When you enter Lisa Ertz's house, there is a huge photo collage filled with images of her four sons. It should come as no surprise that there are quite a few of the oldest, Eagles tight end Zach Ertz – or Zachary, to Lisa.
Lisa will tell you that being a single mom raising four sons by herself was the toughest job that she's ever had. But no matter the circumstance, she was – and to this day still is – always there to support her boys. She vividly remembers watching Zach transform into a star athlete during his football and basketball games at Monte Vista High School in Danville, California. When Zach went to play college football at Stanford, about an hour from Danville, she would leave the house five hours early to be present for "The Walk," where family and friends could cheer the players and coaches as they entered the stadium. Every time, without hesitation, Stanford Head Coach David Shaw would walk by Lisa and exclaim, "Are you crying? Are you crying?" Yes, Lisa was overcome with joy and pride seeing her son in action.
"I'm extraordinarily proud of who he is as a person, as a man, as a believer (in Jesus Christ), as a husband, as a son, as a brother, as a philanthropist," Lisa says. "He sees his platform as being much larger than what he does on the field. He also feels called to say, 'I know I'm really blessed. I know I was given this talent and this opportunity to play. Instead of only focusing on that, I'm going to focus on how do I help? How do I make a difference in the lives of others?"
That support has continued in Philadelphia, where Zach has played since he was a second-round pick in 2013. Lisa vividly remembers the Parade of Champions following Super Bowl LII, calling it "a huge highlight of my life as a mom," witnessing her son smile from ear to ear as he celebrated with millions of Eagles fans.
That's why 2020 has been so tough for Lisa Ertz. Other than a handful of games, she is not able to be there in person to cheer on her son. Well, thanks to Campbell's Chunky's Champions of Chunky campaign, 12 Eagles players – including Zach Ertz – will have cutouts of their biggest supporters, those who have championed them over the years, in the stands at Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday.
"We should talk about how crazy it is in the Linc when we have fans in there. I don't know about every other stadium, but I do know that when our defense is out there our fans are going bananas. It has to make a difference. It's so difficult not to be there," Lisa says.
Zach is not alone in choosing his mother as his Champion of Chunky. In fact, the vast majority of players are honoring their moms.
"No one does it for the recognition, but I'm glad they're doing that because sometimes you just need to see someone say we really appreciate what you do, and your heart just explodes. That's really such an endearing thing," Lisa says. "We're there from Day 1. These men are always our boys. We, as moms, still feel the same way about our kids, but our role changes a lot which is the way it's supposed to be in this beautiful thing of life."
Even though Lisa will not be there in person this Sunday, Ertz and his teammates will be able to look in the stands and know their Champions of Chunky are cheering them on from afar.
Below is a list of the players who are participating in the Campbell's Champions of Chunky this Sunday and the "Champions" who they are honoring:
• DE Vinny Curry – Mother, Linda (Cissy) Jackson
• LB T.J. Edwards – Mother, Cathy Edwards
• TE Zach Ertz – Mother, Lisa Ertz
• WR Travis Fulgham – Mother, Celeste Fulgham
• DE Brandon Graham – Wife, Carlyne Graham; Daughter, Emerson; and Son, Bryson
• DT Javon Hargrave – Mother, Yvette Hargrave
• T Lane Johnson – Mother, Rae Ann Carpentier
• T Jordan Mailata – Parents, Tupai "Big T" and Maria Mailata
• S Rodney McLeod – Mother, Kimberly Holloman
• RB Boston Scott – Mother, Shelly Jackson
• LB Alex Singleton – Mother, Kim Singleton
• WR Greg Ward – Mother, Mary Ward