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Alabama Roots: The Super Bowl LVII Connection

Alabama Roots: The Super Bowl LVII Connection

Ten players from Alabama’s high schools and colleges are on active rosters of Super Bowl teams for this season’s NFL Championship Game.

The Kansas City Chiefs and the Philadelphia Eagles will clash at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona on February 12 at 5:30 PM CST to determine the champion of the NFL’s 2022 season.

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People with Alabama football roots eligible to play in Super Bowl LVII include:

, Eagles Safety Reed Blankenship (West Limestone) made Philadelphia’s roster as an undrafted rookie out of preseason, playing in 12 games and starting 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 and recovered a fumble while being tackled 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 has started every game and earned second-team recognition on the AP’s All-Pro team for the 2022 season.

, Eagles guard Landon Dickerson (Alabama) started every game of his second season at the left side of Philadelphia’s offensive line. The Eagles’ trip to the Super Bowl means Dickerson will miss the trip to Las Vegas for Pro Bowl games after earning an All-Star selection for the 2022 season. Dickerson suffered an elbow injury on Sunday that forced him to leave the NFC Championship Game in the second half.

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, Eagles offensive lineman Jack Driscoll (Auburn) is on standby to play tackle and guard. He played in every game in his third NFL season. Driscoll started and played every snap in the three contests – one at left tackle for Jordan Malata and two at right tackle in place of 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 QB. Hearts returned after missing two games because of a sprained throwing shoulder on December 18. Hurts, with a 15-1 record as the starting quarterback this season following the Eagles’ victory in the NFC Championship Game on Sunday, is the pick for it. Pro Bowl, earned All-Pro Second-Team recognition from The Associated Press and was named All-NFC quarterback by the Pro Football Writers of America.

, Eagles cornerback Josh Jobe (Alabama) earned a spot on Philadelphia’s 53-man roster coming out of the pre-season as an undrafted rookie. In his 11 regular season starts, Jobe had 12 defensive snaps and 220 special-teams plays. After the season he continued his special teams work.

, Eagles wide receiver Devonta Smith (Alabama) had 95 receptions for 1,196 yards and seven touchdowns during the regular season as he set Philadelphia records for receptions and receiving yards for a player in his first two seasons with the franchise. In the Eagles’ two playoff wins, Smith had eight receptions for 97 yards and a receiving touchdown.

, Chiefs wide receiver Kadarius Toney (Blount) began his second 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 has been beset by injuries, and he left the AFC Championship Game on Sunday with an ankle injury. In nine games with the Chiefs, Toney had 20 receptions for 216 yards and two touchdowns, six rushing attempts for 78 yards and a touchdown, and 12 punt returns for 78 yards in nine games.

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, Invasion of the Chiefs will deal with 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 contests for Kansas City and two in the playoffs. Used in a reserve role, Vanogho was on the field for 58 offensive snaps and 90 special-teams plays in those games.

, Eagles wide receiver Cuz Watkins (Athens) had 33 receptions for 354 yards and three touchdowns during his third NFL season.

Three other Alabama football natives have been on the rosters of Super Bowl teams:

, Chiefs running back La’Michael Perrine (Theodore) has been a member of the practice squad since Saturday. Perine was on Miami’s practice squad when the Dolphins’ 2022 season ended in a post-season loss. He hasn’t played this season, but Perine ran for 263 yards and two touchdowns on 72 carries over the past two seasons with the New York Jets.

, Chiefs wide receiver Justin Ross (Central-Phenix City) Has been on injured reserve all season. Kansas City placed the rookie free agent on IR as training camp opened following his foot surgery.

, Eagles Puncher Aryan Sipos (Auburn)’s season ended on December 11 due to an ankle injury suffered after scooping up a blocked punt and running with the football. In his second season as Philadelphia’s punter, Sipos averaged 45.6 yards on 44 punts in 2022 before suffering an injury.

Alabama’s connections to Super Bowl teams extend into the coaching staff:

Head assistant defensive line coach Terry Braden is a graduate of Tuskegee.

Eagles assistant special-teams coordinator Joe Pannunzio coached at Auburn and Alabama. He was the tight-ends coach and special-teams coordinator at Auburn in 1999 and Alabama in 2017. Pannunzio also served as the Crimson Tide’s director of football operations from 2010 to 2014 and was the running-backs coach in 2018.

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Eagles defensive-line coach Tracy Rocker is one of the most successful players in Auburn history. The two-time All-American won the Outland Trophy and Lombardi Award as the Tigers’ defensive tackle in 1988 and is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame. Rocker has also been an assistant coach at West Alabama, Troy and Auburn.

Eagles offensive-line coach Jeff Stoutland comes to Philadelphia after serving in that capacity at Alabama in the 2011 and 2012 seasons.

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Mark Inabinet is a sports reporter for Alabama Media Group. follow him on twitter @AMarkG1,

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