Ed McCaffrey Says He's a ‘Proud Parent’ Watching His Son Christian Play For the 49ers in the Super Bowl (Exclusive)

'I’m just so happy for him… It's been a dream his whole life,' the former 49ers wide receiver tells PEOPLE about his son. 'It's a pretty incredible feeling.'

<p>Paul Spinelli via AP</p>

Paul Spinelli via AP

Ed McCaffrey is looking forward to Super Bowl Sunday.

The former San Francisco 49ers wide receiver says he's “so happy” for his son Christian — who followed in his dad's footsteps and is a star running back for the 49ers — for making it to the Super Bowl. “It feels incredible. I'm just so happy for him… The fact that he’s in a Super Bowl is a pretty incredible feeling for us, and as a father, I love him. I support him,” McCaffrey, 55, tells PEOPLE. “As any parent will probably tell you, they just want their child to be happy. They want 'em to pursue their dreams and love life and be happy.”

Despite his love for football, McCaffrey and his wife Lisa decided to let their four sons each choose the sports they wanted to play. “Christian chose to play football and he did it when he was seven years old — and he's never looked back,” says McCaffrey about the 27-year-old NFL star. “He fell in love with it, I think the first year he ever played. And he's committed a good portion of his life to playing the game.”

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Looking ahead to Sunday's game, McCaffrey continues: “He's prepared his whole life to get ready to play this game. He knows it's very difficult. You get one chance to play the game, so there's no guarantee whether you're going to win or lose. But you can at least determine how you prepare for this game. So he will be thoroughly prepared, win, lose or draw.”

<p>Cindy Ord/Getty Images</p>

Cindy Ord/Getty Images

Of course, this Super Bowl appearance is even more special for McCaffrey because Christian is playing for the 49ers. “The fact that it's happening on the 49ers — the team that I was blessed to play for back in 1994 and won a Super Bowl with — is pretty amazing,” he adds. “And the fact that he's playing for Kyle Shanahan, the son of Mike Shanahan, who was my coach when the 49ers won the Super Bowl, is pretty cool.”

While McCaffrey credits much of his son’s success to his talents on the field — “speed and quickness, the ability to catch a football, ability to change direction, his incredible vision” — he says it’s really Christian’s passion that has brought him this far. “When you combine a physical skill set and a mental skill set with his emotion and love for the game, it allows you to do great things.”

“I love how determined and disciplined he is,” adds McCaffrey, who also enjoys playing chess with his son and listening to him play piano. “He's all dialed in and he has his routine in the off-season too. He's pretty serious 12 months out of the year. This is what he wants to do and I’m a proud parent.”

<p>Christian McCaffrey Instagram</p> Christian McCaffrey with his parents, Ed and Lisa, and his brothers Luke, Max, and Dylan.

Christian McCaffrey Instagram

Christian McCaffrey with his parents, Ed and Lisa, and his brothers Luke, Max, and Dylan.

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While Christian prepares for Sunday’s game, McCaffrey says he and his family are focused on “keeping busy” until they head to Las Vegas. “I used to get super nervous," he admits, "and then I had to realize that nothing I do or say is going to have any effect on this game. Whatever's going to happen is going to happen, and I just need to live for today, live for the moment, and be there no matter what happens, to love 'em and support 'em.”

“As parents, you do the best you can," he adds. "You hope you're making good decisions and you're really there to love and support and mentor and then guide as much as you possibly can." When asked what advice he would give Christian before he hits the field at Allegiant Stadium on Sunday, McCaffrey says, “My giving Christian advice about football ended a long time ago. So I would just say, ‘I love you. Go get it.’ ”

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