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A Super Bowl-Sized Lesson in Educational Diversity

Photo by Dave Adamson on Unsplash

What do you think about when you think of the Super Bowl?

Ok . . . other than the commercials?

And . . . other than the halftime performance?

No . . . other than the snack foods that will be consumed . . . never mind.

Well, what we think about here at Golden Educational Consulting when we watch the Super Bowl is: college.

Granted, we think about college all the time. It’s kind of our thing.

When most people think of the educational backgrounds of the professionals in the NFL, they think of a few powerhouse collegiate programs. After all, we are often reminded of how many players are drafted into the NFL from dominant programs like Alabama (e.g., 9 players were drafted from the Crimson Tide in the first 3 rounds of the NFL draft in 2020 alone).

But a review of the rosters (players and coaches) of this weekend’s Super Bowl matchup between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers tells a much different, and satisfying story.

The 109 players on the active rosters of the Chiefs and Buccaneers represent (either as graduates or having finished their collegiate playing careers at) 68 different colleges.

Interestingly, the University of Alabama is not one of them, which is the first time in 16 straight years in which a former Crimson Tide player will not be on the active roster for a Super Bowl.

The most represented universities among the two teams’ active rosters are:

  1. LSU (6)

  2. Clemson (4)

  3. Iowa (4)

  4. Michigan (4)

Some notable colleges for players include:

  • Wagner (TB OLB Cam Gill)

  • Missouri Science and Technology (KC DT Tershawn Wharton)

  • Harvard (TB TE Cameron Brate)

  • Hobart (TB G Ali Marpet)

  • Western Alabama (KC WR Tyreek Hill)

The picture for coaches is a little less varied (as many coaches tend to work together having met at their alma maters or college coaching staffs) but still portrays an interesting story, representing 48 various colleges and universities.

While many coaches from Tampa Bay are graduates of Temple (5) or Virginia Tech (3, including Head Coach Bruce Arians), we see an incredibly diverse educational background among the two teams’ coaching staffs, including:

  • Pace (TB Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach, Maral Javadifar)

  • Tuskegee (KC Defensive Quality Control Coach, Terry Bradden)

  • Susquehanna (TB Assistant Defensive Line Coach, Lori Locust)

  • BYU (KC Head Coach, Andy Reid and KC Offensive Quality Control Coach, Porter Ellett)

  • College of Wooster (KC Statistical Analysis Coordinator, Mike Frazier)

Fortunately, for the Crimson Tide, we finally see them get on the board among the coaching staffs with Kevin Garver, Tampa Bay’s Wide Receivers Coach, who is a graduate of the University of Alabama. It's nice to see the Tide have some success after the year they've had.

If you would like to see if your alma mater is represented on the field at this weekend’s Super Bowl LV, here’s our handy spreadsheet.

Super Bowl 2021 Colleges
Download PDF • 173KB

We love the fact that when you actually look at the educational backgrounds of a group of people, whether they are CEOs, pediatricians, and yes, even NFL players and coaches, we see a much more diverse picture than most people assume. It tells a story that is both exciting and liberating for our students: that their path to the highest levels of their ambitions can be accelerated by a HUGE range of educational options, not just the ones they write movies about.

So, in between the hilarious commercials, glitzy halftime performances, and fistfuls of nachos, take a moment and join us in appreciating the amazing spectacle of the Super Bowl and the phenomenal array of educational institutions that helped make it possible.

Not working with us yet? Feeling stressed by the college search process? Let's chat.

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