Jan. 19, 2014
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Two members of Purdue's famed Den of Defensive Ends will meet in Super Bowl XLVIII - Cliff Avril of the Seattle Seahawks and Shaun Phillips of the Denver Broncos.
It marks the 15th consecutive year that at least one team with a Boilermaker on its roster has played for the Lombardi Trophy, dating to Super Bowl XXXIV, when Jeff Zgonina and the St. Louis Rams defeated Steve Jackson and the Tennessee Titans.
Super Bowl XLVIII will be played Feb. 2 at MetLife Stadium at the Meadowlands Sports Complex in East Rutherford, N.J.
Both Phillips, who played from 2000 to 2003, and Avril, a Boilermaker from 2004 to 2007, are making their first Super Bowl appearance. Phillips is tied for second on the school career sacks list with 33.5, while Avril ranks tied for 14th with 13.
On Sunday, Seattle won the NFC Championship with a 23-17 victory over the San Francisco 49ers. Denver captured the AFC title with a 26-16 win over the New England Patriots.
A former Purdue player has been on the Super Bowl-winning team 11 of the last 14 years:
Jeff Zgonina (St. Louis Rams - XXXIV)
Rod Woodson (Baltimore Ravens - XXXV)
Matt Light and David Nugent (New England Patriots - XXXVI)
Mike Alstott (Tampa Bay Buccaneers - XXXVII)
Rosevelt Colvin, Brandon Gorin, Light and Gene Mruczkowski (New England - XXXVIII)
Colvin, Gorin, Light and Mruczkowski (New England - XXXIX)
Chukky Okobi (Pittsburgh Steelers - XL)
Gilbert Gardner and John Standeford (Indianapolis Colts - XLI)
Drew Brees (New Orleans Saints - XLIV)
Mike Neal (Green Bay Packers - XLV)
Bernard Pollard (Baltimore Ravens - XLVII)
All told, 20 former Purdue players have been on Super Bowl-winning teams, plus Hank Stram as head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl IV.
Quarterback Len Dawson was named Most Valuable Player of Super Bowl IV, while quarterback Drew Brees earned the honor for Super Bowl XLIV.
Mike Alstott scored the first Super Bowl touchdown by a Purdue alum in Super Bowl XXXVII. Three former Boilermakers have thrown touchdown passes in the Super Bowl: Dawson (I and IV) Bob Griese (VII) and Brees (XLIV).
Woodson x 3
Defensive back Rod Woodson played in three Super Bowls with three teams: Pittsburgh Steelers (XXX), Baltimore Ravens (XXXV) and Oakland Raiders (XXXVII).