Sports Desk: Life After Football

Matt Stinchcomb has made a name for himself on and off the field in the 20 years since he was a lineman at the University of Georgia.

The money a football player can earn in the National Football League (NFL) today is head turning if not mind-boggling. That often depends, of course, on the position one plays.

Quarterbacks make the most, most of the time. What about offensive linemen? Who plays a more prominent role in the success of a team than the offensive linemen who make measured sense of all the madness? Only veteran left tackles who protect the quarterback’s blind side make the big money among offensive linemen.

Matt Stinchcomb, an All-American lineman at the University of Georgia, played six years in the NFL. He was a first-round draft pick for the Oakland Raiders and played with them from 1999 to 2003, including Super Bowl XXXVII. He then went to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for two seasons, 2004 and 2005. He was well paid, although it was nothing like what it is today.

It is worth noting, however, that he used his NFL experience to enhance his football after-life, founding the Stinchcomb Family Foundation, a nonprofit that supports public children’s charities. He and longtime friend David Greene, quarterback of the 2002 SEC champion Bulldogs, also operate the Atlanta office of Sterling Seacrest Partners, an insurance brokerage firm. It’s noteworthy that if he had never made a cent from pro football, he would have been successful professionally because of his embodiment of scholarship, work ethic and good habits. Scholarship and citizenship were anchors in his personal motivational wheelhouse.

Today you’ll find him combining media and marketing lines of work into a successful business career. All the while, he finds time for family and charity. Looking back on his distinguished career, Stinchcomb blocked opponents into submission on four levels: youth leagues, high school, the Southeastern Conference and the mighty NFL. Few linemen could fire out and overpower defensive opponents as well as Matt could, creating room for running backs to roam and protecting the passer.

At Georgia, Stinchcomb was a two-time All-America selection, Academic All-America honoree and was the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame Male Athlete of the Year for 1998. At school, away from the gridiron, he was about service above self. He eagerly attended class and never imbibed in one too many to mar his resume. He continues to give of himself to youth programs and volunteer his services to organizations like Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, the Gwinnett County Public Schools Foundation and the Gwinnett Medical Center Foundation.

The enterprising son of schoolteachers meant that Matt learned about discipline and responsibility at home and not just in class. He is a product of an “act right, do right” era, when sports were fun and you were responsible and accountable for competition and homework.

That the schoolteacher influence played a telling role in Matt’s induction into the National Football Foundation’s (NFF) College Football Hall of Fame last December is obvious. The NFF, and all those who band together to pay tribute to the scholar-athlete concept, were keenly aware that Matt was the winner of the Campbell Trophy in 1998, one of the highest honors a college athlete can attain for academics, community service and on-field performance.

Each year, the NFF honors a dozen players across the country to receive scholar athlete awards. When his alma mater nominated Matt for the Hall of Fame, it was noted by the Honors Court that while this young man from Lilburn could play the game, he also gave the classroom his ultimate regard. Conclusion: His parents’ influence brought classroom results, which got the attention of the Honors Court when the committee met to choose its 2019 Hall of Fame class.

For the record, in addition to the Campbell Trophy, Matt also won the Jacobs Blocking Trophy (the best blocker in the SEC) and the Jim Parker Award (best offensive lineman in college football) in 1998. In 2009, Matt was elected to the UGA Circle of Honor, the ultimate tribute for a former Georgia athlete.

His weekends in the fall are a time to talk football – for the SEC Network working as a commentator providing background information and analysis and hosting the Sunday SEC Film Room, in which he discusses a Saturday game with an SEC head coach. It is good stuff because Matt Stinchcomb knows his stuff.

And that’s the way it has been for this multi-tasking student-athlete all his life.

Categories: Downtime, Sports Desk