Saich family recalls hosting Tyler Boyd as part of Big 33 Game

Written by: Billy Splain on February 13, 2022.


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Author: Andrew Kalista (FOX43)

From the start of the game in 2013, you knew Tyler Boyd was special; after all, he did return the opening kick-off.

PALMYRA, Pa. — On Sunday, two things in the world of football will happen— the NFL will crown a Super Bowl champion and for the 56th straight Super Bowl, a Big 33 alum will take to the field.

This year’s Tyler Boyd is one of the representatives for the game (Rams’ Aaron Donald (PA 2010) and Jake Funk (Maryland 2015) were both selected but did not participate in the game) and the 2013 Big 33 MVP left not only impression on the field, but with his host family.

From the start of the game in 2013, you knew Tyler Boyd was special; after all, he did return the opening kick-off.

So when the television announcer later said “Tyler Boyd does it all,” he wasn’t lying.

“You get so excited for them because you know that they have made it,” Wendy Saich said.

And she’s not wrong either. Tyler Boyd did make it all the way to pros and then to the Super Bowl.

Saich of Palmyra and her family hosted Tyler Boyd way back in 2013 for the Big 33 Game. She knew Boyd before he starred at Pitt and before he became a key cog for the Bengals.

This playoff run by Cincinnati has the entire Saich family taking a trip down memory lane.

“The entire week he was just my son, I would watch him at practice and then sitting at the game, I would try to be the parent,” Saich said. “Cheering him on you were like ‘Oh my god!'”

That was the reaction of pretty much everyone in the stands.

Boyd ran a kick back for a score, caught a touchdown pass, ran for a score out of the wildcat formation, and most spectacularly—ducked under a blitzing defender and threw a laser for a long touchdown pass.

To Wendy, Boyd was one thing that day: “Superman!”

Yes, there are plenty of memories between the sidelines, but the memories off the field last the longest for Wendy.

“When they would come home from practice, some nights we just sit down and have a family meal together and then in our backyard we would play Wiffle ball games,” she said.

Wendy’s son, Braden, remembers those games and Boyd’s skill on the diamond as well.

“Playing Wiffle Ball with him was amazing because he is such an amazing athlete,” Braden said. “We went to adventure sports one night and went into the batting cages. It was on high and he was hitting it like nothing and it was like ‘This guy is different than everybody else.’”

Different yes, and that continued the bigger the stage got. But for the Saich family, no matter how big Tyler’s star got, he was just Tyler Boyd—the sweet, humble kid who was welcomed into their home.

“My brother and him actually talk a lot on social media,” Braden said. “[They] text so it is pretty cool that even though he reached that height he never forgot where he came from.”
As Wendy shows Tyler’s helmet and his game card, she also has his practice jersey folded neatly as well as the 2013 t-shirt. She looks fondly at his “hero” card and signed 8×10 photo and she can’t help but smile and think of that summer almost nine years ago.

“He was my son for the week and he is just a neat kid, just a really polite, fun kid who you just warm up to and you want to open your arms and hug him,” Wendy said.

A possible Bengals victory on Sunday in the Super Bowl would mean the Saich Family could add another chapter into their memory bank of their relationship with Tyler Boyd.