From head coaches to college athletes to prep stars, the state of Utah has a variety of ties to the NFL's premier game — the Super Bowl.
There will be a chance for others to make their mark, as seven players with ties to the Beehive State are on the rosters of this year's Super Bowl participants: the Ravens and the 49ers.
But whether it was former BYU quarterbacks Steve Young and Jim McMahon guiding their teams to victory, or an Aggie and a Ute helping the Packers secure wins in the first two Super Bowls, the state of Utah has already enjoyed several moments in the NFL's championship game.
For those players fortunate enough to have been part of a Super Bowl-bound team, especially a title-winning team, it's an experience that sticks with them.
"Every guy in here made a commitment," Young told his teammates in the locker room after he and the 49ers won Super Bowl XXIX. "You know you did. There were times when it was dark. It was really dark. And we turned back into each other's faces and committed to each other. You knew we had to do it this way.
"This is the greatest feeling in the world, is it not? ... I share this with every one of you guys. Everyone in this room made a commitment, and we're there. And no one can ever, ever take it away from us. Ever!"
Here is a look at 10 ties the state of Utah has to the Super Bowl.
Email: [email protected]; Twitter: brandonljudd
Former BYU star quarterback Steve Young had one of the NFL title game's most memorable performances when the 49ers beat San Diego 49-26 in Super Bowl XXIX. The most impressive stat from the game was Young's six touchdown passes, breaking the Super Bowl record of five TDs thrown by former teammate Joe Montana.
Much like his days as a Cougar, Young captained an explosive offense, as San Francisco put up 455 total yards and 28 first downs en route to taking a 28-10 lead into halftime.
Young's first touchdown pass came 1:24 into the game on a 44-yard pass to Jerry Rice. His record-breaking sixth touchdown pass again went to Rice, this time just over a minute into the fourth quarter.
Young earned Super Bowl MVP honors that day; in the same year he won his second regular-season Associated Press MVP award.
Up next: The coach who guided Young's 49ers to the Super Bowl.
While it was a Cougar who quarterbacked the 49ers to victory in Super Bowl XXIX, it was a Ute calling the shots. George Seifert, San Francisco's head coach from 1989-96, played collegiately at the University of Utah.
Following his playing days at Utah, he spent a season as a graduate assistant with the Utes. Seifert followed that up with a year as head coach at Westminster College, at the age of 24.
His coaching career eventually led him to San Francisco, where he took over as the 49ers' defensive backs coach in 1980. He became the team's defensive coordinator in 1983 and replaced the retiring Bill Walsh as San Francisco's head coach in 1989.
In his first season as the 49ers head coach, Seifert and a Joe Montana-led team beat the Broncos 55-10 in Super Bowl XXIII, the biggest margin of victory in the championship game. Seifert is one of only three coaches to lead a team to a Super Bowl victory in their rookie season as a head coach.
"Putting my stamp on the team wasn't one of my goals," Seifert told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch in an article published on the eve of Super Bowl XXIII. "My goal was one of continuity. I've been with this club for 10 years, and I'm familiar with the organization. I know the offense and defense. I know how we handle personnel."
That continuity is apparent in his Super Bowl record: as either the head coach or an assistant for the 49ers, Seifert compiled a 5-0 mark.
Up next: A former Cougar player (and current administrator) makes his mark.
Another former athlete with deep Cougar connections and a coaching background made his way into elite Super Bowl territory. Tom Holmoe (far left in picture), who played defensive back at BYU in the late 1970s and early '80s and is now the school's athletic director, is one of just 18 men who have won a Super Bowl as both a player and a coach.
All of Holmoe's Super Bowl victories came with the 49ers. Holmoe came in off the bench for San Francisco in Super Bowls XIX and XXIII, registering four solo tackles and an assisted tackle in the 49ers' 38-16 win over Miami in Super Bowl XIX. He also played in seven regular-season games in 1989, when the 49ers won their second straight NFL title in Super Bowl XXIV.
After retiring from football, Holmoe went into coaching, and in 1994, he rejoined San Francisco as the team's defensive backs coach. He stayed there two years, winning a third Super Bowl ring with the 1994 team.
Up next: An Aggie and a Ute earn rings in Super Bowls I and II.
A pair of players with Utah connections were on the Green Bay Packers teams that won the first two Super Bowls, and both players started in the championship games.
Lionel Aldridge of Utah State manned the right defensive end position for the Packers in Super Bowls I and II. In Green Bay's 35-10 Super Bowl I win over Kansas City, Aldridge had four solo tackles and a sack. In the Packers' 33-14 Super Bowl II victory over Oakland, Aldridge had a tackle for a loss.
Former Ute Marv Fleming started at tight end for the Packers in the first two Super Bowls. With future Hall of Famer Bart Starr throwing passes his way, Fleming caught two passes for 22 yards in Super Bowl I, including an 11-yard reception on a third-and-5. Both catches came on touchdown drives. In Super Bowl II, Fleming had four receptions for 35 yards, with three of the catches coming on field goal-scoring drives.
Fleming also played in Super Bowl VI for Miami, which lost 24-3 to Dallas.
Up next: A pair of Ute brothers find their way to the Super Bowl.
A lot of the hype surrounding Super Bowl XLVII has circled around the fact the 49ers and Ravens head coaches are brothers. John Harbaugh has been the head coach of Baltimore since 2008, while Jim Harbaugh is in his second year as head coach of the 49ers.
Utah has its own brotherly connection to the Super Bowl. Kevin and Andre Dyson, both standout athletes at Utah, are one of just 22 sets of brothers who have played in the NFL's title matchup.
