Gabe Norwood hopes brother Jordan will increase NFL popularity in Philippines
MANILA, Philippines – Jordan Norwood, the brother of Rain or Shine Elasto Painters and Gilas Pilipinas forward Gabe Norwood, is going to play in his first ever NFL Super Bowl next Monday, February 8, when the Denver Broncos face the Carolina Panthers at the Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California.
The trip to Super Bowl 50 must be sweet for Jordan, who after going unselected in the 2009 NFL Draft has gone through many trials and tribulations before landing a role with the AFC Champion Broncos.
Jordan, 29, was cut by the Cleveland Browns and Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2013 and tore his ACL during a practice game for Denver in 2014.
This NFL season, the Filipino-American athlete has 25 catches and 233 total yards, including one 34-yard reception, per ESPN. His productive season has helped draw attention even in the Philippines.
“It’s amazing what a Super Bowl would do,” his brother, Gabe, said during the Spin Sportsman of the Year night on Saturday, January 30, at The Marriott.
“He’s been in the league for 6, almost 7 years, but naturally, the Super Bowl shines light on the characters playing in it. It’s a great opportunity for him. He’s put his heart and soul into the sport of football.”
The Broncos and Panthers were the top seeds in their respective conferences and took care of business at home during their championship games against the New England Patriots (defending champions) and Arizona Cardinals, respectively.
Both teams rank atop the NFL’s defensive numbers and are led by superb quarterbacks in Peyton Manning (a future Hall-of-Famer) and Cam Newton (likely the league’s MVP).
The NFL has gained popularity in the Philippines over the past few years, but is clearly still far away from reaching the level of attention obtained by other leagues like the NBA and even English Premier League football.
Gabe, 30, hopes his brother being on the biggest stage of American football will change that.
“In terms of interest and things like that, I hope so,” he said. “That’d be a great avenue for the country to really open its eyes to the game.
“Naturally it’s a pretty expensive sport in terms of equipment and everything like that, but I think the physicality, the speed, and strategy is something that could appeal to the whole country,” said the Rain or Shine veteran, who also added:
“Hopefully this might be a stepping stone to open those doors.”
Norwood actually plans on flying out to Sta. Clara to watch his brother in action.
With the game taking place this weekend, that means Norwood will miss a few practices with the Elasto Painters ahead of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup opening on February 10.
Fortunately for the Norwood family, Gabe’s head coach, Yeng Guiao, understands the situation.
“Coach Yeng kinda understood the gravity of the situation and was very supportive,” Gabe said.
“Ever since he found out my brother’s in the NFL, he’s been very supportive. I’m just happy I’m finally going to get there and watch him play. I’m excited.” – Rappler.com