As soon as ESPN analyst and former NFL coach Herm Edwards heard the story about Jeremy and Jennifer Williams, he agreed to lend a hand in this Sunday’s season finale of ABC’s heart-warming series ‘Extreme Makeover: Home Edition‘. From Mountain Valley, GA, the Williams are an exceptional family, the kind tailor made for Edwards’ inspirational pep talks. Their son, Jacob, was diagnosed with Spina Bifida at birth, and a short time later Jeremy, a beloved high school football coach, was found to be suffering from Lou Gehrig’s disease.
As they battled these life-threatening obstacles, their13-year-old home fell into disrepair and was clearly too small to accommodate two disabled people. Enter Ty Pennington and crew, as well as Edwards, the real life stars of the movie ‘The Blind Side’, Michael Oher and the Tuohy family, Demi Lovato and Wilmer Valderrama. “You look at Jeremy Williams as a father and a coach and you see a guy who gets it,” says Edwards. “We are what we make in life, and he’s living that example every day.”
After the Williams’ were sent away, Edwards took over Jeremy’s high school football team and gave them a brand new play. “We were on the bus, his whole team, and I had them all suited up in their gear,” says Edwards. “Then we ran out and attacked the house. The goal – destroy it.”
“It was a really a great football scene – us against the house.”
At one point, they kicked the ball through the roof, a field goal like no other. Later, Edwards got into an argument with a referee over a penalty he thought was bogus – too many men in the bathroom.
“We were tearing it apart,” he says laughingly. “It was pretty great. But I’ll tell you, halfway through, the kids were worn out.” Edwards was impressed the more he heard about the Williams family. “They never let the obstacles they face kill their spirit,” says Edwards. “That’s what you get from talking to their friends.”
The football coach dad made a particularly strong impression Edwards. “Jeremy doesn’t make any excuses, he doesn’t sit in the corner, he just keeps going on,” says Edwards. “When you think about the kids he’s coaching, You realize that he’s teaching them a hugely important lesson. They don’t have any excuses. If Jeremy doesn’t make any excuses, which he doesn’t they can’t. And if they understand that, they’ll have success in life.”
Edwards is a diehard fan of ‘Extreme Makeover.’ “Ty and all the designers do a great job,” he says. “They take this very seriously. They’re invested in the deal. Each week, the show reminds you of what’s important. It makes you feel good about being an American. Anyone can give money, but when you give your time, you can really make a difference in someone’s life.”
The season finale of ‘Extreme Makeover: Home Edition’ airs Sunday, May 16, on ABC at 8 PM.