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Even in the middle of July when football is on hiatus, the Miami Dolphins continue to make an impact in their community. Since the birth of the organization, a steady constant has been the unbelievable outreach and integration of fans into the world of Dolphins football.
While not tackling anyone at the moment, second-year linebacker Jaelan Phillips has still been making his presence felt for Miami. To preface a truly great surprise set-up, the Dolphins franchise has been among sports’ best in show in philanthropy, community outreach, hospitality and fan service.
While technically not “on-call,” as there’s still time for the former Miami Hurricane to enjoy some off-time before training camp starts, Phillips was at Hard Rock Stadium with the marketing team at Fathead, promoting their popular wall-hangings seen in fan caves and rooms all over the world.
Hold that thought.
Backtracking a bit, when die-hard Dolphins dad Chaz Blackwell wanted to get his son Charlie a “perfect” ninth birthday gift, the plan was easy. Blackwell turned his son’s bedroom into one of the more impressive “kid-caves” around, and at the forefront was a massive Fathead of his favorite player, and hero…Jaelan Phillips.
Thank you for all the kind words on little man’s new FIN DEN! In the excitement and thrill of uploading the video, forgot one more item was in transit…the custom @JJPhillips15 pillow!! LOL. Room is COMPLETE. pic.twitter.com/YLGRhiINwy
— DolphinDad (@Chazodone) April 18, 2022
Charlie celebrated his birthday back in March, and Chaz reached the goal line of his project in the spring after months of painting, leveling and wall-hangings of Dolphins memorabilia, including a famous “turnover chain” from Phillips’ Hurricane days.
Following the successful touchdown of a gift from father to son, like football, the scoring wasn’t over there. Chaz video recorded his efforts and gave Dolphins social media a tour of his creation and handed the virtual ball off to a fellow Fin fan, Waldo Waldie, host of “The Regulators Podcast.”
Waldie used his editing skills to mix HGTV, ESPN and MTV all in one and created a “Cribs”-style tour of young Blackwell’s shrine of Dolphins football. Charlie, who plays linebacker in his Florida hometown flag football league, may just be Phillips’ biggest fan. The Blackwells, weeks after the room’s completion, needed to renew their Dolphins season tickets and this is where the fun comes in.
Spring break project is finally compete…Welcome to the “Fin Den”…Hope you love it little man! First season as a ticket holder in the books and celebrated!! Thank you to @Fathead on making the @JJPhillips15 dream a reality. FINS UP AND LET’S GO!!! #TheFinDen #YouthFanoftheYear pic.twitter.com/10nA2b41ZS
— DolphinDad (@Chazodone) April 15, 2022
While a plan was afoot, Charlie had no idea a trip to Hard Rock Stadium to check out seats would be the icing on the cake to an unforgettable birthday gift.
Not only did the Blackwells get a chance to walk through the “hallowed grounds” of the Dolphins’ offices, as Chaz described it, but a surprise was also waiting for Charlie on the practice field.
At first glance, Charlie walked through the doors onto the field and saw some people gathered around a guy with a Fathead headshot of Phillips held up over his face.
As one young linebacker approached the guy holding up the Phillips Fathead, it was revealed that it was in fact the Dolphins linebacker himself, appearing behind his own likeness. And, in typical Dolphins fashion, a fan’s day (and perhaps year) was made in a memory that will last a lifetime.
— Fathead (@Fathead) July 16, 2022
Phillips and the Blackwells spoke and shared stories of football and family, and the joy was written all over both linebackers’ faces. It’s one thing for a fan to meet a hero, but what about when a player realizes he’s just that?
Phillips had a chance to be on the other side of the fandom, as he states in a video that has circulated on Instagram. Being from California, Phillips was a big fan of San Diego Chargers running back, LaDainian Tomlinson, and of course, had a Fathead of his favorite player.
“When I was about 8 or 9 years old, literally the same age as Charlie, I had a LaDainian Tomlinson Fathead in my room,” he proudly revealed. “To come full circle like this, and to see a Fathead of myself; it’s one of the most surreal moments.”
Phillips is certainly enjoying what he and Fathead are doing to bridge fans to players.
“Fathead is awesome, and just the ability for the fans to, you know, be able to connect with the players and have some memorabilia is really great,” he said.
In what has become a welcomed joy of social media positivity, Fathead, Phillips and the Dolphins have done an amazing deed and have even created a must-see video documenting this outstanding effort by all involved.
When it comes to effort, Phillips consistently is showing he’ll go above and beyond both on the field and off of it, as he looks to follow up his rookie season of 8.5 sacks with a successful sophomore campaign. The first-round pick finished 2021 with 42 total tackles and had a run of five straight games in which he recorded at least a half of a sack. Included in that stretch was a three-sack performance against the Carolina Panthers in Week 12.
Off the field, the impact of what Fathead, Phillips and the Dolphins put together for Chaz and Charlie will be everlasting, as the fun didn’t end there. Phillips of course put pen to the player, as he signed the Fathead that he held up to surprise Charlie. There’s an old saying to never meet your heroes. Don’t tell that to the Blackwells. Football is a game, that at times, can have an impact without games and without pads and helmets.
An elated dad shared his joy following the meeting.
“As a parent, when your child calls a person their ‘hero,’ you immediately think about the influence that person has on your child’s choices,” he said.
It seems Charlie has a good eye for his role models, as Phillips, both on and off the field, seems to be a hit for the Dolphins, and he hit this one out of the park.
Chaz summed up the experience with gratitude and praise for those involved saying, “Thank you so much to Jaelan, the Miami Dolphins and Fathead for this experience that we will treasure forever.”
Shoutout Jaelan Phillips. This man is doing great work #FinsUp
(via. Phillips' IG story) pic.twitter.com/Snlusgckxl
— Mike Masala (@Mike_Masala) July 17, 2022