The most valuable player award went to Tom Brady, but two UPS pilots, along with other essential workers, were recognized before the game as MVPs for the country.
UPS Capt. Houston Mills and First Officer Neal Newell were highlighted during CBS’s pre-game coverage for their pivotal roles in shipping the first COVID-19 vaccine in the U.S. Capt. Mills piloted and Neal was the first officer for the Dec. 13 flight to Worldport.
The two UPSers were interviewed about their experience delivering the vaccine as part of a taped segment to honor those across the U.S. considered the real heroes during the COVID-19 crisis.
“This was an honor to speak on behalf of UPSers worldwide,” Houston said. “UPS employees have been on the front lines since the beginning and continued shipping products that are saving lives. I’m proud to be a small part of the remarkable teamwork and dedication we’ve provided to support this global effort.”
Along with honoring essential workers, the NFL used the segment to surprise several of the participants, including Neal, with a virtual interview with a player from their favorite team. Neal and his family, huge Indianapolis Colts fans, were left nearly speechless when Colts kicker Rodrigo Blankenship dropped in to thank Neal for his service during the pandemic.
“We were stunned when Rodrigo came on the screen; we were not expecting that,” Neal said. “We’re huge fans and for him to take the time to talk with us and thank all UPS employees, was very special to me and my family.”
UPSer proud father of Chiefs standout defensive player
New Orleans feeder driver Tyrone Mathieu is proud to be on the front lines of the pandemic helping deliver goods and life-saving PPE and medical supplies to customers. But he’s just as proud being the father of Tyrann Mathieu, Chiefs’ standout free safety.
Tyrann, nicknamed "the Honey Badger” and “The Landlord” for his tenacity and his ability to cause turnovers, is one of best defensive players in the NFL. During the season, Tyrann collected a personal-best six interceptions (one for a touchdown), 62 tackles (48 solo) and nine passes defensed.
Tyrone, a 29-year UPSer, said whether it’s front lines of the pandemic or the last line of defense on the gridiron, the Mathieu family is a formidable defensive force to be reckoned with.
Being an essential worker doesn’t begin and end with Tyrone in his household. Tyrone’s wife, Sheila, is a registered nurse. His eldest son is also a registered nurse in San Diego. And his daughter is in her last year of nursing school.
“There’s not a single moment when I’ve felt like I shouldn’t be out here fulfilling my role – and my wife and kids feel the same way,” Tyrone said. “We have to do our jobs for the lines behind us and protect them while being safe and protecting ourselves.”