Jake's been playing football since he could walk, going toe-to-toe with his older brother, Joe, in his parents’ basement. His father was a linebacker at the University of Nebraska, and his grandfather, the winningest coach in Badger football history and member of the College Football Hall of Fame.
Yet despite his athletic success and family legacy, you’ll never meet a more humble person. In short: he’s the real deal.
This summer, we caught up with Jake at our Gridiron National Championship in Dallas. We talk Cowboys football, growing up in sports, and his advice for the next generation. Oh, and his superhero alter ego on the field 🦸. Yeah, it's a good one.
Justine Ward (Gridiron): We are here with Dallas Cowboys tight end, Jake Ferguson. Jake, great to have you with us.
Jake Ferguson (Dallas Cowboys): Glad to be here. Glad to watch some football.
Justine Ward (Gridiron): So thinking about your own career, let's go back to when you were the age of some of these kids. What did youth sports mean to you?
Jake Ferguson (Dallas Cowboys): I mean, really, it meant everything. It was sort of my outlet, something to just kind of fall in love with at a young age and kind of build that up for me. So I was able to just kind of not as much be a serious football player, but have fun as a young kid.
Justine Ward (Gridiron): All the kids here, there was a number of them who wanted to watch your interview and want to be like you. What would you tell young kids?
Jake Ferguson (Dallas Cowboys): I'd just say keep being them. Be you. Be your own person. You're out here at a young age playing football. It means you love it. Just have fun playing.
Flag Football Player: What superhero would you be on the field?
Jake Ferguson (Dallas Cowboys): I would be Iron Man because I'm just a regular guy, but I have a lot of tools that help me out.
Justine Ward (Gridiron): What’s one piece of advice you've gotten from a coach or teammate that you take with you.
Jake Ferguson (Dallas Cowboys): Remember why you play the game. I'm out here, I'm tired, my knees hurt or something. I always remember back playing as a little kid and hey, I love this. Just because it's something keeps me… It's like I said, it's my outlet. I mean, anything that's going on, this is something that kind of clears my head. I mean, you meet so many people, and I've met almost all my best friends through football.
Justine Ward (Gridiron): What moment are you most proud of?
Jake Ferguson (Dallas Cowboys): I think doing it, just doing the whole thing, playing at Wisconsin where a lot of my family had ties and then kind of making it to the NFL. But at the same time, there's so much more I want to do on the field and off the field.
Jake Ferguson (Dallas Cowboys): Excited to go play some games and win some. There’s a lot I want to do. There's a lot we want to do and I kind of want to keep that under wraps and keep people guessing.
Justine Ward (Gridiron): Well, Jake, thanks so much. We really appreciate it.
Jake Ferguson (Dallas Cowboys): Yeah, of course. Thanks for having me.
Flag Football Player: What is your favorite song to get pumped up for Game Day?
Jake Ferguson (Dallas Cowboys): That's easy. Fergalicious because my last name is Ferguson, so that's my karaoke song. That's my go-to song. My pre-game song.
Justine Ward (Gridiron): Can we get a sample?
Jake Ferguson (Dallas Cowboys): Oh. You can't squeeze me. You can't tease me.
Flag Football Player: What is your pre-game snack?
Jake Ferguson (Dallas Cowboys): Oh my pre-game snack. It used to be hard boiled eggs, which is kind of funky. But then my teammates didn't like the way my breath smelled, so then I had to switch to Uncrustables and I eat about three of those.
Flag Football Player: What is your Starbucks order?
Jake Ferguson (Dallas Cowboys): My Starbucks order. I usually just get an iced black coffee, but if I'm feeling risky enough, I'll get that pink drink with the strawberries in it.
[ laughter ]