Super Bowl Champs: Former Trojans, Giants’ teammates share in NFL’s ultimate prize
Feb. 3 was truly a Super Sunday for a pair of Troy University alumni.
Former Trojan football players Lawrence Tynes and Osi Umenyiora, now with the NFL’s New York Giants, helped to defeat the heavily favored New England Patriots 17-14 to win Super Bowl XLII.
Tynes, a placekicker whose last second, game-winning field goal against the Green Bay Packers two weeks earlier had propelled the Giants into the title game, accounted for the first points of this year’s Super Bowl with a 32-yard field goal with 5:01 remaining in the first quarter. He added a pair of successful extra points following Giants’ touchdowns.
Umenyiora, a defensive end, joined the remainder of the Giants’ defense in applying heavy pressure to Patriot Quarterback Tom Brady throughout the game. Umenyiora, who has developed a reputation as one of the NFL’s leading quarterback sackers during his five years in the league, did not record a sack against Brady, but did recover a fumble after Brady was sacked by another Giants defender.
Umenyiora didn’t have the chance to attend the big Super Bowl championship celebration held Feb. 4 in New York City. Instead, he was off to Hawaii to take part in the NFL’s Pro Bowl, joining former Trojan teammate DeMarcus Ware, who is now with the Dallas Cowboys. The trip marked the second time each player had been selected to participate in the game which features the NFL’s best.
Trojan Head Football Coach Larry Blakeney said he was proud for both Tynes and Umenyiora.
“From a personal standpoint, I’m really happy for them and want them to do well,” Blakeney said. “The Super Bowl will solidify their careers more so. There are not a lot of guys who can say they played in a Super Bowl and won it.”
The former Trojan duo were not the first to claim Super Bowl rings. TROY alumnus Kerry Jenkins was a part of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ championship team in 2003.
“We’ve got three now and probably some more back through the years,” Blakeney said. “From a program standpoint, it’s like our chaplain who told a guy in Arkansas who asked where Troy was – He said it was just a little town in southeast Alabama, but the important thing was that from Troy you can go anywhere. Both of them (Tynes and Umenyiora) are smart, both would work hard and they conduct themselves properly on and off the field. They’re great players. For them to go and do anything, they’ve got the Troy University tag on them. These kids being recruited know they went to TROY and they're being talked about.”
Blakeney says having two alumni on the Super Bowl-winning team provided great exposure for the University.
“It’s great P.R. for the University, having these guys out there. But this University has folks who are very successful in other arenas, too [like business]. It’s good that we’ve been able to contribute to this pool from athletics.”