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Friday, May 06, 2016

The All-Florida Super Bowl Team

One-hundred and four Pro Bowl appearances, 37 championship rings, six busts in Canton (with six more likely to come) and four Super Bowl MVP awards. That's the All-Florida Super Bowl Team. On a list of 73 nominees who played at a Florida high school or university - reduced from an original pool of 200 selections - we asked you to vote on TBO.com for the Florida-bred players who made the biggest Super Bowl impact. And vote you did - 20,715 individual votes, to be exact - until all the positions were filled. Today, as Super Bowl XLIII approaches at Raymond James Stadium, the All-Florida team is being unveiled.
The leading vote-getters were Baltimore Ravens middle linebacker Ray Lewis, who received 87 percent of the vote at his position, and former Dallas Cowboys running back Emmitt Smith, who checked in at 82 percent. Overall, it's a formidable group and another sign that Florida football is one of the sport's most enduring forces. Jim Kelly Quarterback, Bills Connection: University of Miami Super Bowls (4): XXV, XXVI, XXVII, XXVIII Highlights: No Super Bowl ring, but he's still the only quarterback to make four consecutive Super Bowl appearances. Inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, 2002.
Emmitt Smith Running Back, Cowboys Connection: Pensacola Escambia High; University of Florida Super Bowls (3): XXVII, XXVIII, XXX Highlights: Helped Cowboys to three Super Bowl victories while rushing for 289 yards - including a pair of 100-yard games - and five touchdowns. Voted MVP of Super Bowl XXVIII.
William Floyd Running Back, 49ers Connection: Lakewood High; Florida State University Super Bowls (1): XXIX Highlights: After helping FSU to its first national title, Floyd won the Super Bowl as a rookie, catching a 5-yard touchdown pass from Steve Young.
Michael Irvin Wide Receiver, Cowboys Connection: Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas High; University of Miami Super Bowls (3): XXVII, XXVIII, XXX Highlights: The "Playmaker" had 16 Super Bowl receptions for 255 yards. In Super Bowl XXVII, he caught six passes for 114 yards - including a pair of touchdowns 18 seconds apart. Inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, 2007.
Fred Biletnikoff Wide Receiver, Raiders Connection: Florida State University Super Bowls (2): II, XI Highlights: Voted MVP of Super Bowl XI after four receptions for 79 yards. He was brought down at the 1- and 2-yard lines, leading to two rushing touchdowns. Inducted into Pro Football Hall of Fame, 1988.
Larry Brown Tight End, Steelers Connection: Starke Bradford County High Super Bowls (4): IX, X, XIII, XIV Highlights: Caught a fourth-quarter touchdown pass from Terry Bradshaw to put away 16-6 win against Vikings in Super Bowl IX. Shifted to offensive tackle for final two Super Bowl appearances.
Walter Jones Offensive Tackle, Seahawks Connection: Florida State University Super Bowls (1): XL Highlights: Prototypical left tackle who helped Seattle to its only conference championship. Protected backside of Matt Hasselbeck and opened holes for Shaun Alexander, who rushed for 27 touchdowns.
Larry Little Offensive Guard, Dolphins Connection: Miami Washington High; Bethune- Cookman University Super Bowls (3): VI, VII, VIII Highlights: Integral part of Miami's 17-0 Super Bowl championship team of 1972. Fearsome sight while pulling around the end, leading the running game. Inducted into Pro Football Hall of Fame, 1993.
Jeff Mitchell Center, Ravens/Panthers Connection: Countryside High; University of Florida Super Bowls (2): XXXV, XXXVI Highlights: Helped the Ravens to a Super Bowl XXXV victory at Raymond James Stadium, a short drive from his hometown. When he signed a free-agent contract with the Panthers, he was back in the Super Bowl one year later.
Nate Newton Offensive Guard, Cowboys Connection: Orlando Jones High; Florida A&M University Super Bowls (3): XXVII, XXVIII, XXX Highlights: The former Tampa Bay Bandit saw his career get a jump-start when the USFL folded. Newton, known for his girth and ability to obliterate a defender, was in the middle of the Cowboys' glory days.
Ken Lanier Offensive Tackle, Broncos Connection: Florida State University Super Bowls (3): XXI, XXII, XXIV Highlights: The fifth-round draft pick played 14 NFL seasons and started 178 consecutive games. He was 0-for-3 in Super Bowl appearances, but he will be remembered for his consistent excellence with the Broncos.
Sebastian Janikowski Place-Kicker, Raiders Connection: Daytona Beach Seabreeze High; Florida State University Super Bowls (1): XXXVII Highlights: Only the fifth place-kicker ever taken in the first round, Janikowski made a team-record 56-yard field goal and once attempted a 76-yarder. He gave the Raiders a 3-0 lead in Super Bowl XXXVII on a 40-yard field goal, but it was his only opportunity.
