It can't last forever. Actually, I guess it can with the amount of draft coverage, league meetings, and looming free agency. However, for the foreseeable future, Sunday's Super Bowl matchup of the Atlanta Falcons squaring off against the New England Patriots will be the last competitive game of football for a while (unless you count CFB Spring Games, then not that long).
Lets pour one out for the ProCanes that were unable to make it to this game.
In total Atlanta's ProCanes headcount looks like this:
- TE Jimmy Graham
- KR/PR Devin Hester Sr.
- CB Ladarius Gunter
- CB Herb Waters
New England's ProCane headcount:
- DT Vince Wilfork
- RB Lamar Miller
- LB Ufomba Kamalu
- CB Artie Burns
- LB Anthony Chickillo
We started out with a mighty list of ProCanes in the playoff field, only for that list to be slashed down to a single one.
Matt Bosher remains the lone Miami alum playing in the Super Bowl. As it's been noted in a couple of the other previews, the punter has not gotten his due for much of the postseason. Well today, and this weekend, is his time to shine.
If you want to know how truly en feugo the Falcons offense has been this season all you need to do is to look at the usage of Bosher this past regular season. The 29 year-old from Jupiter, Florida seen his usage rate plummet with only 44 punts for 2,060 yards, both career lows, down from 58 punts for 2,735 yards in 2015. However, 21 of those punts this season wound up down within the 20 while only punting just once for a touchback. During this playoff run Bosher only trotted out for 3 punts in the divisional round against Seattle, and just twice in a lopsided 44-21 beatdown of the Packers in the NFC Conference Championship.
New England represents the highest probability of more appearences from a player who started solely as UM's punter in 2007, adding kicking duties in the following 3 seasons. Now a full-time NFL punter, Bosher will be booting the ball to WR Julian Edelman and his strong facial hair game on Sunday. WR Danny Amendola split punt return duties with Edelman during the regular season before Edelman took over the role completely in the postseason. Neither Pats WR has taken a punt return for a house call during both regular and postseason play.
For Bosher to even make an appearance during the Super Bowl it would mean that New England has been successful in stopping Atlanta from picking up a first down. As Ladarius Gunter can testify, that would be an outstanding achievement to accomplish. The Falcons just have so many weapons that you have to respect on a given down. It all starts with WR Julio Jones of course, who is the sleekest, most dangerous weapon the Falcons will send out. Think of the Predator, (the first movie). Both running backs Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman are capable runners, but are viable passing-options (85 combined receptions) releasing out of the backfield. Offensive Coordinator (49ers coach-in-waiting) Kyle Shanahan allowed WR Mohamed Sanu to show off his versatility, having taken snaps in shotgun, rushed and caught the ball. Add in Taylor Gabriel as their option in the slot and you're looking at a dynamic offense that can stretch the field and beat a defense in multiple forms without remembering that QB Matt Ryan can suddenly tuck the ball and run.
All of that is to say that Matt Bosher may have the best seat in the house to watch a prolific offense go to work against one of the better football minds in defense in Pats HC Bill Belichick and DC Matt Patricia.
Bosher is the latest in the lineage of NFLU/ProCanes to extend a streak of Miami alums to make an impact on football's grandest stage.
If you're having trouble picking a dog in the fight you can always maybe these facts will sway you.
Back in his dorm days playing for Boston College, Matt Ryan has .500 record against Miami. Taking an L in his junior season against a defense that limited to 0 TDs and an INT. Ryan was throwing into a defense that late November day against the 'Canes defenders the likes of LB Jon Beason, DE Calais Campbell, DL Baraka Atkins and DL Kareem Brown.
Tom Brady on the other hand never went against a 'Canes team during his time at Michigan. Miami has only played Michigan twice ever (1984, 1988), each program holding a victory over one another.
A Decade of ‘Canes in the Super Bowl
|Super Bowl #||Player||Team||Matchup||Ring|
|Super Bowl #||Player||Team||Matchup||Ring|
|51||Matt Bosher||Atlanta Falcons||ATL vs NEP||?|
|50||Greg Olsen||Carolina Panthers||CAR vs DEN||NO|
|49||Vince Wilfork||New England Patriots||NEP vs SEA||YES|
|48||Orlando Franklin||Denver Broncos||SEA vs DEN||NO|
|47||Ray Lewis||Baltimore Ravens||BAL vs SF||YES|
|47||Ed Reed||Baltimore Ravens||"||YES|
|47||Tavares Gooden||San Francisco 49ers||"||NO|
|47||Bryant McKinnie||Baltimore Ravens||"||YES|
|46||Vince Wilfork||New England Patriots||NYG vs NEP||NO|
|46||Antrel Rolle||New York Giants||"||YES|
|46||Kenny Phillips||New York Giants||"||YES|
|46||Dwayne Hendricks||New York Giants||"||??|
|45||Sam Shields||Green Bay Packers||GB vs PIT||YES|
|44||Jonathan Vilma||New Orleans Saints||NO vs IND||YES|
|44||Jeremy Shockey||New Orleans Saints||"||YES|
|44||Buck Ortega||New Orleans Saints||"||YES|
|44||Reggie Wayne||Indianapolis Colts||"||NO|
|43||Antrel Rolle||Arizona Cardinals||PIT vs ARI||NO|
|43||Calais Campbell||Arizona Cardinals||"||NO|
|43||Edgerrin James||Arizona Cardinals||"||NO|
|42||Vince Wilfork||New England Patriots||NYG vs NEP||NO|
|42||Brandon Meriweather||New England Patriots||"||NO|
|42||Sinorice Moss||New York Giants||"||YES|
|42||Jeff Feagles||New York Giants||"||YES|
|42||Jeremy Shockey||New York Giants||"||YES|
|41||Reggie Wayne||Indianapolis Colts||CHI VS IND||YES|
|41||Devin Hester||Chicago Bears||"||NO|
|41||Marcus Maxey||Chicago Bears||"||NO|
|41||Darrell McClover||Chicago Bears||"||NO|
While what happens on the CFB level and NFL differ tremendously, it would be an achievement to have an alum win a ring. Placing Bosher in a category with LB Ray Lewis, DT Vince Wilfork, WR Reggie Wayne and others that have enjoyed success at the peak of football mountain. Big Vince is the last ProCane to win a Super Bowl -still one of the most baffling calls in SB history- in Super Bowl XLIX. Last year Panther's TE Greg Olsen's 4 receptions for 41 yards was not enough as 2016 MVP Cam Newton was thrown off his game by a swarming Denver defensive attack. On Sunday we’ll watch to see if the ProCane SB winning draught is an aberration, or perhaps an unlucky trend.
NFLU News & Notes
- Before the kickoff of the Super Bowl the NFL will hold its annual awards presentation, NFL Honors on Saturday evening. TE Greg Olsen is a finalist for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year award
- Fresh from being a "coach' in the Pro Bowl, former Miami LB and future Pro Football HOFer Ray Lewis expresses interest in coaching
- Having mentored Andre Johnson, Reggie Wayne and Santana Moss while at The U, former WR coach Curtis Johnson left his position with the Chicago Bears
- Kellen Winslow Jr. is attempting another comeback. At the age of 33 the former Browns, Jets and Bucs TE will try to make it in a newly formed independent league