Championship weekend is officially over, but the NFL showcased a jam-packed Sunday that, much like any other playoff event in professional sports, was exciting, unpredictable and shocking. The Seattle Seahawks came out victorious against Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers, and, well, let me just say that I’m still shocked over what happened in the last few minutes of that game. As for the New England Patriots, the veteran leadership of quarterback Tom Brady and head coach Bill Belichick was on full display against the Indianapolis Colts. The game wasn’t even close.
With Super Bowl 49 set for February 1, 2015 in Glendale, Arizona, the Seahawks and the Patriots have a lot to look forward to. Not only will this be the first time in 10 years that an NFL team made back-to-back Super Bowl appearances (Seahawks), but, amazingly, this will be New England’s sixth time playing in the Super Bowl since 2000.
There’s no doubt that Seattle and New England will have a lot of preparation to do, but there’s also another storyline that’s brewing for many Oregon Duck fans. The Super Bowl will feature four former Ducks: Patrick Chung, LeGarrette Blount, Max Unger and Will Tukuafu.
Both Chung and Blount played integral roles in New England’s victory over Indianapolis on Sunday night, and they’re expected to do the same in the Super Bowl. Chung’s career at Oregon was highlighted by great defense and he also received First-team All-Pac-10 honors twice (2007, 2008). Chung also holds a very unique record at the University of Oregon: he started 51 consecutive games for the Ducks’ defense, which is the most for any defensive player in Oregon’s football program history.
On the flip side, Blount’s career at Oregon was short-lived, as he only played one full season with the Ducks; however, Blount used the 2008 season to show the football world what he could do when given the opportunity. The powerful running back rushed for 1,002 yards and he also had 17 rushing touchdowns, and he played an integral role in Oregon’s victory over Oklahoma State in the 2008 Holiday Bowl.
For Seattle, Unger has been a prominent presence. But long before he protected Russell Wilson, he protected Oregon quarterbacks. In his four years with the Ducks (2005-2008), Unger started on the offensive line and he was named as a First-team All-American in 2008, while also receiving First-team All-Pac-10 honors in 2007 and 2008. Seattle took Unger in the second round of the 2009 NFL Draft, and he holds the unique distinction of being the Ducks’ highest selected offensive linemen since 1972. As for Tukuafu, he’s listed as a fullback for Seattle, but Oregon Duck fans will always remember him for his physical defense. From 2007-2009, Tukuafu produced 13 sacks and 126 total tackles.
Super Bowl 49 will be a tough and physical battle, but there’s no doubt that the University of Oregon will be represented come Super Bowl Sunday.
Top Photo by Craig Strobeck