Kyle Van Noy is headed to his third straight Super Bowl, while JoJo Natson will get his first taste of the championship game.
The duo represent the two Utah ties on active rosters for this year’s Super Bowl LIII participants: the New England Patriots and the Los Angeles Rams.
Van Noy, the former BYU linebacker, started for the Patriots in their 37-31 overtime victory over the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday in the AFC championship game and made several big plays.
The former Utah State speedster Natson, meanwhile, played a minimal role for the Rams in their 23-20 overtime win over the New Orleans Saints in the NFC championship game.
Three other local ties — all former Utah players — are on the Super Bowl rosters: cornerback Eric Rowe is on the Patriots’ injured reserve, while cornerback Dominique Hatfield is on IR for the Rams and offensive lineman J.J. Dielman is on Los Angeles’ practice squad.
Van Noy had 10 tackles, two sacks and a forced fumble for New England on conference championship Sunday.
He sacked Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes for a 14-yard loss on a third-and-10 play in the first quarter, then strip sacked Mahomes on the final play of the first half.
The former Cougar has appeared with the Patriots in the past two Super Bowls, winning a ring with New England in a 34-28 win over Atlanta in Super Bowl LI.
Former BYU safety Daniel Sorensen started for the Chiefs in the losing effort and intercepted Patriots quarterback Tom Brady in the fourth quarter, then returned the pick 24 yards to set Kansas City up at the New England 23. Two plays later, the Chiefs took their first lead, 21-17, on a touchdown pass.
Earlier in the quarter, Sorensen made a key stop on fourth-and-inches inside the Kansas City 25 that kept New England from trying to add to its 17-14 lead.
Sorensen also recorded a game-high 14 tackles, including 11 solo, and had a pass deflection, while former Layton High wide receiver Marcus Kemp played on special teams for the Chiefs.
In the NFC title game, the second-year pro Natson had a kickoff return for 17 yards and a punt return for no gain. Natson is the first former Aggie to reach the Super Bowl since tight end D.J. Tialavea with the Falcons in Super Bowl LI.
Former BYU quarterback Taysom Hill scored on a 2-yard touchdown reception to give the Saints a 20-10 lead in the third quarter. Hill also had a carry for 0 yards and was incomplete on his only pass attempt.
Former Utah defender Marcus Williams started for the Saints at free safety and had five tackles, including four solo stops.28 comments on this story
Like Van Noy, Rowe is headed back to a third straight Super Bowl in New England. This year, though, Rowe is sidelined after he landed on IR on Oct. 31 with a groin injury. Rowe played in four games and started twice with 10 tackles and a pass deflection before being lost for the year.
Hatfield has been on injured reserve for the Rams since Week 14 with an ankle injury. He had a tackle in 10 games played, primarily on special teams, before the injury in his second NFL season.
Dielman was added to the Los Angeles practice squad on Nov. 7, his third NFL team in 2018. The second-year pro was recently tagged with an injury designation while staying on the Rams’ practice squad.