Super Bowl LI in Houston will have a distinctly Rutgers flavor to it. Five former Rutgers standouts are on the roster of one of the two squads, with a Scarlet Knight guaranteed to hoist the Lombardi Trophy. Rutgers is represented on the NFC Champion Atlanta Falcons, while the AFC Champion New England Patriots have Logan Ryan, Duron Harmon and Devin McCourty on the active roster, while Jonathan Freeny is on the Patriots’ injured reserve.
With five players on either the Atlanta or New England roster, Rutgers is tied with Alabama (four active players, one practice squad) and Stanford (four active players, one practice squad) for the most players on a Super Bowl roster among any college. Rutgers is the only school to feature five players to see action for a Super Bowl team this season.
“I think it's great for Rutgers football,” head coach Chris Ash said. “You've got five players that played here that are in the Super Bowl, and it doesn't get any better than that. I think it shows a lot of people that you can achieve your dreams and your goals here at Rutgers. You don't need to go to a certain logo or a certain conference to be developed to play at the highest level. You can do that right here.”
Sanu started championship Sunday off with a highlight, hauling in a touchdown reception on the first drive of the day. He finished with five catches for 52 yards in a 44-21 trouncing of the Green Bay Packers.
VIDEO: Mohamed Sanu highlights
The Patriots secondary is keyed by three former Scarlet Knights in Ryan, Harmon and McCourty. Ryan was New England’s leading tackler with nine tackles in the game and had a pass breakup on fourth down in the end zone. McCourty had four tackles in the game as well.
A final Rutgers connection in the game is former Scarlet Knights long snapper Steve Belichick. He serves as the safeties coach for New England.
Previously, Rutgers has had 17 players play in a Super Bowl, including the trio of Patriot DBs in Super Bowl XLIX and McCourty in Super Bowl XLVI. These five will be looking to add to a list of 16 players to previously win a Super Bowl. With a Patriots win, Harmon, Ryan and McCourty would join Harry Swayne (three-time winner) as the only former Rutgers players to own multiple Super Bowl rings.