Mormons in Super Bowl history

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Associated Press

Tukuafu graduated from East High in Salt Lake City before playing at Scottsdale Community College and transferring to Oregon.

Seeing time in the 2012 NFC East championship, Tukuafu recorded one tackle and one assisted tackle against the New England Patriots.

Tukuafu played in Super Bowl XLVII with the 49ers, which his team lost to the Ravens.

Tukuafu served an LDS mission in Jamaica.
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Portland, OR

Also a Mormon: Mitchell Kent Hoopes had a three-year career in the National Football League from 1975 to 1977 as a punter. He played in Super Bowl X as a member of the Dallas Cowboys.

I went to High School with Mitch. He played college at the University of Arizona.

The Dixie Kid
Saint George, UT

2 Highland High School guys too.

Columbia, MO

According to my count, there are 26 former BYU players in this list and 14 from all other schools combined (including Utah). It would have been nice to include the alma mater of each player with the photo, but that might have prompted the usual critical comments that the Deseret News is a BYU newspaper. It is a fact, however, that BYU has produced more Mormon stars in the NFL.

So. Cal Reader
San Diego, CA

Nice list. I enjoyed the stroll down memory lane.

The Skeptical Chymist

I would be curious to know how many players on this list have suffered brain injuries as a result of this sport. The incidence of brain injury to professional football players is a terrible price exacted on these players. I hope we can get to the point of either making football safe or getting rid of the "sport".

American Fork, UT

"The Skeptical Chymist"

I know personally 5 guys on that list and I'm here to tell you - all 5 have suffered severe brain injuries. But I don't think it has anything to do with football...

The Skeptical Chymist

Thanks, Hoosier87. I'm sorry to hear it.

Papa Bear Andy
Reno, NV

Bart Oates definitely did NOT participate in SB XVI with the 49ers. Only SB XXIX.

Salt Lake City, UT

Ugg. Another famous mormon list.

southern son

"...Remember the Sabbath Day, and keep it Holy.."
'nuf said...

Lew Scannon
Provo, UT

I'm an editor. It's easy to get brain damage in my profession too. (:

water rocket
Magna, UT

Did Merlin Olsen ever play in a super bowl?

Wilsonville, OR

Proving once again that "EVERY day is game day"!

Over the Top
Rigby, ID

@ Water rocket:

Merlin Olsen retired from the LA Rams before they ever made their first Super Bowl Appearance.

Las Vegas, NV

How long was Golden Richards actually at BYU?


how many of these fellows are active in said faith?

Calgary, Alberta

I think I've got brain damage from reading cranky comments. Always gotta be somebody.....

southern son

Any of you all ever consider the true driving force behind Sunday sports?It sure wasn't the Lord...and good question 'thebig1'.

Gregg Kay
Parker, CO

LDS member Jon Keyworth played tight end for the Denver Broncos in their 27-10 loss to the Dallas Cowboys in Super Bowl XII in 1977. He played his college football for the University of Colorado.

Grannie Annie
American Fork, UT

Your list is not complete. You missed Glenn Cameron who lived in my ward in Cincinnati. The following is from Wikipedia: Glenn Scott Cameron (born February 21, 1953) is a former American college and professional football player who was a linebacker in the National Football League (NFL) for eleven seasons during the 1970s and 1980s. Cameron played college football for the University of Florida, and thereafter, he played professionally for the Cincinnati Bengals of the NFL. Cameron was chosen by the Cincinnati Bengals in the first round (fourteenth pick overall) of the 1975 NFL Draft,[6] and he spent his entire eleven-year NFL career with the Bengals, playing from 1975 to 1985. He was a member of the American Football Conference (AFC) champion Bengals team that played in Super Bowl XVI in 1982. During his eleven-season career with the Bengals, he played in 159 games, started in eighty-four of them, intercepted five passes, and recovered three fumbles.[1]

Utah Soldier
Bountiful, UT

You forgot Marv Bateman, punter for the Cowboys in Superbowl IV. He is the only Ute to make 1st Team All-American twice.

