Katy Magazine, Katy, Texas
October 20, 2015
Catching up with the NFL quarterback and former Katy Tiger to find out how he makes it work as a first-time dad, devoted husband, and fearless leader of the Cincinnati Bengals. “Growing up, I went to Texans games at Reliant Stadium, and I played there as a Katy Tiger and as quarterback for TCU; but the coolest feeling ever was playing at NRG (formerly Reliant Stadium) for the Bengals and getting the win on my dad’s birthday.”
During the last interview with Andy Dalton, he was a young athlete from Katy on the brink of a promising future in professional football. Now, he is a seasoned pro quarterback, family man, and philanthropist ready to reflect on the last four years of life, love, and football.
Straight out of college at Texas Christian University, Dalton was thrown into a scenario he’d never faced, in the form of the 2011 NFL lockout. “It was rough, but I didn’t really know what I was missing. We just forged ahead and did the best we could with the resources we had to prepare for the upcoming season,” he says. In his rookie year, Dalton led the Bengals to a 9-7 season, their best outing since 2009, and got them a wild card spot in the 2011 to 2012 NFL playoffs. After his time as a Katy Tiger, Dalton went on to secure two Sugar Bowl victories for the TCU Horned Frogs in 2005 and 2009, and a Rose Bowl championship as a senior in 2011. As an NFL quarterback, he led Cincinnati to four playoff appearances in four seasons.
Still, even among the excitement of playing for the big leagues, there have been a few personal thrills that he will never forget. “Growing up, I went to Texans games at Reliant Stadium, and I played there as a Katy Tiger and as quarterback for TCU; but the coolest feeling ever was playing at NRG (formerly Reliant Stadium) for the Bengals and getting the win on my dad’s birthday.” Below: Dalton with his wife Jordan and son Noah
Family Over Everything
Dalton credits his firm family foundation for his success in life. He recalls the sacrifices made on the part of others that helped him get to where he is. “I was able to get a chance to play in college because I had talent but also because my parents sacrificed their time to take me to 15 football camps to get ready for college. My mom made my scouting tapes,” he says. Now, when he comes home, Dalton gets to experience his entire extended family – cousins, siblings, aunts, and uncles – showing enthusiasm and getting involved, something he says has been amazing to witness.
With their son Noah to care for, family time is now more important than ever, and he and his wife Jordan enjoy the hours they get to spend together. “Jordan has been so amazing and supportive. I feel blessed to have her on this journey with me.”
During the off season, the Daltons do the best they can to cherish time with friends and family. “We don’t get to see them as much as we like, but we make it work. We’ll fly them out for games or visit during the off season. But without a doubt, every time I come home to Katy, I have to go to Los Cucos at least once,” he says.
Culture of Winning
Forever a Katy Tigers fan, Dalton admits to watching the football games from his iPad while he’s on the road. When asked what he thinks is the secret ingredient behind the athletes that emerge from Katy’s football program, he says, “Gary Joseph and the coaching staff get guys to buy in to the belief that you’re going to win a championship. The way they run the program just makes it fun to be there. The success of the program, winning so many state championships, the whole culture is winning. The hard work they put into it carries over into life, and the kids carry that with them later on.” It’s that mindset that Dalton carried with him throughout his college career and into the NFL. It is part of the reason he has been such a success, both on and off the field. Dalton advises young athletes pursuing a professional career to put their education at the forefront. “I think that it’s important to complete your education no matter what. In college and in sports, you have to weigh where you’re at and where you’re going to end up. Education is extremely important, and the NFL has so many programs like tuition reimbursement that make it possible to get your degree. There are people here on staff saying, ‘Hey, we want you to have an education.’ The NFL has always been very supportive of that,” says Dalton.
Written by Ashley Lancaster | Select photography courtesy of the Cincinnati Bengals