WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- Although it’s most widely known as the “Cradle of Quarterbacks,” Purdue is also becoming a perennial producer of Super Bowl talent.
"Well, we've got on our wall at the indoor facility, ‘Super Bowl champions are born at Purdue,’ and it's something that we take a lot of pride in,” said Tom Schott, Purdue’s senior associate athletics director of communications.
For an 18th straight season, at least one former Purdue player will compete for a championship.
"It's something we take a lot of pride in and it certainly makes the playoffs more interesting. When the match ups are first announced you kind of look to see who has the best chance of keeping the streak going,” Schott said.
Purdue’s Super Bowl tradition goes all the way back to the very first game. Quarterback Len Dawson appeared in Super Bowl I with the Kansas City Chiefs, but it wasn’t until Super Bowl IV that he would win to become Purdue’s first Super Bowl champion.
“Bob Griese won three Super Bowls with the Dolphins, and most recently, Drew Brees was the MVP of Super Bowl XLI. Purdue and Alabama are the only two schools to have three quarterbacks to win a Super Bowl.”
While former Boilers cornerback Ricardo Allen will compete for his first Lombardi Trophy with a Falcons team also making its Super Bowl debut, Purdue product turned Patriot Rob Nincovich is quite familiar with the Super Bowl stage.
“Rob, on the other hand, has been a Super Bowl winner before with the Patriots. I know Colts fans don't want to hear this, but the Patriots are a big reason we have the streak,” Schott added.
Indianapolis native Rosevelt Colvin among those Boilers who went on to win titles with New England, and Schott says there’s a strong connection between the programs.
“I think the legendary coach of the Patriots, Bill Belichick, said they like the work ethic of Purdue guys,” Schott said. “They like the quality of the man, and I think that speaks very highly. We've had a lot of Patriots through the years and I think that's reflected in all the teams we’ve had Super Bowl players on."
Of those 18-straight Super Bowl appearances in which Purdue has been represented, they’ve had a champion in 13 of those, and no matter Sunday’s result, they’ll add to that total.
“This year is one of the really good years, where we have a player on both teams, so we are guaranteed a winner,” Schott said with a smile. “Obviously it makes it tougher because you're also guaranteed a loser. It's exciting, it's fun, it's great for the program and speaks to the level of player we've had at Purdue and also to the quality of teams they've gone on to play for in the NFL.”