Utah Soldier
Bountiful, UT

I meant Superbowl VI

Pat Young

You also forgot PAUL HOWARD, Denver Broncos 13 years, BYU 4 years

West Jordan, UT




"how many of these fellows are active in said faith?"

southern son


"Any of you all ever consider the true driving force behind Sunday sports?It sure wasn't the Lord...and good question 'thebig1'"

I'm not sure exactly where you are going with these comments. I'm not sure if you are members of the church or anti-mormons. either way, from how i read your comments, it seems to me that you are judging these NFL players as not living up to there LDS standards. the key word in there is JUDGING! I don't think any of us has any right to judge and scorn the personal lives and choices of these people. One of my family members is on this list and he was one of the most humble and righteous examples of how we should live a Christ-like life. So what if they have to work on sunday. There are many professions that force people to work and provide for their family on sunday. I think those types of things are between that person and the Lord. Like i said, I'm not sure how you were wanting to state your comments, but we should tread lightly on how we say things.

Plano, TX

Golden Richards spent 3 years at BYU, then his senior year at Hawaii.

Salt Lake City, UT

So, in the interest of fair and balanced reporting, I expect the DN to shortly print lists of Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Jehovah's Witnesses, and Wicans who have played in the Super Bowl. Maybe even atheists.

Mormons shouldn't even be watching the Super Bowl. So why does the Church's newspaper extol members who play in it?

Next thing we'll see is a list of nominal Mormons who star in R-rated movies.

Malta, MT

Forgot Junior Ioane Played for the Raiders during the 2002 season. Raiders lost to Tampa Bay in the Super Bowl.

Pleasant Grove, UT

To Curmudgeon...who told you Mormons can't watch the Super Bowl? You sure got bad information.

Sandy, UT

@southern son...Curmedgeon

Are you guys in charge of how many steps Mormons can take on the Sabbath or whether or not they can remove their ox from a mire?

A bit presumptuous don't you think?


Define active.

LDS all over the world work on Sundays and their tithing is accepted as clean lucre. You've got the wrong religion if you think every move a Latter Day Saint makes is laid out for them by way of commandment.

Salt Lake City, UT

southern son,

"...Judge not that ye be not judged..."
'Nuff said.

Jeff ls
Farr West, 84404

Please remember that the Mormon Times is an attachment in the Deseret News and appears only on Sunday. This article about LDS athletes appearing in the Super Bowl is an article of interest that perhaps LDS folks might be interested in. It is an honor to play in the super bowl or an all star game or to be named to some special hall of fame. Let me share a little thought about Sundays. I am LDS, I try my best to live my religion. I have worked on Sundays during my career. I had a military connection and I have spent a lot of time in a galaxy far, far away defending freedom. I counted it a priveledge. I am, now retired. Do I work on Sunday now?, no, do I watch games on Sunday?, no. I love the college game. I also love to hear stories about athletes who are worthy of emulation. LDS or not. In the professional ranks, that is fairly rare now days. No reason to jump off a cliff here.

American Fork, UT

Another ritual to add to my usual two, trying to figure out roman numerals and catching the ads....thinking about all the domestic abuse. As for the football game...meh.

St George, UT

You left off Marv Bateman, one of the best punters in college history for University of Utah. He was the rookie punter for Dallas in Super Bowl VI.

timberwolf Kanab, Ut
Kanab, UT

West Jordan, UT

Thanks for your post.

Here is one that may not have played in a Super Bowl, but he played in the NFL and I am pretty sure he is true to the faith, Elder Gifford Nielsen First Quorum of The Seventies.

Calgary, Alberta

To Southern Son and others.
Judge not, that ye be not judged.
Are you as judgemental about doctors and nurses who's shifts require Sunday employment. How about your local gas station, when you are too close to empty to get to work on Monday. Or the Flight that you must take on a Sunday, or hotels that you have to book for Sunday. Look in the mirror my brother.

Ft Thomas, KY

I have much more admiration and respect for the occasional Mormon athlete who decides that honoring the Sabbath Day is more important than the praise of the world.

American Fork, UT

When you break out a specific religion as a subset of some sort of human accomplishment, is it any wonder that religion is seen as not mainstream?

