MARSING - It's a mile-long stretch of pavement that prepared him for the journey.

"Chicken Dinner Road, not a lot of people know that," said Shea McClellin with a laugh. "Out there, it's just the country, man. It just you, by yourself."

It's a far cry from the bright lights of NRG Stadium in Houston where McClellin took the field Sunday night as a linebacker for the New England Patriots and a dream of winning the Super Bowl. A dream that came true with a thrilling 34-28 overtime win by the Patriots.

Chicken Dinner Road is a place where silence is appreciated; A calming presence that also reminds the Marsing native that he's home.

"I go back there and try to get some peace and quiet if I can," McClellin said. "You know, I'm an introvert. I don't talk much."

The path itself eventually reveals it's own beauty. It's more than just a road. It's a way of life, according to Marsing High School teacher Johnathon Cossel.

"Kind of the road itself is it's own caricature of him and his life," explained Cossel, who became close friends with McClellin at an early age.

Along the road itself are many peaks and valleys. On that note, Chicken Dinner Road builds toughness, and it rewards those who persevere.

"The climb, going from the bottom, you have continue to just chip away at it and not stop," Cossel said. "Because if you lose that momentum, you're going to be stagnant."

"He never stopped," Cossel said of McClellin. "That's what has now allowed him to be in the Super Bowl, which is pretty good."

At the top of Chicken Dinner Road is the reward. A view that reminds the locals of not just where he came from, but where you're going as well.

"When you get to the top for that road, and you see St. Chapelle Winery and all the hills and this beautiful valley that's laid out before you," recalled Cossel. "The reward is just so much more satisfying knowing the work you've put in behind you, and the beauty of what's in front of you.

"I think that just perfectly captures what's happening in Shea's life right now."


Almost a decade after McClellin left Marsing to pursue his gridiron dreams, his legacy still stands tall at the center of town.

"He's really a asset to our community," said Jim Smith, who stopped to stare up at the 30-foot-tall banner of McClellin that hangs on the tallest building in Marsing. "He shares a special spot in all of our hearts around here."

At the high school, McClellin has gone from taking lessons to being the lesson. His success story is one that defines what you can be, not what odds suggest you're suppose to be.

"He's a rock star," said Cossel. "He is the most popular person in Marsing. He worked his butt off and he got to where he is now through hard work and perseverance. It really does push the kids."

"It is almost the quintessential underdog story of a life time," Cossel continued, "just because coming from the environment that he did, and facing all the obstacles that he did, he didn't really have a lot of the opportunities that other people might have afford to them. He just worked his butt off."

McClellin's work ethic was developed on the 19-acre family farm located just off Chicken Dinner Road.

"He liked being out here," recalled Shea's dad, Jerry McClellin. "Like anybody who has been around a farm, I think they develop a strength early, for sure. It comes with the territory."

Adopted by his grandparents at just 18 months old, at an early age, Shea showed a desire to work and compete.

"I don't know what what else to tell you, other than he was my little helper," said Shea's mom, Terry McClellin.

"He's competitive in everything," she added. "Everything!"

Those qualities would eventually steer him towards the game of football, where the community saw a much different side of Shea.

"He is quiet. He's always been quiet," said Terry. "(But) he's not quiet on the football field. I think that's where it all comes out."

During his senior season at Marsing High, McClellin's play caught the eye of former Boise State head football coach Chris Petersen, who offered him a scholarship. On February 7, 2007, McClellin signed a letter of intent to play at his dream school.

"I can't wait to play on The Blue," He said after signing with the Broncos almost a decade ago.

It was there this small town boy continued to pursue his big time dreams. After four seasons of wreaking havoc as a defensive end at Boise State, Shea became the second highest draft pick in the history of the Bronco football program.

In 2012, the Chicago Bears made Shea the 19th overall selection in the NFL Draft.

Much like Chicken Dinner Road, his time with the Bears had its ups and downs.

But this season, Shea got a second chance with New England, an organization more focused on what he could be, rather than what the odds suggested.

"Really well," responded Terry when asked how Shea is doing. "He's done some remarkable things."

In Marsing on Super Bowl Sunday, you could feel a similar excitement as the town gathered to watch their hometown hero complete with his new team.

Once again, Shea's toughness and perseverance was rewarded. The Patriots rallied from a 28-3 deficit in the second half to knock off the Atlanta Falcons.

With the climb complete, the view from the top of the football world offers yet another picturesque view on a journey that was as amazing as it was unlikely.