CHICAGO — Mark Jacobs thinks the toughness he learned growing up in Chicago and playing football at Lane Tech has rubbed off on his son, Ben, a backup linebacker and special teams player for the Super Bowl-bound Carolina Panthers.
"His family and I believe we gave him the tools to build his work ethic, and he's taken it to a whole new level," said Mark Jacobs, a Lakeview native who lived in Logan Square while he attended Lane Tech.
Mark and about 10 of his family members will attend Sunday's Super Bowl 50. They plan to eat dinner with Ben after the game.
Ben is in his fourth season in the NFL, spent mostly with the Panthers, who face the Broncos on Sunday. He's become a cult hero of sorts lately for his "Creedbombing," where he yells out a lyric from the band Creed when none of his teammates are expecting it.
“The key is you’ve got to make really deep, direct eye contact,” Ben Jacobs told the Charlotte Observer last month. “So if you Creedbomb someone you’ve got to look them directly in the eye.”
"It's taken on a life of its own," Mark Jacobs said. "It's just turned into a thing."
Mark Jacobs was one of seven siblings raised by his parents: Jake, a CTA bus driver, and Noochie, a stay-at-home mom. A graduate of Brentano Elementary, Jacobs said his father insisted he go to Lane Tech instead of a neighborhood high school. At Lane, Jacobs joined the football team, where he played defensive line. He also made several great friends whom he still visits during his yearly returns to Chicago.
"We have a tight-knit group of alumni," Jacobs said.
After college, Jacobs eventually moved to Las Vegas. He recently retired as the Chief Marshall in the Las Vegas suburb Henderson, where he enforced sentencing orders of the Henderson Municipal Court. Jacobs has six children, including Ben, who was a standout at Silverado High School and Fresno State University. On his college bio, Ben said he "most admires his father and mother because of their ability to raise a whole family successfully."
Mark Jacobs said watching his son on TV every NFL Sunday has been "incredible."
Seeing football's ultimate game in person will be even more special, he said.
"He's worked real hard to get where he's at," he said. "He's paid the price, and he's reaping the benefits of his hard work. We're excited for him."
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