Yanda more than a football player
Marshal John Yanda won Super Bowl XLVII, was a Super Bowl captain, earned seven Pro Bowls, won the Bruce Matthews Award for the NFL No. 1 offensive lineman and 11 other NFL awards so far.
Mashal was a 12-year-old boy 22 years ago when I was his first offensive line coach in seventh-grade football. He is: an Iowa farm boy, blue-collar, old-school, disciplined, hard-working, respectful, a great teammate and a great family man.
I have talked to Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz, voice of the Hawkeyes Gary Dolphin, a director of the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, Hawkeye fans at Kinnick Stadium and Baltimore Ravens fans at Soldier Field in Chicago about Marshal. I believe Iowa Hawkeyes strength and conditioning coach Chris Doyle said it best, “There’s not a more respected player in the National Football League than Marshal.”
Last year, when my 13-year-old son Skylar broke his collar bone, I was really worried. The first person I contacted after I left the emergency room was Marshal, who himself has had seven surgeries. He was at the University of Iowa Football Complex, it was 9 p.m. and he was working out. I asked him to send a text to Skylar to cheer him up. He did this within minutes. Then, a few minutes later, he sent a video to Skylar. He still had his sweatpants on and a towel on his shoulder. Marshal’s contact to Skylar really helped him out.
To me, Marshal is much more than a football player. He has been a great friend, someone I can really count on and a great role model to my three sons and kids across the country. He even visited with my St. Pat students in May of 2018.
Anamosa’s three Blue Raider Hawkeyes are: Marshal, Ralph Beardsley and Don Norton. I have gotten to know their families over the years: Marshal’s dad, John, Ralph’s sons, Kim and Brad, and Don’s brothers Steve and Denny (The Norton Boys). They have been very supportive in helping educate these legends to all of us.