Josephine Brown looks over her son's enormous display of significant football awards and still can't believe it all started with a lie.

“I had no idea," she said.

When her son was a high school freshman, she forbid him from playing football.

So for three years he told her he was drumming in the high school band. Instead, he marched right on over to football practice and never went back.

"I didn’t know he was playing [football] until he was a senior," Josephine said. "I thought he was still in band. The band leader called me and told me he was missing practices.”

Tim Brown in high school

Thankfully, she let him keep playing.

“That’s when I really knew how good he was," she said.

The rest is history.

The Heisman Trophy, College Football Hall of Fame, Pro Football Hall of Fame, Josephine celebrated all of it -- but watched none of it.

Tim played football 25 years, more than 300 games, and she never watched a single one.

“Never watched one, no," she said.

"What I would hear from the family is that she would be in her room praying or back in her room reading the Bible, but she never sat down to watch a game," Tim said.

Josephine said she's just really not that into football. It's no surprise then, that in mom's house, there were no superstars.

“He wasn’t Tim Brown to me," she said. "He was Timmy and the whole family treated him like that.”

As you might expect, never watching his games can have a dramatic impact on his attitude, and it did.

“I was blessed with that because she was my refuge," Tim said. "She was my place where I could go and get away from being a superstar athlete or a big-named celebrity.”

Tim says his mom cared so much about him as a son, it's what made football possible.

“All those things, I believe, is because of the missionary Josephine Brown," he said. "She can take full credit for me being in that position."

And that's the truth.