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OPINION | WALLY HALL: Super Bowl has its share of SEC flavor

by Wally Hall | February 1, 2022 at 2:31 a.m.

It took less than a minute after the Los Angeles Rams win over San Francisco for it to be posted on Twitter.

The Rams will face the Cincinnati Bengals in the Super Bowl, pitting former LSU quarterback Joe Burrow against former Georgia quarterback Matthew Stafford.

SEC It Just Means More.

That's the SEC slogan.

It infuriates most football fans, but the success of the SEC for the last 16 years has been indisputable.

The league, known as Saturday's religion, has won 12 of the last 16 national championships.

Granted, Alabama has won six of those, but the four times the SEC didn't win it the ACC won three and the Big Ten one, meaning the other SEC teams hold a 6-4 advantage.

Out of 106 players in the Super Bowl, 27 matriculated in the SEC.

That's actually down from 32 last year.

Of the 14 SEC schools 10 have at least one representative, LSU and Florida lead the way with 5, Alabama and Georgia are next with 4, Texas A&M has 3, Auburn 2 and Arkansas, Ole Miss, Missouri and South Carolina have one each.

Of the 27, 16 played in the SEC Western Division.

Arkansas' lone representative is quarterback Brandon Allen, who backs up Burrow at Cincinnati.

Burrow is trying to become the first quarterback in history to win a national championship, the Heisman Trophy and a Super Bowl.

If he can't go, Allen will be ready.

Allen is a record holder at Arkansas, but for some reason was not very popular with some of the fan base despite passing for 7,463 yards and 64 touchdowns.

He was one of the heroes in the "Hunter Heave" win over Ole Miss in 2015 when he rolled right, and with no receivers open, bulled his way in for a two-point conversion and the 53-52 win.

Allen was drafted in the sixth round of the NFL draft by the Jacksonville Jaguars. He was the 201st pick, but he made the team.

He didn't see the field his first three seasons, but in his last three years he's had nine starts for three teams, and this past season played in six games, completing 17 of 34 passes for 2 touchdowns and no interceptions.

He's now in his sixth season, vested in the NFL retirement fund, and while most of his career has been as a backup he's continued to be in the NFL. He's been with the Bengals since 2020.

In a way he fits perfectly with Cincinnati, which started the season as a 200-1 long shot to win the Super Bowl.

The Bengals had't been in the playoffs since the 2015 season and had't won a playoff game since 1990 when they beat the Houston Oilers 41-14 but lost the next week to the Los Angeles Raiders.

The Oilers are now the Tennessee Titans and the Raiders are the Las Vegas Raiders, previously the Oakland Raiders, who the Bengals beat 26-19 in the wild-card game.

They followed that by beating Tennessee 19-16 and Kansas City 27-24. Both of those games were on the road.

Maybe it won't make a difference, but the Bengals are one short on SEC players compared to the Rams, who host the Super Bowl.

One thing that has been proven again: LSU, Alabama, Georgia and Florida get the best players, and anyone who thinks Brian Kelly, LSU's new coach, isn't going to tell recruits that in the last two Super Bowls the Tigers had 12 players, and that was the most of any team in the country.

The players all want to play in the NFL. It's a job where every day you are overpaid to play a game.

So the rich schools will get richer.

It just seems the divide is greater than ever, and now that the rich and powerful schools can legally rent players it is going to get worse.

Print Headline: Super Bowl has its share of SEC flavor


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