Padua Franciscan High School is celebrating the Super Bowl this week, thanks to a special visit from Tom Andrews ’80. The Parma native returned to his alma mater to personally deliver a commemorative golden football, in honor of Super Bowl 50.
The NFL launched the Super Bowl High School Honor Roll initiative recognizing schools that contributed to Super Bowl history and positively impacted the game of football. Padua is just one of the 2,000 high schools around the country, and around the world, to have a player on an active Super Bowl roster.
After playing for the Padua Bruins and the University of Louisville, Andrews went on to play three seasons in the NFL, including one with the 1985 Super Bowl XX champion Chicago Bears.
He and his teammates each received a Super Bowl ring and an individual Lombardi Trophy. The offensive lineman brought his trophy all the way from Louisville, Kentucky to Parma in a reusable grocery bag. Andrews surprised students, faculty and staff during an afternoon assembly, by presenting Padua with his Lombardi Trophy. “This trophy has traveled all over the world with me. I can’t think of any place I’d rather have it rest,” Andrews said.
Andrews’ trip to his hometown was a reminder of the good old days, and just how important high school football was to his own development. He shared that message with the student body. “I love this high school. It’s given me a lot of opportunities. This school will provide you everything you need. The Padua family took care of me, adopted me, and made sure I wasn’t going to fail,” said Andrews.
Padua was so gracious the NFL legend took time out of his busy schedule to hand-deliver the mementos. “To have something like this (trophy) come back to us is truly meaningful,” said Principal David Stec ’86. “When one family member is honored, we’re all honored.”
Andrews is now the senior director of development for Papa John’s. He has been with the pizza chain for nearly two decades, and helped the company grow from modest beginnings to unbelievable heights. While he resides in Louisville, Kentucky, Andrews travels often, introducing the brand domestically and internationally.