If you can get your mind off recruiting long enough, there is a big game this weekendâ€”the Super Bowl. Here are two preview stories to get you in the mood. First, nine former Alabama Crimson Tide players and coaches participate in the big game. Second, you can read how the Cardinals are the “oldest continuously run football franchise in the United States but their history has largely been one of fruitless failure.” The Cardinals attempt to correct that history against the Pittsburg Steelers (read the Reuters story embedded below.)
Super Bowl Features Nine Former UA Players and Coaches
(From UA) TUSCALOOSA â€” Super Bowl XLIII will be played this Sunday at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa , Fla. , and to no surprise the University of Alabama football program will be well-represented in this yearâ€™s match-up between the Arizona Cardinals and Pittsburgh Steelers.
Nine former Crimson Tide players and coaches will be participating in this yearâ€™s event, including six Steelers and three Cardinals.
Former Tide players Deshea Townsend (CB, 1994-97), Anthony Madison (CB, 2002-05) and Fernando Bryant (CB, 1995â€”98) all play for the American Football Conference champion Steelers. Townsend is in his 11th year with Pittsburgh and recorded 20 tackles and two interceptions this season. He is making his second Super Bowl appearance, helping the Steelers to a 21-10 win over Seattle in Super Bowl XL. Madison is in his third year in the NFL and second with the Steelers. He has 19 tackles this season. Bryant is in his 10th year in the NFL and his first season with the Pittsburgh , where he recorded three tackles in two games this year.
In addition to the three players, the Steelers have three coaches with Alabama ties, including assistant head coach and defensive line coach John Mitchell, offensive coordinator Bruce Arians and special teams coach Amos Jones.
Mitchell played for Coach Paul Bear Bryant and earned All-American honors at his defensive end position. He will be inducted in the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame this summer in Birmingham . This is the third Super Bowl appearance (Super Bowl XXX, Super Bowl XL and Super Bowl XLIII) in his 15-year NFL coaching career, which began on the same coaching staff with Alabama head coach Nick Saban in Cleveland in 1991.
Arians was a running backs coach under Bryant from 1981-82 and later served as offensive coordinator in 1997. Jones played and coached for Alabama under Bryant and served as special teams coach under Gene Stallings.
The National Football Conference champion Arizona Cardinals has three former Tide players and coaches on its Super Bowl XLIII roster, including fullback Tim Castille and coaches Jeff Rutledge and Freddie Kitchens.
Castille (FB, 2003-06) is in his second NFL season, primarily a as blocking fullback. He did play in 14 games this season and caught four passes.
Rutledge was Alabamaâ€™s starting quarterback in 1977-78, leading the Tide to a national championship with a 14-7 win over Penn State in the Jan. 1, 1979 Sugar Bowl in New Orleans. He has played in three Super Bowls in his 16-year NFL career as player and coach, including two Super Bowl championships with the New York Giants (Super Bowl XXI) and Washington Redskins (Super XXVI).
Kitchens is in his third season in the NFL and his second year at the Cardinalsâ€™ tight end coach. As an Alabama player, he was the starting quarterback from 1995-97.