MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Before Stephen Gostkowski started nailing field goals for the Super-Bowl-bound New England Patriots, he was a football and baseball star at the University of Memphis.
"I personally had never watched an NFL game until my daughter said, 'Stephen's going to get drafted,'" said Gostkowski's mother-in-law Kathi Wright.
Kathi and Keith Wright's daughter Halli and Stephen fell in love as Tigers. Stephen kicked for the team until he was drafted into the NFL.
"Used to you'd look at a kicker and think well, it doesn't mean that much, but now you know how much it means to people," said Keith Wright.
Gostkowski is the team's all-time leading scorer, but a Super Bowl ring has eluded him twice.
Halli and Stephen still live in Memphis when football is over, but during the season, friends watch from right here in the Bluff City.
"It's better watching him now, because in college if he ever missed one, you had to go home and live with him and you had to hear it," recalled Gostkowski's former teammate and close friend Andrew Christie. "He was his own worst critic."
"It's been amazing just to see how well he's done," said close friend Lindsey Eddy. "He's broken so many records."
Trophies and jerseys remind this family how proud they are, and the Memphis-Tiger-turned-New-England-Patriots pride is spreading to future generations.
"We're raising a family now of Patriot fans, an 8-year-old son that loves football and watching Stephen," said close friend Roni Christie.
Gostkowski hosts camps for kids in the summer to give back. His family hopes that when he returns this year, he'll have a shiny ring on his finger.
They're hoping the third time is the charm for number 3.
"I'll be sad when it's over," admitted Kathi Wright. "It's that much fun. It's very nerve-racking, and half the time I watch like that, but it's so much fun."