Ten Alabama high school and college players are on the active rosters of Super Bowl teams for this season’s NFL championship game.
The Kansas City Chiefs and the Philadelphia Eagles will square off at 5:30 p.m. CST Feb. 12 at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Ariz., to determine the 2022 NFL season champion.
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Those with Alabama football roots eligible to play in Super Bowl LVII include:
· Reed Blankenship Safety Eagles (West Limestone) made Philadephia’s roster coming out of the preseason as an undrafted rookie, played in 12 games and started five contests, including last week’s playoff win over the New York Giants. In Sunday’s NFC Championship Game, Blankenship ended the San Francisco 49ers’ final possession by forcing and recovering a fumble while making a tackle for a 7-yard loss.
· Eagles cornerback James Bradberry (Pleasant Grove, Samford) was released by the New York Giants in a salary cap decision in May and signed a one-year contract with Philadelphia. In his seventh NFL season, Bradberry started every game and received second-team honors on the AP All-Pro team for the 2022 season.
· The Eagles guard Landon Dickerson (Alabama) started every game of his sophomore season on the left side of Philadelphia’s offensive line. The Eagles’ trip to the Super Bowl means Dickerson will miss a trip to Las Vegas for the Pro Bowl Games after earning their all-star pick for the 2022 season. Dickerson suffered an elbow injury Sunday that forced him out of the NFC Championship Game in the second half.
· Eagles offensive lineman Jack Driscoll (Auburn) is standing by to play tackle and guard. He played in every game in his third NFL season. Driscoll started and played every snap in three games: one at left tackle for Jordan Mailata and two at right tackle for Lane Johnson.
· Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts (Alabama) is a finalist for the AP’s NFL Most Valuable Player Award in his second season as Philadelphia’s starting quarterback. Hurts returned after missing two games with a shoulder sprain suffered on December 18. With a 15-1 starting quarterback record this season following the Eagles’ win in Sunday’s NFC championship game, Hurts was picked to the Pro Bowl, earned second-team All-Pro honors from the Associated Press and he was named quarterback All-NFC by the Pro Football Writers of America.
· Eagles cornerback Josh Jobe (Alabama) earned a spot on Philadelphia’s 53-man roster exiting the preseason as an undrafted rookie. In his 11 regular season appearances, Jobe had 12 defensive snaps and 220 special teams games. He continued his special teams work into the postseason.
· Eagles wide receiver DeVonta Smith (Alabama) had 95 receptions for 1,196 yards and seven touchdowns during the regular season while setting Philadelphia records for receptions and receiving yards by a player in his first two seasons with the franchise. In the Eagles’ two playoff victories, Smith had eight receptions for 97 yards and a touchdown.
· Chiefs wide receiver Kadarius Toney (Blount) began his sophomore NFL season with the New York Giants, who traded the former prep quarterback to Kansas City on October 27 for third- and sixth-round picks in the 2023 NFL Draft. Toney’s NFL career she was marred by injuries and left the AFC Championship Game on Sunday with an ankle injury. In nine games with the Chiefs, Toney has 20 receptions for 216 yards and two touchdowns, six rush attempts for 78 yards and one touchdown, and 12 punt returns for 78 yards in nine games.
· Chiefs offensive tackle Prince Tega Wanogho (Edgewood Academy, Auburn) played in three regular season games in his first two NFL seasons. But in 2022 he has played in all 17 games for Kansas City plus two playoff games. Used in a backup role, Wanogho was on the field for 58 offensive snaps and 90 special teams games in those games.
· Eagles wide receiver Quez Watkins (Athens) had 33 receptions for 354 yards and three touchdowns in his third NFL season.
Three other players with Alabama football roots are on the rosters of Super Bowl teams:
· The Chiefs run back La’Mical Perine (Theodore) has been on the practice squad since Saturday. Perine was on Miami’s practice squad as the Dolphins’ 2022 season ended in a postseason loss. He did not play this season, but Perine rushed for 263 yards and two touchdowns on 72 carries in his previous two seasons with the New York Jets.
· Chiefs wide receiver Justyn Ross (Central-Phenix City) has been on injured reserve all season. Kansas City put the rookie free agent on IR as training camp was opening up after he had foot surgery.
· Eagle Punter Arryn Siposs (Auburn) ended his season with an ankle injury sustained on December 11 when he was tackled after picking up a blocked punt and running with the football. In his second season as a punter for Philadelphia, Siposs averaged 45.6 yards on 44 punts in 2022 before getting injured.
Alabama connections extend to the coaching staff of Super Bowl teams:
· Chiefs defensive line assistant coach Terry Bradden is a graduate of Tuskegee.
· Joe Pannunzio, assistant special teams coordinator for the Eagles, coached at Auburn and Alabama. He served as tight-ends coach and special teams coordinator at Auburn in 1999 and Alabama in 2017. Pannunzio also served as director of football operations for the Crimson Tide from 2010 to 2014 and was the running-backs coach in 2018.
· Eagles defensive line coach Tracy Rocker is one of the most decorated players in Auburn history. The two-time All-American won the Outland Trophy and Lombardi Award as a defensive tackle for the Tigers in 1988 and is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame. Rocker also served as an assistant coach at West Alabama, Troy and Auburn.
Eagles offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland comes to Philadelphia from Alabama in the 2011 and 2012 seasons.
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Mark Inabinett is a sports reporter for Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter at @AMarkG1.