Wide receiver Kevin Dyson played for Tennessee in Super Bowl XXIV against St. Louis and for Carolina in Super Bowl XXXVIII against New England; defensive back Andre Dyson's lone title game appearance was for Seattle against Pittsburgh in Super Bowl XL. Unfortunately for the brothers, their teams went 0-3 in the big game.
Kevin Dyson was involved in one of the most iconic plays in Super Bowl history in the Titans' 23-16 loss to the Rams. With six seconds to play and Tennessee at the St. Louis 10, quarterback Steve McNair hit Dyson on a slant pattern, and it appeared Dyson had the inside track for the touchdown. But St. Louis linebacker Mike Jones made a diving tackle on Dyson, leaving the former Ute wide receiver stretching the ball for the goal line as time expired. He came up a yard short.
Up next: Cougars and Utes join the Super Bowl head coaching ranks.
A pair of coaches tied to the Utes' program, George Siefert and Jim Fassel, have coached in the Super Bowl; three former Cougars turned NFL head coaches have led teams to the Super Bowl.
The Utes have the edge in overall record. Former Utah player Seifert went 2-0 with the 49ers in the title game, while Fassel — who coached Utah from 1985-89 — and the New York Giants fell to Baltimore in Super Bowl XXXV.
For BYU, only Brian Billick — a former Cougar tight end — has a winning record in the NFL title game, as his Ravens beat Fassel's Giants 34-7. Mike Holmgren, BYU's quarterbacks coach for four years in the 1980s, won in his first Super Bowl as head coach when the Packers topped the Patriots 35-21 in Super Bowl XXXI. He then lost his final two Super Bowl games, one with Green Bay and another with Seattle. Former Cougar offensive lineman Andy Reid and his Eagles fell in their only Super Bowl appearance together, in 2005 to New England. Reid also was an assistant in Green Bay under Holmgren, earning one Super Bowl ring.
Up next: An Aggie helps Green Bay bring home another title.
In the most recent Super Bowl matchup involving several players with Utah ties, former Utah State cornerback Jarrett Bush made the biggest impact.
Bush, a strong special teams contributor for the Packers, and Green Bay edged Pittsburgh for the title two years ago. The Steelers had four Utah connections: defensive end Brett Keisel (BYU), nose tackle Chris Hoke (BYU), left guard Chris Kemoeatu (Utah) and linebacker Stevenson Sylvester (Utah).
Bush was given the opportunity for more playing time when Green Bay cornerback Charles Woodson broke his collarbone in the second quarter. Bush responded with a solid all-around game, with two solo tackles, an assisted tackle, a QB hurry and a pass defended. His biggest play, though, was a second-quarter interception of Ben Roethlisberger that led to a Packers touchdown four plays later.
Up next: A BYU duo with multiple Super Bowl wins on multiple teams.
For two former Cougars, a Super Bowl ring with one team wasn't enough. Bart Oates, one of BYU's top talents ever on the offensive line, won three Super Bowl rings in his 11-year NFL career; Jim McMahon, a part of the Cougars' illustrious quarterback factory, won a pair of Super Bowls.
Oates started at center in each of his three Super Bowl victories, twice with the New York Giants in Super Bowls XXI and XXV, and again with San Francisco in Super Bowl XXIX. He is the only BYU player to start in three Super Bowls and have a perfect record.
McMahon's first title came with the Bears in Super Bowl XX, a team made famous in part by its dominating defense and the Super Bowl shuffle; he added a second championship when he was a backup to Brett Favre in Green Bay's 35-21 win over the Patriots in Super Bowl XXXI.
Up next: Cougar quarterbacks find success in the big game.
Any time a former Cougar quarterback has been on a Super Bowl roster, his team has won. Three former BYU QBs — Jim McMahon, Steve Young and Marc Wilson — have a combined seven Super Bowl titles, with one win each as a starter for McMahon and Young.
Wilson won titles with the Raiders in Super Bowl XV and XVIII, playing only in the second win and never throwing a pass.
McMahon completed 12-of-20 passes for 256 yards and scored a pair of short touchdown runs as the Bears beat New England 46-10 in Super Bowl XX in the first Super Bowl start for a BYU quarterback. McMahon did not play when he earned his second ring with Green Bay in Super Bowl XXXI.
Young picked up a pair of titles as a backup before earning his first Super Bowl title as a starter. When San Francisco won back-to-back championships in Super Bowls XXIII and XXIV, Young completed 2-of-3 passes for 20 yards. His lone title-game start came in Super Bowl XXIX against San Diego, as he completed 24-of-36 passes for 325 yards and his Super Bowl record six touchdowns.
Up next: Only a few players from Utah have made it to the premier game.
This year, three players who played high school football in Utah — Highland High School's Haloti Ngata, Timpanogos's Paul Kruger and East's Will Tukuafu — will play in the Super Bowl.
According to databasefootball.com, of the 104 players who were born in or played high school football in Utah and have gone on to the NFL prior to this season, only 14 were on teams that made it to the Super Bowl. Of those 14, only five have been on Super Bowl-winning teams.
Four of the five title winners attended BYU. They include Steve Young (born in Salt Lake, three titles with the 49ers); Brett Keisel (born in Provo, also played at Snow College and has two championships with Pittsburgh); Mat Mendenhall (attended East High School, won a Super Bowl with Washington); and Golden Richards (attended Granite High School, won one title with Dallas and played in another with the Cowboys).
The fifth player is Blaine Nye, who was born in Ogden and played collegiately at Stanford. A starter at guard for Dallas in the 1970s, he played in three Super Bowls, winning one ring with the Cowboys.