MINNEAPOLIS, MN (WAVY) – Even if you attended every Old Dominion football game since the program restarted in 2009, you may have never noticed Rick Lovato.
As the Monarchs’ starting long snapper from 2011 to 2014, Lovato never showed up on the stat sheet and never made the highlight reels. But he never missed a game, and never missed a start- 50 consecutive.
On Sunday, he’ll be the first Monarch ever to start on sports’ biggest stage, the Super Bowl. “Ever since my freshman year, starting as a true freshman at Old Dominion, I never knew that it was going to take me to this point,” said Lovato, the starting long snapper for the Philadelphia Eagles.
It’s been a long road for Lovato, who went undrafted out of ODU in 2015. Initially signed by the Chicago Bears, he was released, and spent short stints with the Miami Dolphins and Washington Redskins. Not long after, Lovato returned home to New Jersey, and began working at a sub shop with his father.
“It just reminded me every day that I’m better than this,” said Lovato. “I set out for more to do in my life than to just work at a sub shop.”
His patience paid off, as the Green Bay Packers gave him the opportunity he was hoping for. Though things didn’t work out in Green Bay, the Eagles signed him soon after, and the rest is history.
On Sunday, he can make history. “Being able to bring (the Lombardi Trophy) home to Philadelphia, Monarch Nation, and Middletown, New Jersey would be incredible,” he said.