Iowa City, IA

@ Curmedgeon:

My uncle, who was an LDS bishop in a BYU ward when Steve Young was playing in the Super Bowl, announced at the end of church on Super Bowl Sunday: "We all should go home and support Brother Young in his calling!" I know I supported him by watching the game on TV--a great memory.


All the sabbath is,is time to spend with the LORD,the lord has no problem with anyone working on sunday,if it is supporting ones family,you can worship the lord on any day you want,as long as you set time aside to worship him our beloved father in heaven,so haters STOP BEING SO JUDGEMENTAL,let he who is without sin cast the 1st stone

Oslo, Norway, 00

Mat Mendenhall IS NOT the older brother of the current BYU head coach.

Time for people to move on.

Salt Lake City, UT

The Church teaches one to keep the Sabbath Day holy and abstain from working on the Sabbath. That is unless you are a NFL football star. In that case you are revered and idolized. I am confused?

Eagle Mountain, UT

Hutterite - I love your posts. They make me laugh.

For the record - I have seen lists of famous Catholics in various endeavors (sports, theater, science, etc..). Also Jews, Germans, Japanese, Blacks, Whites, Hispanics, Americans, Canadians, Floridians, Californians, and the list goes on. In fact I see lists like this all the time in all forms of media. Articles are written because they have interest for the readers of a publication. 70% of the state of Utah is LDS so an article about LDS athletes in the religion section of a Utah paper owned by the LDS Church is a uneventful occurrence.

No one thinks that the LDS church is not a main stream religion except people with an axe to grind. That "argument" is nothing more than a small minded dig. Did you know that there are as many Mormons as there are Jews in the world? Are you going to claim Judaism is not "main stream"?

BTW - do you even know what a hutterite is?

Hockey Fan
Miles City, MT

My dad and oldest brother were career military men. Sometimes their occupation required them to work on Sundays.

I have friends who are in law enforcement. Sometimes their occupation requires them to work on Sundays.

I have friends who are medical professionals. Sometimes their occupation requires them to work on Sundays.

Sometimes I have to travel on Sundays so many miles that I have to stop at a gas station to refuel. The people at the gas stations have occupations that sometimes require them to work on Sundays.

The list could go on and on, so please, enough of the self-righteous, snarky comments about professional athletes whose occupation sometimes requires them to work on Sundays. We don't know how they spend their non-game-day Sundays, and we don't know what kind of private time they spend in their spiritual devotion even on game-day Sundays.

Eagle Mountain, UT

Hockey Fan - I do know a little about how Steve Young spent his time on Game Day Sunday. Posted on the wall of the production booth is a crib sheet for the TV crews schedule for the day. At 6AM Young would post a notice for "Nose Bleed Sacrament Meetings". Apparently Young would hold a testimony meeting (and I think sacrament but my memory is a little vague on this) in the stands some time in the morning before the game. This was for LDS members on either team, the TV crew and anyone else who wanted to attend.

I heard this first hand from a camera man who attended several of these meetings over the years. He said many players and crew members were very grateful to Young for doing this because their job kept them from church so often. My friend said that Young go permission from the Church for this and I think it may have also included sacrament being passed. But as I said, I don't remember that for sure.

So while the Church has said that working on Sunday is not a sin if your career requires it, Steve Young definitely went above and beyond what was required.

Helendale, CA

I do not watch sports on Sunday. That is my personal choice. I do not judge those who do. That is their personal choice. I would prefer that sports not be played or televised on Sundays, but I cannot change that. BTW, I much prefer college sports.

Hockey Fan
Miles City, MT

@ PP from Eagle Mountain:

Thank you so much for sharing the information about Steve Young. I found it inspiring. I was a grad student at BYU during the Steve Young years. He was so much fun to watch. I'd sometimes get frustrated at how careless he seemed to be with the football in his hands as he scrambled and jumped over and around defenders. He was exciting to watch and an amazing competitor. I think he has been a credit to the Church over the years, as well.

He did a terrific job as co-MC at President Monson's 85th birthday gala celebration.

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