It's not your typical Friday Night Lights success story. When defensive end John-Franklin Myers graduated from Greenville High School, he and his teammates had never won a single game. That's right: the Lions had a 0-10 record for three years straight. Lots of athletes would have hung up their cleats.
But John kept suiting up and showing up. He went on to play college football, and Sunday, he will be playing defensive end for the Los Angeles Rams in the Super Bowl.
"This is just something I’ve been waiting for my whole life. The chance to do it, especially as a rookie, makes it all the more special," he said.
He was voted Rookie of the Year by his teammates, something he humbly said "just means a lot to me."
"I remember as a little kid looking forward to the varsity football games and saying, 'That’s going to be me soon.' As a little kid, you really look up to those guys on the varsity team. Now as a player, it’s reversed. I've got little kids looking up to me. Having the chance to interact with them is something I really enjoy, and I try to give back as much as possible," John said.
He added that he wouldn't be where he is today without the support and training from GHS Head Football Coach and Athletic Director Darren Duke.
"I’ve got some love for Coach Duke. He’s one of the best coaches I’ve had," John said. "He showed me everything and helped me make my way to college (at Stephen F. Austin State University,). Coach Duke taught me how to work hard and he took care of me outside of football – he and some of the other coaches really helped take care of me as a person."
The feeling is mutual.
"I'm so proud of John. His is a great story of perseverance," Duke said. "If you follow his career, this is what working hard looks like. He played hard for Greenville High School, and even though we weren't winning, he always showed up, played his hardest and did his best. And he did the same thing at Stephen F. Austin University and now, he does the same thing for the Rams. And he's going to the Super Bowl because of his work ethic and his character, in addition to his athletic ability."
Greenville is abuzz with pride.
Yesterday was declared Franklin Friday, and the halls of every campus in Greenville ISD were flooded with Rams jerseys, T-shirts and lots of blue and gold.
Greenville High School Heath Jarvis, who had the idea for Franklin Friday, says he can't wait to watch the game.
“I am so excited to see John not only getting the opportunity to play in the NFL, but to also play in a Super Bowl. It will be fun watching the first GHS graduate to play in the Super Bowl," Jarvis said. "This will be a special time for him and his fans from Greenville."
It isn't every day you see so many Dallas Cowboys fans yelling for the Rams, but this time, it's the perfect exception.