let you know that they appreciate that, that went a long ways. That was big, and it meant everything. It really meant just that small thing meant everything. That's really a difference between a... I don't know. A wide receiver's not going to help me do my job any better. He's not going to give me tips or techniques to help me. Now he could make me look a little better than I am by making some plays once in a while. But that's the difference. For him to be a good teammate or just an okay teammate is just come over once in a while and just give me a little love. That was big.


Matthew Kelly:

Did that realization change the way you affirm your wife, you affirm your children, you affirm other people in your life?


Matt Birk:

No, I don't do that enough. Yeah. I don't know why. I withhold too many compliments. Well, I think it, so therefore my wife, she knows. She knows I think she's beautiful. She knows I appreciate everything she does. I think I believe I'm some telepathic communicator, which I am not. No, I need to do that more. And that's probably, that's just... We're all some degree of product of our environments, right?


Matthew Kelly:

Sure.


Matt Birk:

You play football? What do football coaches do? They yell and they scream at you and they critique you. And the higher you get in sports, the more coaching you receive, the harder it gets to improve. You got to work harder and get coached harder to just make smaller and smaller improvements. And so I guess I'm used to... You can tell me 99 things I'm doing wrong. If one out of 100, you tell me, "Good job," I'm okay with that. So I just assume that my wife and my kids are the same way. Well, they're not. That's what I. I had all brothers growing up. You got a lot of brothers.


Matthew Kelly:

I had all brothers as well.


Matt Birk:

So I mean toilet seats always up, number one.


Matthew Kelly:

If it's on.


Matt Birk:

Yeah, just the whole talking, affection. Yeah, how do I show affection to my brother? Well, I would sock him in the shoulder or put him in a headlock. So my first three children are girls. God gave me three girls to start. And I remember early on my wife's like, "You can't talk to them like that. You have to be this way." And it was very much like I really had to humble myself and say, "Okay. I guess we are going to have a tea party today. Or you can come here and lay with daddy and I'll stroke your hair," or whatever it is, right? That was an incredible experience. I still got a ways to go.


Matthew Kelly:

So as a professional athlete, you're used to being coached. When your wife comes to you and coaches you, what's that dynamic? How does that feel? You resistant to that, how you react to that?


Matt Birk:

Oh, yeah. Yeah. Familiarity breeds contempt, right? So unfortunately, yeah. I would say there are a lot of times where I'm the least courteous to my wife or the least patient with my kids. How does that make any sense? Yeah. That's like totally backwards. That's a constant struggle. But I know this about marriage specifically. Like marriage, it's like the great adventure. I heard a long time ago, "Perfect marriage is just two imperfect people who refuse to give up on each other." And I can say I know that's my wife and I. We made that decision. We're not giving up on each other.


Matt Birk:

And I think about football. Football, it's all about commitment. Football is just all about how committed are you to the process? What are you willing to do? How much sacrifice? How much pain are you willing to endure for the good of the team? If you're really all in and you got to be all in. If you're not all in, then you're all out. If guys say, "Oh, yeah. I'm committed." Well, the first time you lose a couple games or something, guys will start baling. You can't only be all in when you're winning. But when you know someone's all in, when your teammates are with you like that, you can do anything.


Matt Birk:

Yeah, there's going to be bad times. There's going to be three game losing streaks and all that stuff. And fans are going to boo you, but you know you're going to get through it. You just know you're going get through it. Because you have to, right? We're in this together. And that's how I look at marriage. It's like, you just don't ever flinch on the commitment that you have. I can say I don't... When my wife and I got married, I don't think we were at a place. I don't think it was a sacramental marriage. I think by the grace of God that we've grown into that, where God is at the center of our marriage now. But it takes a long time to get there. It takes a lot of work and we still got a long ways to go, but I know we're not going to give up. So if we know we're not going to give up, then we're going to make it.


Matthew Kelly:

Yeah. We were talking earlier about the snap and how most people don't notice it, unless it ends up on the ground or over the quarterback's head. And you talk then about blame. Okay. There's all these crazy radio shows, talk shows, Monday talking about the game on Sunday. As a player, how much does that stuff affect you?


Matt Birk:

Early on in my career, it affected me a lot, because my identity was tied up in being a football player. It was really important to me. You mentioned earlier about people trying to beat, try to project outwardly this image, right? Like, "Hey, I'm successful. I'm married. I got two kids. I drive this car. I live in this neighborhood." As an NFL player, you're the same thing. I just got to a place where that was just so exhausting. It's just exhausting to try to be whatever. As I came back to the faith, football became less of who I really was. And you know what? I think I got a place of maturity where it's like, you understand people. Hey, it's great people love football.


Matt Birk:

I think people probably love it a little too much. It's a little too important. I'd say it's one of the most important unimportant things. It's really not that important. But in our country it really has become too important. It's like a civic religion. I'm saying these people, they're just... It's their escape. I know it's just what they do. And if it ever really got to me in the moments where it does sometimes, you just say, "Look, they're just talking. Anybody can talk." Yeah. It's like the Teddy Roosevelt. It's the man. It's not the critic who points out how the doer of deeds could have done them better. Anybody can talk and criticize. And at least at the end of the day, I was... First of all, at least you're out there. You're laying it on the line. You get the opportunity to go do something and lay it on the line.


Matt Birk:

And it's real clear whether you're successful or not every week. It's binary, success or failure. That's pretty cool. That was pretty cool. But yeah, I guess you learn to just roll with it.


Matthew Kelly:

Two of the themes that are emerging in our conversation, I think talent and discipline. Obviously, you need talent to compete at that level, but listening to you, it seems like you value discipline a lot more than talent. Talk to us a little bit about that.


