Cougars in the Pros -- Super Bowl Preview

John Tait is one of three former BYU stars playing in the Super Bowl.

For the third year in a row, the Brigham Young University football program finds itself among the elite in terms of representation on football's grandest stage -- the Super Bowl. Indeed, only the National Champion University of Florida (4) and the University of Syracuse (4) will have more players represented in Super Bowl XLI than BYU. Three former BYU Cougars -- John Tait (OL, Chicago), Gabe Reid (TE, Chicago), and Rob Morris (LB, Indianapolis) -- will find themselves under the bright lights in Miami playing for the coveted Lombardi Trophy. The University of Florida (4) also is the only college program with more former players on the NFC Champion Bears than BYU (2).

BYU leads all Mountain West Conference teams with three former players on Super Bowl active rosters. San Diego State, New Mexico, and TCU each have one former player on the Super Bowl rosters. No other Mountain West Conference program is represented in the Super Bowl.

Former first round draft pick John Tait is expected to start at offensive tackle and Gabe Reid is expected to see action from his tight end position and on special teams for the Bears. On the other sideline, former first round draft pick Rob Morris is expected to start at linebacker for the Colts.

BYU's success in the NFL and, more specifically, in the Super Bowl, is nothing new. Last season, the Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers had three former Cougars on their active roster, more than any other college program (the University of Georgia and University of North Carolina also had three). In total, BYU had four former players represented in last year's Super Bowl, more than any other college program except Florida State University (4) and Georgia (5). The Seattle Seahawks, who were defeated by Pittsburgh in last year's Super Bowl, were guided by head coach Mike Holmgren, who coached at BYU under LaVell Edwards. Holmgren led Seattle to its first Super Bowl appearance in the franchise's 30 year history. In all, last year's Super Bowl featured one head coach, one assistant coach, one offensive player, and three defensive players with BYU ties. Notably, this year's Super Bowl is the first Super Bowl in three years that will not feature a former BYU Cougar as head coach of one of the Super Bowl teams.

Former BYU Cougars making an impact in the Super Bowl is hardly a recent phenomenon though, as several Cougars ink the Super Bowl record book. Steve Young's six passing touchdowns in Super Bowl XXIX is a Super Bowl record. Likewise, Lee Johnson's 63 yard punt in Super Bowl XXIII is the longest punt in Super Bowl history. Finally, Jim McMahon's two rushing touchdowns in Super Bowl XX tie him for second all time for touchdowns scored and rushing touchdowns in a Super Bowl game.

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