Super Bowl 2013 chance for family reunion
Call it Blind Side, the New Orleans Super Bowl 2013 edition. When Baltimore arrives in town for Super Bowl XLVII, Ravens right tackle Michael Oher will be one of the many storylines poured over by the media looking for anything to write about.
Oher and his adoptive family, the Tuohys, was the subject of the 2009 hit movie "The Blind Side," for which actress Sandra Bullock, who owns a house in New Orleans, won an Oscar.
The movie told the story of how the Tuohys took in the teenage Oher, living on the streets of Memphis at the time, nurtured him and, eventually, adopted him. The movie also explored Oher’s considerable football talent and the recruiting race that ensued his senior season.
He chose Ole Miss in 2005, was an All-American with the Rebels in 2008 then drafted in the first round by the Ravens in 2009.
Expect the Tuohys – father and husband Sean, wife and mother Leigh Anne (portrayed in the movie by Bullock), daughter Collins and son S.J., all who were featured in the movie - to be here for the Super Bowl, said Sean. He said they’ll see Michael some during the week but will try to keep a low profile.
“I think we’ll trickle in at all different times,’’ Sean said. “S.J.’s in college (at Loyola-Maryland) and he’ll sneak down for a day or two.
“I think the most important thing you can do is stay out of their way. I’m sure he’ll (Oher) forget something and we’ll have to go get it for him. That always seems to be the case. But they’re going to be pretty consumed. But he calls and needs something, we’ll be right next door.’’
Sean said the family will be learning as they go as this is Oher’s first time in the Super Bowl.
For the Tuohy family, this will also be a homecoming. New Orleans is where Sean Tuohy grew up. He is a 1978 graduate of the Isidore Newman School where he played basketball and baseball. His father, Skeets, coached him his freshman year before he suffered a serious stroke. After that, he was coached in basketball and baseball by now-athletic director Billy Fitzgerald.
Sean’s sister Sara and brother Edward live in New Orleans. Edward coaches basketball, football and volleyball at Ben Franklin.
“My little brother Seamus lives in Boston,’’ said Sean, 53. “I think he’s mad at me because we beat the Patriots so I don’t think he’s coming.’’
Sean, who was portrayed by country singer Tim McGraw (he’ll also be in New Orleans next week) in the movie, said he’s not sure he’ll see former Newman schoolmate Michael Lewis, also from New Orleans, this trip either. Lewis, a best selling non-fiction author and financial journalist, wrote the book "The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game." It was from part of that book on which the movie, "The Blind Side," was based.
Lewis also wrote "Coach: Lessons on the Game of Life," which is about Fitzgerald.
“I don’t think he’s coming,’’ Sean said. “He told me he’s working on some research. I probably shouldn’t talk to him too much. He probably tells me too many secrets that I’d easily give away if someone forced me.’’
Sean said it’s amazing how quickly his sons and daughter have grown up. Collins, 26 and the same age as Oher, went to Ole Miss and is now a motivational speaker as well as a small business owner.
S.J. (short for Sean Tuohy Jr.), the wise-cracking 8-year-old in the movie, is now a college freshman playing basketball at Loyola-Maryland and lives just five minutes from Oher.
“They bug each other,’’ Sean said. “During the season, Michael is real busy. They’ll sneak off every once and a while. I find out every once and while they’ve gone out, kind scares you a little bit.
“It’s been nice having both of them there for us. I know for Michael it’s nice having S.J. there. I know for S.J. it’s nice having Michael there. The people of Baltimore have adopted both of them. The city has been good to them.’’
Oher said last summer that it was good to have S.J. in the same town.
“We’ve always been close, I always looked at him as a little brother, we always played games together, always been a sharp kid and he’s turned into a great guy,’’ Oher said in an interview with The Baltimore Sun last summer.
Sean, who, after Newman, went on to become the all-time assists leader at Ole Miss during his four-year basketball career (1979-82), said three years after the movie made his family famous he doesn’t think it’s changed them.
“It’s been years now,’’ said Tuohy, who heads RGT Management, which owns 70 fast food restaurants in the Memphis area. He also is the color analyst for the Memphis Grizzlies television broadcasts. “We’re either used to it or it’s not that big a deal. Everybody has been so nice to us. I’m sure it’s changed our lives in some aspects. It’s opened our eyes to things we never noticed before. But I can’t think of any negative thing.’’
One positive thing that has come from it is the family’s Making It Happen Foundation, Tuohy said. He said it’s a grass-roots effort to help primarily underprivileged children.
“We try to find examples of Michael all over the country,’’ Sean said. “That’s what we target. We like focusing on young kids. It’s nothing that is preplanned. None of this was preplanned. It was God driven and it happened.
“(The foundation) tends to be relatively small level. But we always try to do something that makes a difference and it usually involves children. It’s been fun. It was something that was unanticipated.’’
Kind of like what happened in "The Blind Side."
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