Matt Birk:

Yeah. Like I said, I always consider myself a low talent guy in a lot of ways. So I was going to make up for with discipline. I guess here's the thing I always think about. If I fail... We never want to think about failure, but I say, "Okay. What if I fail?", which is a distinct possibility. And I failed. One of the great... but I failed a bunch in my life early on as a kid. I didn't have parents telling me that I was super special. I knew I was special. I knew God made me. I knew what he did for me. I knew he loved me. But it wasn't like, "Oh. You're the most special." I wasn't raised like that. I didn't get trophies. My parents didn't snow plow the path for me. So I felt... So failure, I'm not scared of failure. I don't like it, but I'm not scared of it.


Matt Birk:

So obviously, [inaudible 00:50:21]. But if I fail... Let's go worst case scenario. If I fail, I want to make sure I don't look back and say, "Well, I failed because I wasn't disciplined enough, because I didn't put the effort in." You talk about I bring up my dad. This time my dad sits me down and says, "Son, we're going to have a man-to-man talk." These are just things you pick up. I pick up over the years, a couple of things. But his thing is just best effort always, best effort always. That's it. That's all you need to do. So discipline, you're going to have pain in your life. It's either going to be the pain of discipline or the pain of regret. The pain of regret, there's some regrets I have.


Matt Birk:

I regret. I look back in college. I wish I'd studied harder in college. I looked like, "Well, I could've tried harder." Did I always put my best effort forward? No. With football did I always? Oh, yeah, because I liked football better than school. But regret's a bad feeling. It's a bad, bad feeling. So yeah, discipline. For me, it's all about... I'm always looking at ways like, how do I refine whatever process I'm doing? How do I bring more and more discipline? I always prided myself as a football player, like I'm going to be the most disciplined. I'm going to be the first one there in the mornings. I'm going to watch the most film. I'm going to do an extra workout every week. I'm going to have the best diet, all those things. It was just that was the game to me as a football player.


Matt Birk:

And for me for life, it's like, well, let me see you talk about. You want to change your life, change your habits, all about habits. So I know that I need a... I do really well with structure and discipline. If I don't have that, if I'm just making it up as I go along, I get loose real quick and then I'll have serious, serious pain of regret. But that's really counter-cultural, right?


Matthew Kelly:

Yeah.


Matt Birk:

Freedom, do whatever you want, this and that. Yeah, you can. But then that means the pain is going to come later, pain or regret.


Matthew Kelly:

So listening to you speak today, I've watched a bunch of your speeches, read some of the things you've written. There's one phrase that you use more than any other phrase. I don't know if you're aware of it. The phrase is, "Show up." You use it over and over and over again. You talked about it in the context of, "Okay. Got to keep showing up for football. Got to keep showing up for practice. Showing up five minutes early." When you're doing something like playing professional football, you have an understanding of how important that is. And you get a lot of real time data.


Matthew Kelly:

A lot of people don't know where they stand. Am I doing a good job? Am I not doing a good job? Depending on if their boss says, "Hey, you're doing a great job," or, "I'm really happy with the work you're doing," they might have to wait until their annual review to hear that my boss thinks I'm doing a great job or my boss doesn't think I'm doing a great job. But as a professional athlete, you're constantly getting feedback. At any point in the game, all you have to do is look up at the score board and you get instant feedback. You come off the field. You get your stat sheet. For the game, for the season, for your career, all of this feedback is available. You don't get that as a dad. You don't get that as a husband. You don't get that in the faith. How does that change how easy or difficult it is to keep showing up in those things?


Matt Birk:

Yeah. It's hard. People say, "What do you miss about football?" I say, "I miss that." It's just super direct. There's no gray area on how you're doing, where you stand, what we're trying to do. Yeah. It's just as direct, maybe even maybe a little too direct sometimes, but real life isn't like that. It is harder. It is harder. There's more gray area. Sometimes you don't know, but I do know that you just have to keep showing up. At the end of the day, you just want to keep moving up and to the right. So I keep getting a little bit better. And so the only way to do that is just keep showing up. Keep committed to the process, whatever the process is, whatever you think the process is for a great marriage or being a great father or great at your job. You keep looking at that and evaluating that, but it's the commitment to the process. And I think it's finding the meaning that the more immersed you become in the process, the less you worry about the results.


Matt Birk:

And to me, that's really when, as a player, like when my performance went from here to here, I wasn't worried about, am I going to be an all-star this year? Am I getting a new ... It was just more like, "How good can I snap that football today?" As goofy as that sounds, but immersing in the process and finding the purpose and passion in that, it's very freeing, because we love to worry. I love to worry about 10 years down the road. I can get, says, "I can get wrapped around the axle real quick and get all...."


Matt Birk:

If you let go of the results, and you're just immersed in that process, you'll have great results, right? But you also take away a lot of the stress and anxiety that we create for ourselves as human beings. The only thing I know to get better is just to keep showing up and working the process.


Matthew Kelly:

They talk about worry. One of the things we struggle with as human beings is uncertainty. And I think God certainly leads a lot of people to make bad decisions, because they rush towards what they consider a certain outcome, rather than sitting with the uncertainty and waiting for their pitch, so to speak. 2009 you become a free agent, there's this period of uncertainty. What's going to happen? Are you excited about being a free agent? Are you afraid of being a free agent? What are the healthy thoughts and the unhealthy thoughts that go through your mind as a free agent?


Matt Birk:

I was excited, because I'd never been a free agent before. I played 11 years, I never hit free agency. So I thought, well, this is good. I'm going to get maybe a little pay raise, and thought I'd stay with the Vikings, because that's what I knew. And so free agency started and the phone's not ringing. And I remember I'm calling my agent all of a sudden, I'm thinking, oh, maybe we'll go to a new... It's all the good stuff. Oh, big contract, maybe a Florida team, get out of winter, and get out of Minnesota. And now the phone's not ringing. So now all of a sudden it's like, wait, this isn't how this is supposed to go. And then a couple of days, and then it's Baltimore, right?


