Green Bay Backup QB Flynn Has Tyler Roots, Hopeful Family
Meet The Parents
By PHIL HICKS
When Matt Flynn and his Green Bay Packer teammates run onto the field at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington next Sunday for Super Bowl XLV, the Tylerite will not be starting at quarterback but he will be ready if called upon.
It seems Flynn has been prepared for these situations all of his life, beginning with his seventh-grade year at Hubbard Middle School.
And his parents, Alvin and Ruth Flynn, have been instrumental in Flynn's readiness at each level of competition.
The youngest of five children, Flynn has been molded by highly successful and goal-oriented parents and siblings.
His family, including Drs. Adam and Marisa Flynn of Wichita, Kan.; Bill and Danielle Fisher of Longview; Rebecca and Patrick Hannon of Arlington; and Amanda Flynn, an actress from New York; will be there on Super Sunday.
ABOVE are Alvin and Ruth Flynn, proud parents of the Robert E. Lee graduate.
"We love getting to see him enjoy the moment, whether he plays or not," Mrs. Flynn said. "When will we pass this way again? Who knows? Hopefully, he will ... maybe we will get another ring."Success Follows
Not only was Flynn an outstanding student in high school and college, but also a star quarterback with the intangibles of winner and leader packaged together on his 6-foot-2, 225-pound frame that also includes a cannon arm.
When called upon by his teams at Robert E. Lee High School, Louisiana State University and, now, with the Green Bay Packers, one of the National Football League's royal franchises, Flynn has succeeded.
The fact that Flynn is on football's biggest stage should be no surprise. He has excelled at every level.
First at Lee, where he led the Red Raiders into the playoffs his junior and senior seasons.
As a senior, Flynn showed his toughness, gutting through the final four games of the season with a broken foot. His gritty performances earned him the admiration of many as he moved Lee into the state semifinals before falling to Midland. All the while, Flynn refused to talk about the injury.
After his senior season, more than 45 colleges wanted him as quarterback. He narrowed his choices to Tennessee, Texas Tech, Texas A&M and LSU before picking the Tigers.
As a redshirt sophomore, Flynn started the Chick-fil-A Bowl when Jamarcus Russell was injured. He was named Most Valuable Player as he led the Tigers to a 40-3 win over Miami in Atlanta.
Then in his senior season he led the Tigers to the national championship. He was voted Most Valuable Player in the BCS Championship game, a 38-24 victory over Ohio State on Jan. 7, 2008 in the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans.Early Years
With the older children off at college, the Flynns devoted much of their time to Matt.
"We've spent the last 15 years following him," Mrs. Flynn said. "All the kids, his older brothers and sisters, think he's the Golden Child. He's been such a joy to watch -- he's a good guy and very humble and he knows he is blessed."
His father was a quarterback at John Tyler High School. The 1964 season the Lions were picked as one of the top teams in the state. Unfortunately, Flynn suffered a broken collarbone midway through the season. JT finished 9-1, but the Lions' only loss was to Texas High and in the 1960s, only one team was allowed to represent each district in the playoffs.
"I would have probably been cleared to play if we had made the playoffs," Flynn said. "Texarkana lost to Garland in the first round, and Garland went on to win state."
From there, Flynn went to Baylor where he played quarterback.
"At that time, Baylor was the only team in the Southwest Conference to run a pro-style passing offense," said Flynn, now an attorney in Tyler.
Flynn used what he learned at Baylor for tips for Matt as Texas high school football began to enter the spread formation era. Thus, Matt was prepared for this new style of play. All the while, Mrs. Flynn, long-time Tyler Junior College Apache Belles director who just retired in December, filmed each practice session.
The critiques helped Matt immensely.
"It started in junior high, we knew he was athletically gifted," Mrs. Flynn said. "He and Ty Wright (who is now in the Chicago Cubs organization) were always there together. When he got to high school he had to decide what he wanted to do -- football or baseball. He had some challenges there in getting the starting job, which he eventually did. And then he had success in the playoffs and people started noticing. He got recognized as college material. ...
"It was a stressful four years at LSU, because we knew he could play and he was not getting much playing time. Then his senior year he got his chance and his dream came true. Then we thought he might not get drafted, but he did. He has proven himself that he can play with the big boys and we've gone along for the ride."Fast Forward
After his senior season at LSU, Flynn was selected by the Green Bay Packers in the seventh round of the 2008 draft. But Flynn had to battle second-round and highly-touted Louisville QB Brian Brohm.
But once again, Flynn showed his mettle, beating out Brohm for a spot on the team.
Flynn, who is in his third year with the Packers, was called upon to start against the New England Patriots on Dec. 19 when starter Aaron Rodgers suffered a concussion the previous week against the Detroit Lions.
The Flynns attended the game in Foxborough, Mass., with the NBC cameras catching them during the broadcast.
"We didn't know what to expect. We were going into unforeseen territory," his father said. "The Patriots for about six weeks had been obliterating everyone and they did after we played them too. It was a special night. I don't think most people expected much. I know the coaches thought he could do what he did and his players, they all had confidence in him."
Flynn threw three touchdown passes; one each to John Kuhn, James Jones and Greg Jennings against New England. The game went down to the final play with the Packers having the ball at the New England 15-yard line. However, the Patriots halted the Packers for the 31-27 win on the bitterly cold night.
Still, Flynn showed what he could do, hitting 23 of 37 passes for 254 yards.
"I was a little bit nervous a couple of hours before the game, but once you get out there on the field and start running around on the football field, the emotions kind of go away and you just start playing football," Flynn, who has been mistaken for actor Matt Damon at times, said following the game. "(You) get in there and the competitive juices start flowing and you go out there to try and make plays. One of those things I've always had is being even keel, not getting too excited when good things happen or bad things happen."
His father added, "Matt validated himself as someone who can play at the NFL level. He showed he can play for Green Bay or anyone. He would like to get a chance to start. It was a surprise and not a surprise. He has intangible things that make him what he is ... that takes over when you are thrust into that situation. I was very proud."
Then last Sunday, the Packers defeated the Chicago Bears, 21-14, to win the NFC championship and earn a berth in Super Bowl XLV.
He gave his parents a call when boarding the bus for the airport for the return flight to Green Bay, Wis.
"It was probably the most excited I've seen him, even before they played the national championship at LSU," his father said.Future
Flynn is in the third year of his four-year rookie contract.
"Having to wait to play is not a big deal," Mrs. Flynn said. "He's learning. He didn't get to play a lot in college. Every snap he gets now is golden. ... Waiting in college has served him well. There was four years there he did exactly that. He had to prepare like he was the No. 1, but knew he probably wasn't going in."
But Flynn, 25, has the mindset of a starter.
"You've got to be a starter in your mind," his father said. "You are watching every play, making the read, seeing what Aaron is doing, what the defense is doing in a particular formation."
The whole family is going to the game next Sunday. They want Rodgers to do well, but if Matt has to step in, they are confident he will come through once again.
"Aaron is a great guy; and Matt and Aaron are really good friends," his father said. "Aaron has helped him immensely, but this is Aaron's team. Matt will play if he needs to. You want your kid to play, but you want the other kid to have success. He's got them there and we want him to have a good game.
"Matt will have his time."