Ryan L. Fox
When you think of Boston College football, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? If you answered sub-.500 records, you’re on the right track but no. If you answered NFL players, then you’re spot on. Surprisingly enough, even though college football doesn’t attract a huge market like in other places (i.e. South, Midwest), BC has produced lots of NFL talent that ranks up there with other schools like Alabama, Texas, Michigan, Notre Dame, and Miami (aka, The U).
Even as we speak, former BC Eagles QB and current Atlanta Falcons QB Matt Ryan (fantastic last name I might add) is gearing up to play on the NFL’s biggest stage: the Super Bowl. However Ryan isn’t the first BC Eagles player to play in the Super Bowl. There have been a tremendous amount of former BC Eagles players who have played in the Super Bowl.
After carefully going over each player, this Ryan was able to narrow it down to his top 5 BC Eagles to play in the Super Bowl. So that being said, let’s begin.
Honorable Mention: Mark Chmura
Drafted: 6th Round, 157th overall in 1992 NFL Draft
Team: Green Bay Packers
Time in NFL: 1992-1999
A three time Pro Bowler back in the mid to late-90s with the Green Bay Packers, Mark Chmura was one of Brett Farve’s top targets outside the likes of WRs Antonio Freeman and Robert Brooks. He played in two Super Bowls with the Packers, winning one (Super Bowl XXXI against the New England Patriots) and losing the other (Super Bowl XXXII against the Denver Broncos). However Chmura’s career was cut short by a herniation of the C5 & C6 discs in his spine in the second week of the 1999 season against the Detroit Lions. With the numbers he was putting up in 1997 (38 catches for 417 yards and 6 TDs) and in 1998 (47 catches for 554 yards and 4 TDs), it makes you wonder what could have been if he was still able to play.
#5. Bill Romanowski
Drafted: 3rd Round, 80th overall in 1988 NFL Draft
Team: San Francisco 49ers
Time in NFL: 1988-2003
He has the most Super Bowl rings out of anybody on this list with 4 and the second longest tenure in the NFL with 15 years behind the #4 Eagle on this list. Over that same span Romanowski has had 1,116 career tackles, 39.5 sacks, 18 fumble recoveries, and 16 interceptions. Not to mention that he had a 5th Super Bowl appearance in 2002 (Super Bowl XXXVII) with the Oakland Raiders, who ultimately lost to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
So why is he only #5 on the list instead of #1? Well…he really didn’t play too much of an impact on his Super Bowl winning teams (’88 & ’89 49ers and ’97 & ’98 Broncos were all about the offenses), was bats**t crazy and got into serious physical altercations with everybody (just Google ‘Michael Williams 2003 fight’), and admitted to using steroids & HGH while playing in the NFL. There’s always one bad bird in the flock and in this case, it’s Romanowski.
4. Matt Hasselbeck
Drafted: 6th Round, 187th overall in 1998 NFL Draft
Team: Green Bay Packers
Time in NFL: 1998-2015
Matt Ryan wasn’t the first BC Eagles QB to light the world on fire. That was Matt Hasselbeck. However Hasselbeck was originally drafted back in ’98 by the Packers to play backup to Brett Farve (ha!). But since Brett Farve was Brett Farve, Hasselbeck didn’t see the field. It was only after he got traded to the Seattle Seahawks in 2001 that his NFL career took off. His stats included passing for 36,638 yards, having a career completion percentage of 60.5 (3,222-of-5,330), throwing 212 TDs & 153 INTs for a career passer rating of 82.4 and a career record of 85-75 (.531) as a starter.
In the playoffs, Hasselbeck threw for 2,741 yards, had a career completion percentage of 58.1 (236-of-406), throwing 18 TDs & 9 INTs for a career passer rating of 84.2 and a career record of 5-6 (.455) as a starter. This also included one start in the Super Bowl (Super Bowl XL back in the 2005-06 NFL Season). In Super Bowl XL, Hasselbeck ended up going 26-for-49 with 273 yards passing, 1 TD & INT as the Seahawks lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers 21-10. Hasselbeck may have lost that game but he has earned the respect and admiration of loyal Seahawks fan for many years to come.