Matt Birk:

Like Baltimore? Okay. And then Baltimore backs away. So, John Harbaugh is the head coach at Baltimore Ravens. I called John Harbaugh. I said, hey. I mean, players don't do this, but if I was desperate or this was just kind of a real moment. I said, hey, you guys called and said you're interested and now you say you're not. What changed? He says, "Well, I think maybe you're just going to use us as leverage to drive the price up on the Vikings. We think you want to stay with the Vikings. You've been there your whole career, you're a hometown guy." I said, let me tell you something. I don't know John Harbaugh. I said, if I come in for a visit, I'm seriously considering your team if you want me. He says, "That's what I wanted to hear."


Matt Birk:

So it's like 5:30 at night. He says, "In the morning, I'll have our people reach out to you and set up travel arrangements." And I said, no. I said, I'm going to go online right now, I'll book the tickets. I'll be on the first flight out in the morning and I'll see you. And I did. And I don't know. I mean, I can't say why, other than maybe it was, I might've not, because I was like a blow to my ego kind of. So I fly out there and then I sit down with this guy, John Harbaugh, and I really didn't want to leave the Vikings. Things were good. And I sit across from this guy and he's on fire. I mean, he's talking about how he approaches the team, how he runs his team, his philosophy, he says, it's real simple.


Matt Birk:

He said, "We're just going to work as hard as we can work and get as good as we're going to get." And that was the first time in the NFL I'd ever heard a coach talk like that and not talk about winning. Most pregame speeches, it's like, we're going to go out there and we're going to win. Right? Well, of course, we're going to try to win. He wasn't talking about the result. He was talking about the process and he was talking about this thing. He said, "Play like a Raven." Not everybody can be a Raven. He made it like this special thing. You got to be tough. You got to be smart. You got to play like a Raven. That's the standard we hold ourselves to. They were different. Their identity was not in success. It was in how they worked, who they were.


Matt Birk:

I called my dad and I was like, Dad... I talk about faith, talk about family. I called my dad, I said, Dad, I can't believe I'm telling you this. I said, I want to play for this guy. He says, "Well, then play for him". [inaudible 01:00:43]. I said, give me the contract. Let's go. And it turned out to be an amazing experience. Not just because we won a Super Bowl, but John and I, I mean, we have amazing conversations about God, about family, about football, about just stuff, you know? And then he'd been on a football field. I mean, I don't know if I've never played for a harder coach. He was demanding. He was making sure you were going to play like a Raven, but off field it was incredible. All these experiences that went along with that for my family. But being able to spend four years with him changed my life. It changed my life.


Matthew Kelly:

What percentage of players would have made that phone call?


Matt Birk:

I don't know. I mean, like I said, I want to say it was probably more out of desperation than anything. I was kind of shocked and put off a little bit that I thought, I've got a pretty good resume, why isn't anybody calling? And that's really not necessarily my character. I think about it now, I'm probably more of the person to say, oh, they changed their mind? They're going to regret that, and kind of go off it. Yeah. So, that's not really my personality, but I don't know. Something. Right? It's the Holy Spirit, because it ended up being a great thing.


Matthew Kelly:

Okay, but you've been named Minnesota Vikings man of the year, six years in a row. Firstly, what does that feel like? But then when push comes to shove and you do actually leave, what does that feel like?


Matt Birk:

Yeah. Well, it's this. My first week with the Vikings, our head coach, Tuesdays was our off day, so he said, "Hey guys, if you're new, Tuesdays we call it community Tuesday. So get out there and do something. If you don't have anywhere to go, see our guy over here". So, I was just happy to be on the team. I couldn't believe I made the team. I was like, well, I'm not going to get cut because I didn't go do something on Tuesday. So, I went to our community relations director and he sent me to a school, and yeah, I'd done pretty well in school. And I was amazed. I showed up at this school. None of these kids knew who I was, but they knew I played for the Vikings and they were like, oh man. They were just like, this is pretty cool.


Matt Birk:

It was too easy. To me, it's like, you're playing the NFL. If all these kids look up to you, you just have to show up somewhere and you make some kid's day. Show up at a school, show up at a hospital, it's so easy for people with that kind of platform to do something good. Right? So again, I don't want to make it sound like it was easy for me. And it just felt like being raised how I was raised, if you can help somebody, you just do it. So, I get to do all this amazing work in the community that I grew up in.


Matt Birk:

Again, I don't know, man of the year, six times? I haven't been named man of the year in my house yet, but for the whole team, okay, fine. But when we left, I mean, there was a part of me that, it's not that I wasn't excited about going to Baltimore and what lied ahead, but it was like, that was a serious chapter. 11 years and all this stuff, and we never left Minnesota. You're kind of out there a little bit. You're starting to like, okay, okay God. There's an element of faith there.


Matt Birk:

I'll tell you this story. So, Mike has never won a Super Bowl, right? Long suffering Vikings fans. I leave. I'm in Baltimore, the Vikings signed Brett Favre, and all my buddies are calling me. We were missing the quarterback. It felt like we had a really good team, but it didn't have a quarterback. So now my buddies from the Vikings are calling me like during training camp like, oh my gosh, Farve is unbelievable. This guy, you should see him in the huddle. He's totally in control. He makes all the checks at the line. He's fun. His arm, it's a bazooka. You should've stayed. I said, well, if I had known we were going to sign Brett Favre maybe out of state, like that might've influenced my decision. I was making decisions with the information that I had.


Matt Birk:

And now all of a sudden, the Vikings, they're like the hottest team in the NFL, because you got Brett Favre. I remember in Baltimore, we're doing all right. We're scuffling a little bit here and there. But the Vikings, they look like they're going to go to Super Bowl. And I'm thinking to myself, oh my gosh, the year I leave, if the Vikings go, it'd be like when the Cubs won the world series. If the Vikings win the Super Bowl, and it's the year after I left, I can never go back to Minnesota again. [inaudible 01:05:39] be like, there's that guy, there's that dummy that left when they won the Super Bowl.


Matt Birk:

So I mean, in the grand scheme of things, it's very small. But that was real life. And like I said, the Baltimore thing, it didn't work out, because we won the Super Bowl. That was great. But it was getting out of the comfort zone, going on a new adventure, trusting in God. I mean all those things. That's what made it incredible, and getting to play for a strong Catholic guy. It was good.


