I know, I know…
People are wondering why I am writing an article about a game deciding a championship in a league that doesn’t have a team in Los Angeles.
And hasn’t in nearly two decades.
And not only is no closer to putting a franchise in America’s second largest city (and media market) than they were in 1995, but has no real plans to do so.
It’s like, outside of the major gluttony-filled parties that the Super Bowl brings, why should Los Angelenos care?
Here’s a reason: the players on the Denver Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks who will do battle in Met Life Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ that played their college ball at one of L.A’s two major institutions of higher learning, UCLA and USC.
Which always induces pride among members of the Bruin Nation and the Trojan Family.
Such has been the case for a long time, ever since three Trojan alums, Willie Wood of the Green Bay Packers and Pete Beathard and Mike Garrett – ‘SC’s first Heisman Trophy winner who would go on to be the school’s athletic director – of the Kansas City Chiefs, appeared in the first Super Bowl in the Coliseum in 1967.
The Trojan program can boast that it has had at least one of their players in 43 of the 48 Super Bowls, the most successful being:
* Ronnie Lott, who won four Super Bowls with the San Francisco 49ers in the 1980s
* Marcus Allen, the 1981 Heisman Trophy winner who was awarded Super Bowl XVIII MVP honors with the then-Los Angeles Raiders in 1984; the city of L.A.’s only Super Bowl title, and…
* Lynn Swann, who won four Super Bowl rings as part of the Pittsburgh Steelers dynasty of the 1970s, being named MVP of Super Bowl X in 1976.
As for UCLA, their legacy in this area is no slouch as at least one Bruin has played in 40 of the 48 Super Bowls, the first one being Don Shinnick, a linebacker with the then-Baltimore Colts who were so famously upset by Joe Namath and the New York Jets in Super Bowl III in 1969.
And unlike their USC counterparts, Bruin Nation can say that they have an alum who has played in more of these games than anyone in history: Mike Lodish, a defensive lineman who appeared in six Super Bowls; four with the hard-luck Buffalo Bills before winning two rings with the Denver Broncos.
The cliche of “Being at the right place at the right time” certainly applies to this all-Pac-10 performer from the late 80s.
Among the most noteworthy players from Westwood that have experienced the most success in the Super Bowl era are:
* Randy Cross, the offensive lineman who won three title with the 49ers as Lott’s teammate
* Ken Norton, Jr., who won two titles with the Dallas Cowboys and one with the 49ers in the 1990s at linebacker, and…
* Troy Aikman, who while playing quarterback for the Cowboys won three Super Bowls in a four-year span during that same 90s period.
I can hear it now: What about this year’s upcoming spectacle?
Who are the players that matriculated in our two football playing schools that will represent in this latest Super Bowl Sunday?
For the Broncos, one Bruin and one Trojan will be suiting up in the orange jerseys:
- Rahim Moore (UCLA), a third-year safety, and…
- Winston Justice (USC), a seventh-year offensive tackle
As for the Seahawks, three Trojans – no surprise considering that coach Pete Carroll oversaw the latest ‘SC dynasty of this past decade – and one Bruin will be the focus of Seattle’s powerful “12th Man” fan base:
- Mike Morgan (USC), a third-year linebacker,
- Malcolm Smith (USC), another third-year linebacker,
- Anthony McCoy (USC), a fourth-year tight end, and…
- Derrick Coleman (UCLA), a second-year running back who has been featured in the media due to his being deaf.
I hope folks in SoCal can see that despite the frustrating fact that no NFL team plays their home games in L.A., there’s still much to be proud of as far as a Super Bowl legacy.
Oh, and for the record: The home town of the Seahawks’ Richard Sherman, who caused so much brouhaha with his loud calling out of the 49ers’ Michael Crabtree at the end of the NFC Championship game?
Compton, CA, just a few minutes drive from downtown Los Angeles as he went to Dominguez High School in that city known for rap icons Dr. Dre and Kendrick Lamar.