In a world that is dominated by e-mails and text messages, San Francisco 49ers star George Kittle finds inspiration in another form.
Weekly letters from Bruce Kittle, his father.
Every Saturday before game day, an express package is delivered to 49ers HQ in Santa Clara.
“It’s awesome whether he’s telling a new story or bringing in a new movie or book that he read to me as a kid,” Kittle said. “He just always has a different story line for every single letter. He always just crushes it. I always get pretty fired up reading those things.”
His father began writing him these letters while he was still a sophomore at the University of Iowa. His father also played at Iowa, where he a standout offensive lineman.
The letters usually run about three or four pages long and come with a combination of notes for the Niners’ next opponent, observations from the previous game, photos, some friendly trash talk and will feature a comic book character, usually Batman or Spider-Man.
“That’s kind of like the first step to my switch,” he said in an interview with ESPN. “I read that and I know, ‘Hey, it’s game day, lock in.'”
Before the team’s divisional playoff game against the Minnesota Vikings last week, the elder Kittle’s letter was longer than usual.
“I got one about 10 pages, it was awesome,” Kittle said in a press conference yesterday. “I was fired up and ready to roll. It (last week’s letter) was a little longer. He was on last week. It was pretty fun. It was a great one.”
And while he did not have a fancy stat line catching the ball, he was a crucial component in San Francisco’s ground game as a lead blocker. They ran the ball an astonishing 47 times for 186 yards against the Vikings.
“He doesn’t give me too many tips on how to run routes. He always gives me — make sure your leverage is good, get your hands inside. He’s definitely a coach,” Kittle replied when asked if his dad gives him tips.
The Niners host the Green Bay Packers on Sunday in the NFC Championship Game.
If he got 10 pages for the game against the Vikings, one can imagine how long this week’s letter will be.