As the hours count down to Super Bowl XLVIII and the match-up between the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks, it's a good time to reflect back on the Washington State Cougars impact on professional football's championship game.
When you think of the Super Bowl and Cougars, Mark Rypien (QB, 1983-85) is sure to come to mind. The WSU Athletic Hall of Fame member completed 18 of 33 passes for 292 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Washington Redskins to a 37-24 victory against the Buffalo Bills in Super Bowl XXVI.
Rypien's performance earned him Most Valuable Player honors joining another Cougar legend who garnered MVP honors in a pro football championship game.
WSU Athletic Hall of Fame member Keith Lincoln (HB, 1958-60) earned MVP honors leading the San Diego Chargers to the 1963 AFL Championship.
Lincoln was dominate in the Chargers' 51-10 win over the Boston Patriots, rushing for 206 yards and adding 123 more receiving. Lincoln scored two touchdowns, one on a 67-yard run in the first quarter and a 25-yard reception in the fourth.
Rypien and Lincoln are not the only Cougars who are members of world championship teams.
WSU Athletic Hall of Fame member Mel Hein (C, 1928-30), a charter member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, played on the 1934 and 1938 NFL Champion New York Giants teams.
Both seasons were noteworthy in NFL history. The 1934 NFL Championship game is known as the Sneakers Game and in 1938 Hein earned NFL MVP honors as center for the Giants. Hein is the only offensive lineman to win the NFL MVP award. He was featured on the program cover for the '38 championship game.
Hein's 1931 Rose Bowl teammate and fellow WSU Athletic and NFL Hall of Fame member Glen 'Turk' Edwards (T, 1929-31) was a member of the 1937 NFL Champion Washington Redskins.
Jason David (DB, 2000-03) was a member of the 2006 Indianapolis Colts Super Bowl XLI Championship team and Drew Bledsoe (QB, 1990-92) was a member of the New England Patriots Super Bowl XXXVI championship team and started for the Patriots in Super Bowl XXXI.
Mike Wilson (WR, 1978-80) earned four rings with the San Francisco 49ers (Super Bowl XVI, XIX, XXIII, XIV) and Allan Kennedy (OL, 1976, 1978-80) earned two rings with the 49ers (Super Bowl XVI, XIX). Erik Howard (DT, 1982-85) earned two rings with the New York Giants (Super Bowl XXI, XXV) and Eason Ramson (TE, 1974-77) earned a ring with the 49ers (Super Bowl XVI).
Robbie Tobeck (OG/C, 1991-92) played on two Super Bowl teams, the Atlanta Falcons (Super Bowl XXXIII) and Seattle Seahawks (Super Bowl XL). Marcus Trufant (CB, 1999-2002) also played for the Seahawks in Super Bowl XL.
Bernard Jackson (TB, 1970-71), a 2013 WSU Athletic Hall of Fame inductee) started for the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XII and recent Polynesian Football Hall of Fame inductee and WSU Athletic Hall of Fame member Jack Thompson (QB, 1975-78) was a member of the Super Bowl XVI Cincinnati Bengals squad.
Jason Krump, WSU Athletics