There are events in life that not everyone gets to experience—the birth of a child, scoring a touchdown in an NFL game and receiving the game ball from a head coach, to name a few. For Indianapolis Colt T.Y. Hilton, this week marks the time that he experienced all three—within a matter of hours.
After Hilton’s wife, Shantrell, gave birth to their daughter, Eugenia, early that morning, there was speculation as to whether or not the wide receiver would play in Sunday’s game against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Hilton not only played in the game, but also scored a 73-yard touchdown in the third quarter, giving his team a 20-3 lead. However, it wasn’t the touchdown run, but the endearing celebration after and an emotional post-game interview that has gone viral.
As Hilton crossed into the end zone, the 25-year-old new dad cradled the football like an infant, rocking and caressing the ball in his arms—a tribute to baby Eugenia on her birthday.
After the game, Hilton he told reporters how emotional he was.
“Before I left the hospital, I told her, ‘You want a touchdown ball, or do you want the game ball?’ I wanted to just go out there and play for her and give her my all,” Hilton said, according to NBCSports.com. “I’m tired. I didn’t have no problems with my body while I was playing. So when I got in the endzone, I just rocked the baby to sleep.”
Head coach Chuck Pagano presented Hilton with the game ball once the team settled into the locker room postgame.
Hilton tweeted a photo of his new daughter saying “My princess got the game ball. I promised (her) a touchdown on (her) special day.”