When you’re a kid, going to visit a family member at their job and watching them work is always fun, but it’s a little more exciting when your uncle is an NFL coach.
Lackawanna Trail’s Shannon and Shawn Jones, the niece and nephew of Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Munchak, made the trip to Pittsburgh’s Heinz Field to watch the Titans and Steelers game on Sunday, Sept. 8.
“It’s really exciting having an uncle who’s a (NFL) coach, I can’t even put it in words,” said Shawn.
“We’re making ‘Munchak Nation’ pins that us and all our cousins are going to wear. We’re really excited to support him,” said Shannon.
Shannon, Shawn, and their parents, Jill and Tim, of Dalton, made the trip to root Jill’s brother, Munchak on, along with close to 100 family members and friends, probably giving Munchak the largest cheering section a visiting coach or team member has ever had at a Steelers game.
“I think we cheered louder than they did,” Shawn said of his family the last time they saw the Titans play in Pittsburgh two years ago.
The Titans lost that game, and as a result Shawn said the famously loyal Steelers’ fans let the Jones’ cheer for their relative in peace.
The end result of the game was different this trip. Although they fell a little short of the 95-0 victory Shawn predicted before the game, the Titans did end the afternoon with a victory, defeating the Steelers 16-9, but the family was pleasantly surprised to see the Pittsburgh fans were gracious losers.
“They were nice to us,” said Shannon. “They said if we were Eagles fans it (would have been different). But, they kept the making fun of us to a minimum.”
Shannon said that she sees the win as a sign of things to come, and is predicting the Titans will have a good season this year.
She will have a better idea if her prediction is correct in two weeks, when her family travels to Nashville to see the Titans play at home against the San Diego Chargers. Shawn and Shannon said they are excited to visit their uncle at work again, and think he’s going to enjoy seeing a few familiar faces in the stands.
“I think he loved it. I think he likes having us there,” said Shannon.
Shannon is a senior at Lackawanna Trail High School and manager of the football team. Shawn is an eighth grader at Lackawanna Trail High School and a right guard on the freshmen football team.