NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Deep down in the heart of the Who Dat Nation, one Algiers neighborhood bleeds Atlanta red and black.
It sounds blasphemous to say but becomes much more understandable when you consider who they're pulling for. Linebacker Deion Jones is a native son. Raised by Cal and Tahonas Jones, Deion went from Jesuit to LSU to Atlanta to the Super Bowl in his rookie season.
"I'm excited about him going to the Super Bowl," Tahonas said. "His dream come true since he was a little boy. He used to be in his bed throwing the football up int he air."*
His on-field impact has been immediate: 108 tackles and three interceptions with two returned for touchdowns.
The most memorable? That's easy. In his first game ever in the Superdome, Deion picked off one his childhood heroes, Drew Brees, and returned it 90 yards to secure a Falcons win in front of his hometown crowd.
"I was excited that he had a chance to play in the Superdome and then when he made the intercept I was..." Tahonas said as she laughed through the memory.
Deion's impact on his community may be even greater. When you ask around, you'd be hard pressed to find anyone have a bad word to say about 'Debo.'
Being such a well-rounded person, not just a football player, makes mom and dad proud.
"We can only show, try to show him how he is supposed to be," Cal said. "But when you see all the other people out in the community just all over pulling behind him? Then
that's a great thing. It makes you feel good as a father."
On Sunday, the biggest game of their lives, the Jones family will all be in Houston and try to remain calm. Tahonas will share her pre-game ritual with her son and hope for the best.
"Before the game I text him the same thing I tell him since he was a kid: take care of yourself, have fun and enjoy your game. That's been working ever since, and I just love it."
"We are even keel right now; we're excited," Cal explained. "But we are going there for business and win a Super Bowl. And bring a ring home."