Jack Youngblood Defensive End, Rams Connection: Monticello Jefferson County High; University of Florida Super Bowls (1): XIV Highlights: Youngblood played in 201 consecutive games and made seven Pro Bowl appearances. But he's best remembered for playing the Super Bowl with a fractured left fibula. Inducted into Pro Football Hall of Fame, 2001.
Warren Sapp Defensive Tackle, Buccaneers Connection: Apopka High; University of Miami Super Bowls (1): XXXVII Highlights: Sapp, a leader on Tampa Bay's consistently dominant defenses, got his championship in Super Bowl XXXVII. He had a fourth-quarter sack of Rich Gannon and applied constant pressure to Oakland offense, which bowed under the assault.
Russell Maryland Defensive Tackle, Cowboys Connection: University of Miami Super Bowls (3): XXVII, XXVIII, XXX Highlights: The No. 1 overall pick in the 1991 draft was a big reason the Cowboys regained their status as a championship force. A run-stuffer who also made life miserable for opposing quarterbacks, Maryland had a career to remember.
John Matuszak Defensive End, Raiders Connection: University of Tampa Super Bowls (2): XI, XV Highlights: A former No. 1 overall pick, Matuszak found a home with the Raiders. At Super Bowl XV, the Raiders went straight from the airport to the French Quarter. With the "Tooz" creating havoc - on and off the field - Oakland's defense couldn't be stopped.
Derrick Brooks Outside Linebacker, Buccaneers Connection: Pensacola Washington High; Florida State University Super Bowls (1): XXXVII Highlights: By the 2002 season, Brooks had become a perennial Pro Bowler, NFC Defensive Player of the Year and NFL Man of the Year. The Super Bowl XXXVII victory completed his resume - and his 44-yard interception return iced the win against Oakland.
Ray Lewis Middle Linebacker, Ravens Connection: Lakeland Kathleen High; University of Miami Super Bowls (1): XXXV Highlights: As the inspirational leader of a defense that's considered one of the all-time best, Lewis saved his finest hour for Super Bowl XXXV, when he was named the game's MVP as he played about 40 minutes from his hometown.
Ted Hendricks Outside Linebacker, Colts/Raiders Connection: Hialeah High; University of Miami Super Bowls (4): V, XI, XV, XVIII Highlights: The "Mad Stork" owns four Super Bowl rings, an accomplishment surpassed by only one other player in NFL history. His hybrid style - rushing the quarterback or defending the pass - was ahead of its time. Inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, 1990.
Deion Sanders Cornerback, 49ers/Cowboys Connection: North Fort Myers High; Florida State University Super Bowls (2): XXIX, XXX Highlights: "Prime Time" always did things a little differently - including winning back-to-back Super Bowl rings with different teams. In Super Bowl XXX, he displayed his versatility by playing lockdown defense - and making a 47-yard reception on offense.
Asante Samuel Cornerback, Patriots Connection: Fort Lauderdale Boyd Anderson High; University of Central Florida Super Bowls (3): XXXVIII, XXXIX, XLII Highlights: A fourth-round pick in 2003, Samuel quickly assumed a prominent role in New England's defense, starting on the Super Bowl XXXIX champions and the 2007 team that went 18-0 before falling to the Giants in Super Bowl XLII.
LeRoy Butler Safety, Packers Connection: Jacksonville Lee High; Florida State University Super Bowls (2): XXXI, XXXII Highlights: Butler had a career of distinction. For one thing, he was credited with inventing the "Lambeau Leap." For another, he was voted to the NFL's all-decade team for the 1990s. But his role on the Super Bowl XXXI champions rises above all.
Dexter Jackson Safety, Buccaneers Connection: Quincy Shanks High; Florida State University Super Bowls (1): XXXVII Highlights: Other names had more notoriety, but Jackson became only the third defensive back in Super Bowl history to earn MVP honors. He had a pair of first-half interceptions, providing momentum in Tampa Bay's 48-21 win against Oakland.
Rick Tuten Punter, Bills/Rams Connection: Ocala Forest High; Florida State University Super Bowls (2): XXV, XXXIV Highlights: When the high-scoring Bills found themselves in a field-position game at Super Bowl XXV, Tuten punted six times for a 38.8-yard average with a long of 47. He was part of the 1999 Rams, but couldn't play in Super Bowl XXXIV due to injury.
Devin Hester Return Specialist, Bears Connection: Riviera Beach Suncoast High; University of Miami Super Bowls (1): XLI Highlights: Hester took back the opening kickoff of Super Bowl XLI for a 92-yard touchdown. The Colts learned their lesson - as Hester never got another opportunity. But Hester already made them pay, and several NFL opponents have experienced that feeling.