Grammy award winning country band Little Big Town will be part of the Super Bowl festivities as part of a charitable party on Saturday.
Vocalist and rhythm guitarist Jimi Westbrook is a lifelong football fan who plays in several fantasy leagues, so being at the Super Bowl is a special experience. However, as he and the other three members of the band -- his wife, Karen Fairchild, Kimberly Schlapman and Phillip Sweet – are parents, they are happy to perform for "Party with a Purpose," which is raising money for food banks across the country. Approximately 20 percent of children in the U.S. live in poverty, according to a 2013 report.
ESPN.com talked to Westbrook about his involvement and his love of sports.
Tell us about the "Taste of the NFL" party and how Little Big Town got involved.
We had gotten a call from our manager telling us about this amazing function where all of these chefs were coming in to do a tasting, and they inivited us to come play while this is happening. ... To be able to be there with these amazing chefs is an exciting opportunity.
Of course, it's all for hunger relief -- the proceeds go to a lot of different hunger relief organiuzations, some of which we've been involved with for the past few years, some that have to do with child hunger. For the band, we all have kids, and of course that opens your heart to those things.
You always think of hunger issues being in other places and other smaller countries, but to know there is so much hunger still going on within our own country, and to know that even with child hunger that one in five children in America are suffering from hunger -- that's an astounding thing to know. Anything we can do to help with that, we try to lend our talents.
How does playing at the Super Bowl stack up to other events the band has played?
I'm so excited about this. I've never been able to go to a Super Bowl. I am a huge football fan, I love fantasy football, I'm involved in several fantasy leagues every year.
All of us are really big football fans in the band. we have the Titans here (in Nashville) and we're big fans of the Titans ... it's a big deal. We're going to be able to go see the game -- I am thrilled.
Who was your team growing up?
This is a different thing for me -- I grew up in Alabama being a huge college football fan. Of course, being an Alabama fan was huge in my household, but also I did love pro football. When I was growing up I didn't feel like I had a team that I identified with. The Cowboys were a huge team when I was growing up, but I kind of hopped around from team to team.
When I moved in Nashville it was the year the Titans came to Nashville, or maybe the year before. ... The very first pro football game I went to was the Music City Miracle game. So I was hooked. And I had great seats where I could see that whole play develop as it was happening. It was one of the coolest sporting events I have ever been a part of.
[The Titans] ended up going to the Super Bowl and coming up short by a couple yards, which was heartbreaking, but what an inaugural season for me being a Titans fan, to watch that whole thing the way it happened. That would be my biggest Super Bowl moment, even though I was on the wrong end of it.
Did you play football when you were a kid?
I played for a couple of years in high school. I didn't really get a lot of playing time. I was small .. and thin (laughs). But I did play. I did play a lot of sports growing up.
What do you think about this Super Bowl? Any thoughts about who's going to win?
Man, I think it's gonna be a great game. I kind of feel like the Seahawks are gonna take it. That defense is super-intense.
I think Brady's playing with a chip on his shoulder from all the talk [at the start of the season] that he's on his decline and he's losing his game. I think he's got something to prove, which is gonna make for a great game. I just don't know if they can hold out long enough under the pressure of that defense. And of course the beast - Marshawn [Lynch], man, he wears people down from an offensive standpoint. And I'm a big fan of Russell Wilson. I think he's a talented dude and definitely a winner. he finds a way to win.
I think it's gonna be close but I think the Seahawks are going to edge 'em out at the end.
How did you do in fantasy this season?
I had a terrible year. I'm in a couple of leagues here in Nashville, there's one with my friend Darius Rucker -- there's a bunch of us from Nashville that are in a league. And that's the one for me that really counts. And I ended up just doing terrible. I won last last year, which was exciting ... everything just seemed to go right, all the players had good games on the same day. This year was quite the opposite.
What went wrong?
I could never get it all lined up on the right day. I had a great team; it's just that I couldn't get everybody playing. And of course injuries play such a big part. It was not a good year ... but I'll be back.
Your son will be 5 years old in March. Does he watch football with you yet?
Yeah, he's getting into it. It's still a little hard to hold his attention as much but he defintiely loves it he loves the excitement of it.
I'm a loud watcher of football, once in a while I'm up screaming and shouting ... he loves it, he jumps in and joins with me.