As the football world descends on Atlanta for the second championship game in as many months to be hosted at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium, writers everywhere are filing copy on unique think-pieces trying to tenuously link their subject matter to the event that has the attention of the sporting world. Here in the college section of 99Yards towers we are no different, so sit back relax and read as I attempt to answer the age old question on all football fans minds. Is Rutgers Super-Bowl-U?
More than Bama?
I asked the other college writers in our group chat which school is poised to tie with Georgia for the most participants in Super Bowl LIII. The guesses fired back mainly consisted of the perennial powers of college football; Alabama, Clemson, Florida State etc. No-one guess the correct answer, Rutgers. The BIG10 basement dwellers have featured near the top of the list in four of the last five Super Bowls, despite the program not appearing in a bowl game since 2014. The one exception being Super Bowl 50, where Rutgers had zero representation.
Lets look at where Rutgers have placed in the theoretical league table of Super Bowl representation in recent years.
- 2019 Super Bowl LIII – Joint 1st (4)
- 2018 Super Bowl LII – Joint 2nd (3)
- 2017 Super Bowl LI – Joint 1st (5)
- 2016 Super Bowl L – N/A (0)
- 2015 Super Bowl XLIX – Joint 2nd (4)
Over the same period Rutgers have either matched or had more participants than Alabama in all but Super Bowl 50.
A Twin Cause
The eagle eyed amongst you will have noticed a pattern with Rutgers representation and the Super Bowl participants, when the Patriots are in the Super Bowl, Rutgers representation sky rockets. Whilst they are not responsible for all Rutgers representatives in the big game, most of Rutgers Super Bowl stars ply their trade in New England.
One name in particular is synonymous with the college and the Super Bowl, McCourty. The Patriots twin defensive backs are both alumni of the University. Devin, a first round pick of the Patriots in 2010 was joined on the team by his brother in early 2018. On Sunday they will become the first twins to play in a Super Bowl together.
The U Retains Top Spot All Time
Miami retains top spot in the aggregated table of Super Bowl appearances with 121. USC increased its lead over rival UCLA in 2nd and 3rd and Ohio State moves in to the top 10 for the first time.
Southern Alabama becomes the 399th College program to be represented in the Super Bowl. Rams tight end Gerald Everett being the first player to represent his alma mater.
Power 5 Dominates LIII
When looking at the prospects on the teams of the participants in Sunday’s game, the numbers are eerily similar. For both teams around 2/3 of the roster went to a power five school and both had just over 10% come from the FCS. The Rams are the only team to feature players who didn’t go to a Division 1 school. Whilst the Patriot have double the number of players from group of five schools.
So Is Rutgers SBU?
Whilst I am not totally ready to crown Rutgers Super-Bowl-U, that they have had so many participants in recent times conveys a narrative. It doesn’t matter if the school you go to isn’t a college football powerhouse, you can still make the Superbowl. However looking at the construction of this years rosters, being at a power five school certainly helps your chances.
Photo Credit – onthebanks.com