Matthew Kelly:

So, you make this transition from Minnesota to Baltimore, obviously football is on your mind. When I talk to the wives of players and I ask them about these types of transitions, they talk about where are we going to live? Where are kids going to go to school? I've got to find a new doctor. I've got to find a new pediatrician for my kids, a new dentist for my kids. Where do we get groceries? How do you manage both of those transitions at the same time? And to be honest as a guy, are you even aware of that stuff, or in hindsight you see that that was just very difficult for your wife?


Matt Birk:

I was worried I had to learn new offense. That's where my focus was. Yeah, totally underestimated the effect that it had. Kind of figured, hey, this is what I go do. At that time you got to go figure all this stuff out. And I can remember we were a couple months in, and I can remember one day my wife started talking to me like, so how long do you think we're going to do this? She was worn out, and I was kind of like, all right, I need to be a little better at home, more supportive, shoulder more of the load. Yeah. We don't get any do overs, but looking back, certainly, as a player you're just so lost in your own world, didn't appreciate what she had to do.


Matt Birk:

Whether we moved or not, I mean, during the season, it's six months. I'd like to tell you that when I came home from practice that I was a hundred percent present at home, but no, I wasn't. I mean, I was there physically, but I wasn't really there. You do certain things, take your kids to school when you can in a snap, but your mind is other places. Looking back, it's kind of hard. There were times where I wasn't the man that I should have been. Football was too important, but it also makes me appreciate my wife even more for what she did. And did it for me, for us, and for our family.


Matthew Kelly:

So fast forward, it's Super Bowl Sunday, you wake up, you're playing in the Super Bowl.


Matt Birk:

Just another day.


Matthew Kelly:

Just another day? No special feeling? Well, firstly, how do you sleep the night before?


Matt Birk:

I trained myself to always sleep well a night before a game. Because I knew if you want to play well, you're going to have to sleep well.


Matthew Kelly:

Yeah.


Matt Birk:

But when you wake up game day, you are a strong, tight.


Matthew Kelly:

Any game day, or Super Bowl?


Matt Birk:

Any game, every game.


Matthew Kelly:

Okay.


Matt Birk:

So I remember I got to speak to the team that morning and I said, well, here's what's pretty cool, we've got a job at the end of today, because of our job, we know without a doubt our life is going to be different. We're either going to be Super Bowl champions or we're going to be Super Bowl losers. And it's going to stay with you. It's going to be one of those things for the rest of your life. I said, how cool is that? How cool is that, that we have a job where today is not just a day, it's not just another day, like this is big.


Matt Birk:

So, I was grateful for the opportunity. And then the game, I barely remember any of the game, because I wasn't thinking about it in the context of Super Bowl, hundred million people watching. I tried to make the game as small as I possibly could in my mind. So I was just saying, well, I'm just going to go out there and try to execute the fundamentals that I'd spent every day the last 15 years trying to perfect. The snap, the steps, the hand, all that stuff. That's all I was doing. I wasn't playing in the Super Bowl in my mind. I was relying on my fundamentals. Right? Versus like, well, I'm just going to go out here and make it happen. Talent me. That's not what it was.


Matthew Kelly:

Is there any moment in the game that you remember specifically?


Matt Birk:

I remember when the lights went out.


Matthew Kelly:

Yeah.


Matt Birk:

That doesn't happen every game.


Matthew Kelly:

Not every game.


Matt Birk:

Super Bowl. And I remember when the lights went out, now talking to people who were there, they thought, well maybe it was like a terrorist attack or something. They're like, what were you thinking? I was so locked in, because you want to get locked in and you'd never want to... Again, pain of discipline or the pain of regret. You never want to kind of let your guard down and then something happened because you weren't ready for it. You were too relaxed. It's like, you're a fighter, right? You don't want to just drop your hands for a second, you get punched in the face. So I remember the lights went out, I wasn't thinking about terrorists, it was just like, well, how long until they get the lights back on? When can we play again? I wasn't going to break character for one second, but I do remember that moment because that was a little odd.


Matthew Kelly:

Yeah. I mean, a single player can shift the momentum of a game.


Matt Birk:

Yeah.


Matthew Kelly:

The lights going out, was there concern, hey, we're in the zone and we don't want to slip out of the zone, and what is going on?


Matt Birk:

I can't explain it. It was 28 to six, I think. They couldn't stop us. I was thinking, we're going to blow these guys out. We're going to be partying on the sidelines in the fourth quarter. They were good at this, like, it's not supposed to be this easy. And the lights went out and there was no concern. It was like, well, when the lights come back out? We're just going to keep smashing them.


Matthew Kelly:

Wow.


Matt Birk:

But the lights came back on, it was a totally different story. It's kind of one of these like, this doesn't make any sense. What's going on? Towards the end of the game, they got to score a touchdown. They drive all the way down the field and they've got first and goal on the five yard line. They scored a touchdown. They score a touchdown, they win. And first and goal, they don't get it. Second and goal, they don't get it. Third and goal, they don't get it. Now it's fourth down. This is the ballgame. This one play is going to determine the outcome of the game. Every play leading up to that had an effect, but this is the play.


Matt Birk:

And I remember thinking to myself, there was a lot of guys praying at that moment. I remember thinking to myself, this is so messed up. I played for 15 years trying to get to this point, and this play right here is going to determine the outcome of the game. And I can't do anything about it. I got to rely on these 11 teammates. Now there's part of me is saying, I'm kind of glad I'm not out there. This is a big spot. This is a big spot. Part of me was saying, man, I'm small. I got nothing to do with this. The other part of me was saying nothing else in my... I kind of knew it was going to be my last game, nothing else in my career is going to be different, but is this one play going to determine whether I'm a success or I'm a failure?