#3. Luke Kuechly
Drafted: 1st Round, 9th overall in 2012 NFL Draft
Team: Carolina Panthers
Time in NFL: 2012-Present
One word to describe Luke Kuechly: phenomenal. This young man displays not only the hard hitting, nose-for-the-ball tenacity but as well as the skill, speed, and awareness to drop back into man or zone coverage. Already in his 5-year career in the NFL, Kuechly has 722 tackles (453 solo, 269 assists), 9.0 sacks, 45 pass deflected, 12 INTs, 5 fumble recoveries, and 1 defensive TD. Some of Kuechly’s early career accolades include being named to the Pro Bowl 4 times (2013-2016), made the All-Pro First-Team 3 times (2013-2015), being named NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2012, and NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2013.
In postseason play, games, Kuechly has played in 6 games while amassing 57 total tackles (24 solo, 33 assist), 2 sacks, 7 pass deflections, 3 interceptions, and 2 defensive touchdowns. This also includes the recent Super Bowl L where he posted 10 total tackles (7 solo, 3 assists) and had a sack in a 24-10 losing effort against the Denver Broncos. He did all that…while playing with a torn labrum.
But with the way that the Panthers have been playing and with his recent concussion history, Kuechly might fade out before he gets another chance to play in another Super Bowl.
And then there were two left. But the next two players might actually surprise you not for who they are but for the position that they play.
One of BC’s trademarks is that the football program is well-known for producing high quality NFL offensive linemen. There are plenty of good linemen to go around (Damien Woody, Ron Stone, and Dan Copen to name a few). However No. 2 & No. 1 were two linemen who stood above their peers in the NFL. Who were they? Scroll down and see.
#2. Chris Snee
Drafted: 2nd Round, 34th overall in 2004 NFL Draft
Team: New York Giants
Time in NFL: 2004-2013
With the recent struggles of the Giant offensive line lately, it’s easy to forget that at one point in time, the Giants’ O-Line was a well-oiled machine. One of the reasons why was because of the solid play of Chris Snee. Taken in the same draft as QB Eli Manning, Snee not only protected the young QB in his early stages but helped open up lanes for RB Tiki Barber to run through. From 2004-2006, Tiki Barber rushed for 1,500+ yards in each of those seasons thanks to Snee’s blocking. Snee also helped allow the likes of Brandon Jacobs, Ahmad Bradshaw, and Derrick Ward to rush for over 1,000 yards including in 2008 where Jacobs and Ward each rushed for over 1,000 yards.
Not to mention that during the Giants’ two Super Bowl victories over the New England Patriots, Snee helped pave the way for the Giants’ offense to succeed in both of those games. Unfortunately a hip injury during October of the 2013 season forced Snee to go on IR, which led him to retire from football in 2014. However with 2 Super Bowl victories, 3 Pro Bowl appearances, and a spot on the 2008 first Team All-Pro, one could say that Snee’s career was a very successful one.
#1. Tom Nalen
Drafted: 7th Round, 218th overall in 1994 NFL Draft
Team: Denver Broncos
Time in NFL: 1994-2008
Many consider Tom Nalen to be the best O-Lineman prospect to come out of BC during the Super Bowl Era. During his tenure with the Denver Broncos, Nalen was elected to 5 Pro Bowls (1997-2000, 2003) 3 All-Pro Teams (1999, 2000, 2003), and was named to both the Denver Broncos 50th Anniversary Team and the team’s Ring of Honor. Unfortunately for Nalen, his pro career ended before the likes of Pro Football Focus could come up with its statistics to grade offensive linemen. However, that’s where the eye ball test comes in.
Nalen was the core and staple of a Denver Broncos offensive line that allowed 6 different rushers (Terrell Davis, Mike Anderson, Olandis Gary, Clinton Portis, Rueben Droughns, Tatum Bell) to break the 1,000 yards rushing mark in 6 different season, including block the way for Terrell Davis’ 2,008 yard season back in 1998. He also helped John Elway get his last two Lombardi trophies in Super Bowl XXXII against the Green Bay Packers in 1998 and Super Bowl XXXIII against the Atlanta Falcons in 1999. Plus he gets bonus points for playing next to Mark Schlereth, who was notorious for ‘smelling really bad.’
From 1994-2008, the Broncos brought in many different quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers, and offensive linemen. But there was one constant thing each year: #66 was going to line up as center and he was going to hike the ball to however was playing on offense for the Broncos.
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