TEMPE, Ariz. -- When Tauren Meadows Jr. sits down inside University of Phoenix Stadium for Thursday night's game between the Seattle Seahawks and Arizona Cardinals, he'll be a young man torn.
The 12-year-old is like any young sports fan: He likes what's cool and the teams that win. For the past few years, his favorite team has been the Seahawks. But for this game he'll have a rooting interest in both clubs who will be on the field, because of an incident nine months ago:
On Feb. 17, Cardinals defensive coordinator James Bettcher helped save Meadows after he was hit by a car while riding his bike on his way to school in Chandler, Arizona.
Around 8:30 a.m., Bettcher and his wife, Erica, waited behind a sedan at a stop sign as they were taking their 6-year-old son, Colton, to school. The driver of the car in front of them looked to her left, Erica said, and then turned right, just as Meadows and his sister, Tatiyana Hargraves, began to cross the street on their bikes.
Meadows was hit. The car rolled over him, pinning his legs and his bike underneath. Bettcher and another man who rushed to the scene jacked the car up and pulled Meadows out. He suffered only lacerations, abrasions, a few bruises and deep cuts, but no broken bones and no fractures. He spent the night in a hospital.
Tauren Meadows Sr. knew people had helped his son. He just didn't know who they were or their names.
When the fire department called weeks later to tell them that it was coach James Bettcher who was there, Tauren Sr. didn't know who they were talking about.
Then they said he was the Cardinals' defensive coordinator.
"I was like, 'Wow, that's crazy,'" Tauren Sr. said.
In June, the Cardinals invited Tauren Sr. and Tauren Jr. to their Tempe, Arizona, facility to watch a minicamp practice. They got to meet a handful of players, as well as Cardinals president Michael Bidwill. Quarterback Carson Palmer gave Tauren Jr. an autographed football and linebacker Karlos Dansby gave him a pair of gloves.
The father-son duo will take in Thursday night's game with mixed emotions. It'll be a chance for Tauren Jr. to see his favorite teams on the field, but it'll also be a reminder of that February morning.
"He deserves to be able to be a kid," Bettcher said. "He deserves to be able to ride his bike and be a kid. To see him being a kid that day [in June], that was the most important part."