Matt Birk:

And I was like, obviously not. Obviously not. I'm not defined by this one play. Now, are we Super Bowl champion or not, that's how other people see you, but everything else, I was like, I've got to feel the same way about my career, regardless. I kind of had to decide that at that moment for myself. And fortunately, they didn't make it and we won. And that was a great moment, but it was like a coin flip. They very easily could have scored and we could have lost.


Matthew Kelly:

Yeah.


Matt Birk:

And then, I don't know. Maybe people would think a little less of me. Maybe they wouldn't laugh as loud at my jokes. I don't know. That's the world. That's the world. There's a lot going on there in that 30 seconds on the sidelines. Your mind can work pretty fast when you're in an intense situation like that.


Matthew Kelly:

Sure. So as a man of faith playing in the Super Bowl, do you pray you win? Do you pray you play the best game of your life throughout your career, or have you sort of given yourself rules about how you would and would not involve God in football, or what's that?


Matt Birk:

Yeah. It's interesting. I mean, I guess I never out loud prayed, God, please help us win, but I probably thought it a little bit. Like if I was to be honest, like in my heart, that's what I wanted. Yeah. I remember a day I went to mass and the gospel was faith, hope, and love. And it was like, yeah, that's what's important. Yeah. It just kind of set the stage and I just prayed that God would allow me just to play the best of my ability, be a good teammate, just do the best I can.


Matt Birk:

I guess I'd like to say that I was always at peace with that, but it's hard. I mean, we're all prideful, I'd say that. Of course I always gave max effort, but sometimes my performance wasn't as good as I... It wasn't up to my standards or coaches standards, and that really bugged me. That would eat at me. I wouldn't sleep after games. It's probably not a great answer, but no, you're not praying to win. I was not praying to win, but I was hoping.


Matthew Kelly:

Is it harder to be a graceful winner or a graceful loser?


Matt Birk:

I'd say it's harder to be a graceful loser, because of this. Because being a graceful winner, not hard, it wasn't hard. Maybe it's just a point in my life, or whatever. We won the Super Bowl. And it was sort of one of those moments where it was like, this is it. I don't know. It wasn't a letdown, but I think it's kind of that moment where you reach the top of the mountain and you realize it was never about this. It was about what it took to get here. I mean, I'm really glad that I have great memories, and feel so thankful that my parents, and brothers, and friends, everybody came to it. We're on the field, the confetti fall in, and afterwards we're out in the city and we're having fun.


Matt Birk:

You don't get those memories, you don't get to do that every day. Right? But it was kind of one of those, yeah, this is cool, but I guess it really wasn't about this. I remember just thinking back to all the heartbreaking losses, and the struggle, and your fight through the injuries, and all those things, and man, that's what it's about. It's about that journey. It's about journey with these guys, guys that you really become family with. That's why it was awesome. The trophy, I mean, who won the Super Bowl three years ago?


Matthew Kelly:

No idea.


Matt Birk:

Nobody does. Right? Nobody cares.


Matthew Kelly:

Well, I'm sure somebody cares.


Matt Birk:

If you're a fan of that team, you probably care, but nobody else cares.


Matthew Kelly:

Do you miss anything about being a professional football player?


Matt Birk:

I miss the guys. I miss the locker room. We used to have a lot of fun.


Matthew Kelly:

What was it like?


Matt Birk:

It's probably not like the culture here at Dynamic Catholic.


Matthew Kelly:

No.


Matt Birk:

It's a little different. We talk a little differently. It's a bunch of alpha males who really do, for the most part, you surrender to the good of the team, and the mission, and you work extremely hard. I mean, you really do push yourself to the limits of physical and mental exhaustion. You have to. But then there's also those moments where you just get to kind of take a deep breath and relax. And I don't know. You make fun of each other, like any group, you've got some big characters, some big personalities. And I don't know. I'll probably never laugh hard as I laughed in the locker room. There were some good moments, some funny moments, but it was magnified, because what we were doing was that was so hard. I miss that. You're never going to have that again, but grateful that I had it.


Matthew Kelly:

If you could go back to draft day and do it all again, what would you do differently?


Matt Birk:

The quick easy answer would be, I would I go back to my faith sooner, because I think for those first four years, I made it pretty hard on myself. Just having everything wrapped up into my performance and being a football player. Yeah. That's a lot of stress, and angst, and probably did a lot of things to relieve the stress and angst that I'm not really proud of. It's kind of like wasted time, but yeah, I would just say, don't get so wrapped up and don't believe the hype. Don't believe the hype. Just leave all that alone. Just worry about doing the best that you can. Don't worry about how other people see or how you're portrayed, or any of that. That would have saved me, I'd probably gotten better sleep at night if I had known that sooner.


Matthew Kelly:

Did settling back into your faith make you a better football player?


Matt Birk:

It did. It did, because I wasn't living and dying with my performance every Sunday.


Matthew Kelly:

And did you know that at the time or you know that now looking back?


Matt Birk:

I knew that at the time. When I started coming back, it was gradually. I was always afraid. I was always afraid, because there's strong Christian guys all over. And I thought there was a part of me, I know I thought this, it was like these guys, they're all in on God. If I go all in on God, am I going to care less about football? And am I not going to work as hard? Am I not going to care as much?


Matt Birk:

I kind of thought the reason I'm successful is because I just care so much. I'll do anything I got to do. Right? Well, that doesn't help you perform at your best. I mean, it actually creates all this stress and anxiety, and it actually makes you worse. As I came back, I was freer. I didn't feel like there was all these burdens and expectation, like I got to do this, I got to play at this level. It was just more like I was free. Sleep better, not quite as nervous before games, and you get to enjoy it a little bit too. Yeah. It definitely, definitely made me a better player.


Matthew Kelly:

When fans are watching football on Sunday, they're watching their favorite player. They're probably not thinking to themselves, I wonder what books he's reading at the moment. I know you're a huge reader. I know you love reading. What are you reading at the moment, or what are some of your favorite books, or is there a book that's had an enormous impact on your life?


