Sunday, February 03, 2008

Super Sunday | by Pat

If you don't already have a rooting interest in today's big game, there is always the tried and true method of picking the team with the most Notre Dame players.

In that case, prepare to root for the New York Giants, who feature several Irish players. Justin Tuck has emerged as a key defenseman for the Giants along the line. Jerome Collins was also brought on as a tight end during the year and Marcus Freeman is currently a member of the practice squad. On the Patriots side, the lone Domer is Mike Richardson, currently on injured reserve.

There's also the case of that Charlie Weis guy, a childhood Giants fan who cut his teeth under Bill Parcells and the Giants, but came to ND after making his bones with the Super Bowl champion Patriots. Just don't look for him to be in the stadium today.

Charlie Weis was the first person Bill Belichick hugged on the sidelines after the Patriots completed their 16-0 regular season at Giants Stadium.

The Notre Dame coach was Belichick's offensive coordinator on all three Super Bowl champions and he was the Patriots' guest that historic evening. Do not expect him, however, to be at Super Bowl XLII. "I just felt very uncomfortable that night," Weis said. "It was great being there to see them do it but I was a Giant fan growing up and worked for that organization, too. I think I'll just watch this one from the couch."

Tim McDonnell, Wellington Mara's grandson (the son of Wellington's daughter Susan) is on his staff at Notre Dame.

"It's kind of hard to stand on the Patriots' sideline when that's the case," Weis said.
Justin Tuck has received his fair share of press leading up to the game in part due to the fact that he's second cousins with the Patriots Adalius Thomas and both hail from the same small rural high school. There was an excellent writeup in the New York Times on their hometown, the close-knit community of Coosa Country, Alabama.
The fact that Justin Tuck and Adalius Thomas are cousins seems to matter only to outsiders. What people in Coosa County ponder is the probability that two boys from one small high school (about 100 in each graduating class), in a rural county of few stoplights (11,000 people across 652 square miles), could play in the same Super Bowl.

“I’m not sure that’s ever been done before,” Joe Belyeu, Central Coosa High’s athletic director, said Wednesday by the school’s trophy case. He is Jimmy Tuck’s first cousin. Their mothers were sisters.

When you're done with that excellent piece, jump over to the photo slideshow of the Tuck and Thomas families.

Jerome Collins also warranted a bit in the New York Times based on him being only one of two players on the Giants who already has a Super Bowl ring. Collins was with the Colts last year and was picked up by the Giants for their practice squad this season. When Jeremy Shockey went down with injury, Collins was switched over to the active roster. Collins has yet to play a down in an NFL regular season game, but he still realizes his luck of sorts.
“I admit my situation is a little unusual,” Collins said, standing in the Giants’ locker room Friday afternoon. “But I’m looking forward to going back to the Super Bowl. I look across the room at a guy like our punter, Jeff Feagles, who’s played 20 years in the league and he’s going to his first Super Bowl.

"Here I am 25 years old and I’ve been with two Super Bowl teams. I can’t complain."
If you pay attention during the commercials you'll see a few more former Irish players during the game. Zibby and Jeff Samardizja show up in a commercial for Under Armour...
"That's huge in itself, especially with the amount of publicity the Super Bowl gets," Zbikowski said. "To have Under Armour want me in their ad is pretty sweet."
...while Brady Quinn appears in a voting initiative PSA that you can check out here.