Pack Trio Returns to Super Bowl
The Seattle Seahawks may have the NFL’s best defense, but its productive offense is powered by a trio of former NC State players who are now Raleigh royalty for returning to the Super Bowl for the second year in a row.
Quarterback Russell Wilson, offensive lineman J.R. Sweezy and placekicker Steven Hauschka are just the the third, fourth and fifth former Wolfpack players to appear in back-to-back Super Bowls, joining placekicker Mike Cofer (San Francisco 49ers, 1989-90) and Jim Ritcher (Buffalo Bills, 1991-94).
If the Seahawks beat the New England Patriots on Sunday night in Phoenix in Super Bowl XLIX, the current trio will join Cofer as the only Wolfpack players to win consecutive Super Bowl rings.
They are unlikely heroes, none of which were highly sought after coming out of college. Wilson, after a year at Wisconsin, was a third-round pick of the Seahawks, but a favorite of former NC State assistant coach Pete Carroll, now the Seahawks head coach. Sweezy, a college defensive end and lineman, was a seventh-round pick of the Seahawks. Hauschka was an undrafted free agent who was with six other teams before joining the Seahawks in 2011.
Wilson, a three-year starter and former first-team All-ACC performer for the Pack, was outstanding in last year’s 43-8 victory over the Denver Broncos, completing 18 of his 25 passes for 206 yards with a pair of touchdown tosses. He became the second African-American quarterback to lead his team to a Super Bowl win, 26 years after Doug Williams led the Washington Redskins to the title in Super Bowl XXII.
Should the Seahawks win, Wilson will become the first quarterback in Super Bowl history to win twice in his first three years in the NFL.
Hauschka, who spent one season at NC State after a three-year career at Middlebury College in Connecticut, was a most valuable player candidate for scoring more points (11) than any NC State player in Super Bowl history with a pair of field goals and five points after touchdown.
Sweezy, who was converted to the offensive line after four years on the defensive line at NC State, started at guard for the Seahawks and helped keep the scrambling Wilson safe throughout the game. Wilson was not sacked by the Bronco defense.
The three return again this year for the big game. With Sweezy’s blocking and the running of Marshawn Lynch and Wilson, Seattle has the NFL’s top rushing offense.
NC State Super Bowl Firsts
First participant: Charley Young, WR, Dallas Cowboys (1976)
First to catch a pass: Charley Young, WR, Dallas Cowboys (3 recs, 31 yards, 1976)
First participant on winning team: Dan Medlin, DL, Oakland Raiders (1977)
First starter: Lin Dawson, TE, New England Patriots (1986)
First sack: Dennis Owens, DB, New England Patriots (2 vs. Chicago Bears, 1986)
First to points scored: Mike Cofer, K, San Francisco 49ers (41-yard FG, 1989)
First touchdown: Torry Holt, WR, St. Louis Rams (9-yard pass from Kurt Warner, 1999)
First pass attempt: Russell Wilson, QB, Seattle Seahawks (1st quarter, incomplete, 2014)
First completed pass: Russell Wilson, QB, Seattle Seahawks (1st quarter, 6 yards to Jermaine Kearse, 2014)
First rush: Russell Wilson, QB, Seattle Seahawks (1st quarter, 5 yards, 2014)
First touchdown pass: Russell Wilson, QB, Seattle Seahawks(23-yard pass to Jermaine Kearse, 2014)
First 100-yard receiving: Torry Holt, WR, St. Louis Rams (7 reps., 109 yards, 1999)
Most appearances: Jim Ritcher, OG, Buffalo Bills (4 – 1991-94)
Most rushing yards: Russell Wilson, QB, Seattle Seahawks (26 on three carries, 2014)
Most passing yards: Russell Wilson, QB, Seattle Seahawks (206 on 18-for-25 passing, 2014)
Most total points scored, game: Steven Hauschka, PK, Seattle Seahawks (11—2FGs, 5 PATs)
Most total points scored, career: Mike Cofer, PK, San Francisco 49ers (15—2 FGs, 9 PATs)
Most starters for one team: 3 (Russell Wilson, Steven Hauschka and J.R. Sweezy, 2014, ‘2015)
Former NC State players who have won Super Bowl rings
Super Bowl Player Team Pos.
XI Dan Medlin Oakland Raiders DL Played, did not start.
XXI, XXV* Perry Williams New York Giants CB Started both games in DB.
XXIII*, XXIV* Mike Cofer San Francisco 49ers PK Started both games as PK.
XXIX Mark Thomas San Francisco 49ers DE Did not play; not active.
XXX George Hegamin Dallas Cowboys OL Did not play; not active.
XXXIII Ray Agnew St. Louis Rams DL Reserve, 1 tackle.
XXXIII Torry Holt St. Louis Rams WR Starter, 7 rec., 109 yds, 1 TD.
XXVII Corey Smith Tampa Bay DE Did not play, not active.
XL Bill Cowher Pittsburgh Steelers Coach 2nd appearance as head coach.
XLIV DeMario Pressley New Orleans Saints DL Did not play; active.
XLVI Andre Brown New York Giants RB Did not play; practice squad.
XLVIII* Russell Wilson Seattle Seahawks QB Threw 2 TD passes.
XLVIII* Stephen Hauschka Seattle Seahawks PK Scored 11 pts on 2 FGs, 5 PATs.
XLVIII* J.R. Sweezy Seattle Seahawks OG Started on offensive line.