Matt Birk:

A lot of them. Yeah. I don't read any fiction. I'm all in on your books, and I'm not just saying that. I remember when a former teammate of mine sent me a copy of Rediscovering Catholicism when I was in Baltimore, and at that time I was reading fiction and business books, and it was more of like, I'd read to escape life, because football was pretty intense and I'd want to go on a journey. I remember I read that book and I was like, wow, wow. But I read a lot of mostly faith books. Live Not by Lies by Rod Dreher, Under Siege by Austin Ruse, kind of taking the current situation that we're in and the Catholic faith, and what does this all look like?


Matt Birk:

What does this all look like because I don't have as much time to read as I would like with the kids and everything. So I just, I need to make sure that what I'm reading is I'm getting the most bang for my buck.


Matthew Kelly:

Let's talk about the family a little bit. What's it like having eight kids?


Matt Birk:

I guess I really don't know any other way.


Matthew Kelly:

Did you think you'd have a big family when you were younger?


Matt Birk:

No. Wasn't really a, wasn't a dream or a thought. I thought I'd have a family, I guess, but I don't know. I guess I'm just good at procreating.


Matthew Kelly:

It's a special talent of yours.


Matt Birk:

No, my wife and I are fortunate that we just, it wasn't hard to get pregnant. We're blessed with three girls and then three boys. Named the last one Brady because we're the Brady bunch. It was kind of a nice bow on everything. We are not able to have any more children biologically, but I like symmetry. It's always kind of nice when things, and so I was like three girls, three boys, we're good, and my wife brings up adoption and I was like, we talked about it before and I was thinking to myself, well, yeah.


Matt Birk:

Okay, but I'm thinking deep down, there's no way a birth mother's going to choose us because we had all these kids already, and the first day that our profile was out there, two birth moms picked us and so we got two blessings, two adopted sons who... And we kind of felt like, I remember thinking when I had six kids, I remember feeling like I got this down. We can go out to eat. We can function normally in society. Now, it's a total mess. It's awesome. It's awesome. Every day, I feel like I'm in over my head, which I think is where God wants you to be.


Matthew Kelly:

On your Twitter profile, your tagline is live radically in the present moment.


Matt Birk:

Man.


Matthew Kelly:

How does that get challenged in that environment?


Matt Birk:

There are times when it can be hard because you got schedules and there's things going on and you got to do it, but that's the beauty of little kids. My youngest, he's almost five now and I think he's my youngest. I think he's going to be my last one, and I'm just thinking that I'm really holding onto these moments because a four year old, they don't know any other way but to live radically in the present moment. That's all they know, and so when I'm with him, if I plug in with him, I'm there too and it's beautiful.


Matt Birk:

But he'll get older and the world will get its hands on him like it does to everybody and now, we start to worry and think about other things and be other places, and so yeah. I mean that's the beauty of kids is sometimes you have no choice but to live radically in the present moment. If they really want it bad enough, that four year old wants that movie, he's going to make sure you're in the present moment with him.


Matthew Kelly:

Yes, he is.


Matt Birk:

And it's awesome. It's awesome.


Matthew Kelly:

So you've got that going on with your four year old and three teenage daughters. What's that like?


Matt Birk:

That's scarier. That's scarier. I'm not a doomsday-er, but this culture is a lot of bad stuff. There's a lot of evil. There's a lot of sin and a lot of stuff's being held up as good stuff. That's what's really kind of mind boggling. Being a kid is hard. Being a woman, a young woman in this society that's all sexed up, very hard.


Matthew Kelly:

Do you worry more about your daughters than you do your son from a cultural point of view?


Matt Birk:

I think from a cultural point of view, yes, but I also think because also didn't have any sisters, I don't know. I feel like I'm less equipped to help my daughters. My boys, I know how to deal with boys at least. The girls, I don't know exactly. I'm learning. As I'm walking with them, I'm learning. I'm trying to be, obviously, I'm their father, be their protector. I mean, how do I try to lay a foundation? I'm just really, I'm just... Yeah. I would say, I don't know what I'm doing, but I'm trying to kind of figure it out on the fly. I'm praying a lot about it. I really am because I just don't know. I feel like there's a great saying I heard from a football coach once.


Matt Birk:

He said, life will bring you to your knees so you might as well start there, and when things are going good, I'd probably pray less because things are good. I'm good. Things are great. Thanks, God, but when things go bad, that's when we drop to our knees and we're like, God, I need you. Help me. I mean, that's kind of how I feel with teenage daughters right now, and maybe I know that God exists. I know the devil exists. I know there's good and I know there's evil. I don't know. I mean, I think a lot of people are distracted. They can bury their heads in their sand or bury their heads in their iPhone and just escape the spiritual battle that's going on. I don't. I see it. I'm aware of it, and so maybe that makes me... It gives me more of an edge. I'm not always happy go lucky because of it. I feel like that there's something to be done, and so I...


Matthew Kelly:

Are your daughters like relaxed dad?


Matt Birk:

Sometimes. Sometimes. I mean, I come on a little strong for sure.


Matthew Kelly:

Really?


Matt Birk:

But at the same time, there are other times too where because there's lots of crisis in teenage daughter's worlds. There's serious crises sometimes, and when they want me to be like, why don't I care enough that when a boy breaks up with them, I'm kind of glad. I didn't really like that guy anyways. I know what goes on in the head of a teenage boy. I'm glad he's not around her, but yeah, I've been accused of not being sensitive enough at times too, but yeah. You know this. Any parent knows this. I mean, you want better for your child than you.


Matt Birk:

You want them to be better than you and you feel like you're pretty responsible for that. The way I parent, the conversations we have, the rules we have, that's going to dictate to some degree how your life turns out. Now, maybe I need to let go a little bit, but I want to make sure I'm giving her the best chance that they can, and that's probably the thing I worry about the most, the thing I worry about the most is my kids in this culture.


