Read the original article in USA Today here.
A nondescript college football program in western Oregon can boast more players on active Super Bowl rosters than college football powerhouses like Alabama, Auburn, Ohio State and Florida State.
The Portland State Vikings have two former players taking the field in Super Bowl XLVIII — Denver Broncos tight end Julius Thomas and Seattle Sehawks DeShawn Shead. That’s more than:
• … the past five national champions (Florida State, Auburn and Alabama x3).
• … the combined total of players from football powerhouses Auburn, Alabama, Michigan, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Ohio State and South Carolina. (Those schools had a combined $785 million in 2012 revenue. Portland State had $12.98 million in revenue.)
• … other big-time programs like LSU, Clemson, Boise State, Miami, Michigan State and UCLA.
This sentence, taken from the team’s 2013 media guide, best highlights the differences between Portland State and the big boys:
“Since joining the Big Sky Conference in 1996, Portland State has appeared on television locally in Portland 50 times.”
That’s out of more than 180 games.
Another wild statistic: Since 1981, Portland State has had nine players selected in the NFL draft. Alabama had nine taken in the 2013 draft alone. (Shead wasn’t among those nine drafted PSU players. He was an undrafted free agent.)
Portland State has been over .500 once in the past seven seasons and last made the FCS playoffs in 2000. Other than being the alma mater of Thomas, the 2013 Broncos breakout, the Vikings football program is best known as the alma mater of Neil Lomax and the place where Jerry Glanville coached for three seasons. The former NFL coach went 9-24 in Portland before quitting after the 2009 season.
Peyton Manning’s Tennessee Volunteers have the most players in the Super Bowl, with five former Vols suiting up. Wisconsin is next with four.