Here’s a Super Bowl story that’s not about the size of Tom Brady’s balls.
Once again, the Navy reserve has allowed New England Patriots long snapper Joe Cardona to reschedule his drill weekend so that he can play in the pinnacle event of professional football.
Lt. j.g. Joseph D. Cardona graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 2015 and is assigned to a reserve unit at the Navy Operational Support Center in Newport, Rhode Island. He will play in Super Bowl 52 on Feb. 4, when his team takes on the Philadelphia Eagles.
As a reservist, Cardona’s Navy commitment includes one weekend of inactive-duty training per month, but he was able to reschedule his drill weekend for February because it conflicted with the Super Bowl, said Navy Cmdr. Doug Gabos, a spokesman for Navy Reserve Force. It was not immediately known when Cardona will drill in February.
This will be the second year in a row that Cardona has received permission to drill on a different weekend in order to play in the big game. The Navy allowed him to play in last year’s Super Bowl, in which the Patriots defeated the Atlanta Falcons.
A New England Patriots spokesman could not be reached for comment by deadline on Monday.
Prior to the 2017 game, Cardona made clear that he does not take his reserve duties lightly.
“I didn’t go to the Naval Academy expecting to play in the NFL,” Cardona told Yahoo Sports in 2017. “That wasn’t my focus.”
Despite having to drive a total of two hours to his job at the Naval Preparatory Academy in Newport and back, Cardona always managed to arrive on time for both his Navy duties and Patriots’ practices in the evening, Yahoo reported.
“This guy is like a drill sergeant,” Patriots punter Ryan Allen told the media outlet.
Sunday’s Super Bowl will be a rematch for the Patriots and Eagles, who played against each other in 2005. The game was one of five Super Bowl wins for the Patriots since 2002.
Although the Eagles have yet to win a Super Bowl, the team was the first to include a fully functioning court in its stadium to adjudicate rowdy fans. Then-Philadelphia Mayor Ed Rendell later recalled that the first defendant was so drunk that he vomited in front of the district judge.
The Eagles remain the only NFL team whose fans have pelted Santa Claus with snow balls.
Have fun, Lt. j.g. Cardona.