Matthew Kelly:

When you're in the locker room or I mean, you survive professional sports, there are a lot of players dealing with the things you're talking about. A lot of players dealing with all sorts of other crazy stuff. How important is a parent or parents to the trajectory of a person's life and how manifest was that, or how clear was that in the world of professional sports?


Matt Birk:

Well, I mean, it's everything. I mean, I shouldn't say that. It's almost everything. I mean, you see guys now that I'm done playing, you see guys who grew up with a mom and a dad. You see you guys that didn't or is it for the most part, generally speaking, there's a huge difference in how life goes and we can tie it back, the one thing. I mean, this is not profound. Most of the problems in society could be solved if men were around, if they married the mother of their children and were present and raised their kids. That's it, and we can tie in our faith. I mean, we know that. We know the beauty of the family that God created, and I mean, I guess that I always go back to sometimes when I'll go to sleep on is I know I'm not the best dad.


Matt Birk:

I know I'm screwing things up, but at least I'm here. My kids will know I'm here and I care and maybe that's the best I can hope for, or at least they'll know that, but it's massive. I mean, we have a crisis of men, of manhood, what masculinity is, and if you talk about it in the family, you talk about anything, an organization, a family, a team, if leadership loses its focus or leadership's not there to focus on evangelization or formation, then society will fill the gap. So if a dad's not there, you don't have strong leadership organization or in a school or in a team or whatever.


Matt Birk:

Then it's just well, whatever society says, and I don't want to sound flippant, but I mean, society is bonkers. Society doesn't know what it thinks. It changes every day. There's all this consumerism and materialism and sex and excess, and I don't know. There's a lot of pain. There's a lot of anger. There's a lot of sadness. I think that's what you're seeing in our world is just a lack of leadership and that's being filled by society.


Matthew Kelly:

We're all affected by that stuff. We're swimming in it every day, even when our best efforts are to work against it or to move in a different direction. When you're out speaking, you talk a lot about priorities and you talk about how God is your number one priority. When you get distracted from that or out of alignment with that, what do you do to realign your priorities?


Matt Birk:

Yeah. So right. Well, I'll give thanks to you for the four questions. Who am I? Why am I here? What matters most? What doesn't? We're all busy. Okay. Busy. What's amazing is Fulton Sheen wrote about the busy-ness of life 70 years ago, the noise. Well, we're a million times the busy-ness and the noise than we were back then so we're all super busy. So we have what's urgent and what's important and unfortunately, what's important isn't always urgent. I've got to get the kids dressed, get them to school, do this, but then I can make all these other things urgent like answer these emails, make this phone call, whatever, check my Twitter feed because I haven't checked it in six hours so I've got to check it, whatever.


Matt Birk:

Those things aren't always important. We've got to make time for the important things. A lot of times the important things aren't the quick, easy. It's slowing down, taking a pause. It's breathing. It's counter to everything, which these lives that we lead, how we've constructed them, which is go, go, go, check boxes. Activity equals productivity, all that. We've got to make time for the important things and talking about God, you got to make yourself, you got to make time for God. You got to make stuff available to God. He's not going to find you or you're not going to find him by going through all the hustle and bustle.


Matt Birk:

I heard a great one. It says, don't just do something. Sit there. My grandmother grew up on a farm. I don't think I ever once our sit down. She'd say, don't just sit there. Do something. Work, just work. Do something, but don't just do something. Sit there. I think that's what we need to do more of and that's where you can get some of the important stuff done, but unfortunately, important stuff isn't always urgent. There's too many things that don't matter are urgent. So we need to not do those things and carve out that time for the important things.


Matthew Kelly:

You've been vocal on pro-life issues for a long time now. Recently talking about human trafficking. When did you become convicted around life issues?


Matt Birk:

My wife has always volunteered at pregnancy centers, but I was playing football, real busy, real important guy, real busy, and one day, my phone rings and it's the Archbishop of Baltimore. He says, your pastor gave me your number. I want you to come speak at the Maryland March for Life. I've got this rule that when a priest asks me to do something, I say yes. Just a policy I keep. If there are any priests out there, don't. I'm not going to honor it, and so I'm like, okay. I've never spoken publicly about it. Of course I was pro-life. So I went to mass that day and it was the gospel was whatever you do the least to my brothers and sisters, you do unto me.


Matt Birk:

And I was like, oh great. I was like, God, you're speaking to me. This is going to be my talk. So I drive down to Annapolis. We have mass, the Archbishop celebrates it, same gospel, and his homily is the least of my brothers and sisters, this is the unborn, and so now I'm thinking, oh my gosh, I'm nervous already because I got to speak. What am I going to say? The Bishop just stole my stuff, and so we're walking from the cathedral to the steps to the state house and I'm walking with a woman, and I was trying to make small talk. I said, so why are you here? Why do you march? She said, well, I'm an abortion survivor.


Matt Birk:

And I said, I don't know what that means. I'm sorry. She said, when I was 18, I had an abortion. She goes, I deeply regret it. I don't want anybody else to make that same mistake, and this is how naive I was, but I thought, oh my gosh, here's a woman who's had an abortion and she's here. She says it's wrong. It's pain. It's evil. I was like, who cares what a football player has to say? Listen to her. Well, come to find out that night, there's thousands of women there who are abortion survivors and I was just onem in awe of their courage, strength.


Matt Birk:

I mean, really just like, wow, and then second, I thought, wow, this means that there's millions of women out there and men too, who were fighting this fight. It just sort of took on a new level for me. It was like, you know what? I can't just be pro-life anymore. I got to do pro-life because being pro-life doesn't really do anything. It makes me feel good, but we're not called to just... I didn't feel called to just sit on the sidelines and just be. I wanted to do so just got more involved over the years and worked with pregnancy centers and get to go around and give a lot of talks and get to meet and be inspired by a lot of the great pro-life warriors that are out there.


Matthew Kelly:

So the Ravens go to the White House as Superbowl champions to meet the president.


Matt Birk:

I live in a white house.


Matthew Kelly:

You live in a white house. Is that what you said?


Matt Birk:

Sorry, go ahead.


Matthew Kelly:

Where were you that morning? What were you thinking that day? What was on your mind?


Matt Birk:

The invitation came in the mail from the White House inviting me to and the rest of the team to the White House, and this was like two days after then President Obama was the first president to address planned parenthood and he said, God Bless planned parenthood, and of course, abortions legal and you can be, I guess, for abortion. That's legal, but you can't say, you can't invoke the name of God and say God bless planned parenthood, and so two days after that speech, the invitation shows up and I said, I don't really want to... I don't feel like I want to be there.


Matt Birk:

I wasn't trying to make a big statement. I wasn't trying to be public about it. My daughters were of age where we talked about these things. So I did want to set an example for them. So I just checked no and sent it back and didn't even think about it. So I don't know, a month or two later, I'm at the gym trying to lose weight because I'd retired and I see on the TV, the Ravens are at the White House. I was like, oh yeah. I see my other teammates. Yeah, that's good. They're having fun. That's cool, and I get in my truck and my phone is blowing up. It's all these writers from Baltimore. You're the only guy that wasn't there. What happened? Are you mad?


Matt Birk:

Are you this and that? And I would say, oh no, I was busy, and what do you mean you're busy? Too busy to go to the White House? I remember I had this moment where I just thought I don't need to run and hide from anything, and so I said here's why I didn't go, and then it was like, became 24 hour news cycle and I was really surprised what I learned. I mean, I'm doing, I'm going on Fox News and it's like, oh, that went pretty well, and I'm going on CNN and well, that didn't go so well. What I really experienced was being at the middle of this war, this spiritual war between good and evil. That's what I felt.


Matt Birk:

And so, yeah, it's just funny how God works because I still, every time I get to go to a pro-life event or speak to a group, I'm always like, I can't believe I'm doing this. I can remember how nervous I was to give a two minute speech on the steps of the Maryland state house after the Bishop stole my talk, and now I get to go all over and it's it's just incredible how God works, and I don't think there's any... I mean, let's face it. If we can't get that issue right, I mean, it's like Mother Theresa said. If abortion is not a sin, then what is? If we can't get that right, then I don't know if we're going to be able to make progress on anything else.


Matthew Kelly:

Another one of your passions is Catholic education. We've closed a Catholic school in America every four days for the last 20 years. Four years ago, you got together with a small group of people and opened a Catholic school in Minnesota. You don't hear about that happening very often these days. What drove that?


Matt Birk:

For Me, one, I think the world's changed a lot the last 20 years, but the way we educate our kids hasn't very much so I saw the education system just as a whole antiquated. I also didn't like how a lot of our Catholic schools are losing their Cathlicity, that they're not being Catholic schools really. What's the point of school? GK Chesterton, how's this supposed to work? Well, school is supposed to get kids ready for life, not just for college. College is fine for some kids. It was fine for me. We're supposed to get kids ready for life. Well, how do we equip kids for life? Well, if anybody's going to have a great life, I think they have to have foundation of faith.


Matt Birk:

Unfortunately, just Catholic schools aren't doing that enough, and so I was like, I want to school that's Catholic, that has this education model where we're getting kids ready for life, not just for college. Who's with me, and it just so happened I knew a guy who he's thinking the same thing in the same area and we just got together and said, what the heck. Let's do it, and again, God, I didn't know anything about starting a school. I had no idea what the undertaking was. We said let's do this, and we find a Catholic parish that I didn't know about in the area of town where we wanted to have a school that was originally built to have a school in the sixties that has never had one.


Matt Birk:

So they've got a bunch of classrooms and it's like, you know what? I was like, this is a good place to have a Catholic school because it's a Catholic church. So every day, our kids can walk a hundred feet to mass. It's like, if we do that every day, I know nothing about running a school. I think the rest will kind of fall into place, and it has once again. Yeah. Do I know anything about running a school or starting a school? Nope. No, but I realize it's not about me. Find good teammates, make yourself available, and if God wants it, he'll make it happen.


Matthew Kelly:

So year after year, football seasons come and go. If you could stand in every locker room this football season, speak to every team from little kids to professional athletes, but you can only tell them all one thing, what is the one thing you would tell them?


Matt Birk:

I think little kids are always thinking about, I want to play professional. I want to get to here. I want to get to here. Professional guys are thinking I want to play more. We're always thinking about the future. You only have so many moments. Football's a game where you don't get a lot of games. Baseball, you play 162 games a year. Football, you only get, if you're in high school, get 10 games. NFL, you get 16 games a year, maybe a few more, but you get very few opportunities and they're really, really special. I would just say this thing is going to be over before you know it. It's going to be over like that.


Matt Birk:

Enjoy this because that feeling... Here's what I miss. Once in a while, I have a dream about football and it's just a dream. I don't control it. I don't dream I'm sitting in front of my locker at the Ravens or the Vikings. I don't dream I'm sitting in front of my college locker. I dream I'm sitting in the locker room in high school because that's when it was the most fun. That's when it's still just about the game. It's not a business, and I'm sitting there, I'm sitting in front of my locker getting ready to leave and go out on the field. That's the dream I have, one of my football dream.


Matt Birk:

And I mean, that feeling you get on a Friday night when you run out onto that field with your teammates, the guys that you've just been grinding with for weeks and months, it's an unbelievable feeling, and if you never, you can't even describe it to someone who's never had it. So it's not like you get those feelings, I don't get those every Friday night now. I still get them if certain things happen in life and you kind of feel that high, but man, when you play football, you get that every week for three months or four months. Enjoy that. Enjoy that moment because it doesn't come around real often.


Matthew Kelly:

All men die.


Matt Birk:

All men die.


Matthew Kelly:

But not all men really live.


Matt Birk:

Yeah.


Matthew Kelly:

Thank you so much, Matt. It's great to have you with us and hope you come back again and talk to us real soon.


Matt Birk:

I would love to. Thanks for having me. Thanks for all you do.


Matthew Kelly:

Very welcome.

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