BYU Cougars: History in the Super Bowl

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Many of our own BYU Cougars have gone on to play for NFL teams. Several former players have even made Super Bowl appearances. Here are a few of our favorites.

Steve Young (BYU QB, 1980–1983)

To say that Steve Young is the biggest celebrity in BYU history is an understatement. After nearly being switched to defensive back early in his college career, Young worked out his throwing mechanics and succeeded another BYU great, Jim McMahon.

After being selected in the 1984 Supplemental Draft of USFL and CFL players, Young played two years with Tampa Bay before being traded to San Francisco, where he served as backup to Joe Montana from 1987 to 1990. In 1994, he led the 49ers to a win under center in Super Bowl XXIX over the San Diego Chargers with a record-breaking six touchdowns. Young retired a three-time Super Bowl champion in 1999.

Jim McMahon (BYU QB, 1977–1981)

Originally serving as BYU’s punter in 1977, Jim McMahon developed into a record-breaking quarterback before being selected fifth overall in the 1982 NFL Draft by the Chicago Bears. McMahon broke 75 NCAA records as a Cougar and was named a two-time All-American. His No. 9 jersey was finally retired against Utah State at a halftime ceremony on Oct 3, 2014.

McMahon’s NFL glory came in Super Bowl XX in 1985, a 46–10 thumping of the New England Patriots. In the win, McMahon became the first quarterback ever to run for two touchdowns in the Super Bowl. His celebrity wasn’t limited to on-field performances, as he became a full-fledged star in “The Super Bowl Shuffle.”

Todd Christensen (BYU FB, 1974–1977)

A mixed bag of talent, Todd Christensen threatened all areas of the field with is power running and receiving skills as a Cougar. He finished his college career with 1,066 yards on the ground and 1,566 reception yards, while also adding 20 touchdowns. He was drafted in the second round of the 1978 NFL draft but, following an injury, was released and picked up by the L.A. Raiders. At tight end, Christensen led the league in receptions in 1982 and 1986, was a five-time Pro Bowl selection, and won two Super Bowls with the Raiders in 1980 and 1983.

Tom Holmoe (BYU CB and safety, 1978–1982)

Hailing from southern California, Tom Holmoe arrived on BYU’s campus and made a name for himself at defensive back and safety. Following graduation, he was selected in the fourth round of the 1983 NFL draft by 49ers, where he played seven season and won three super bowls in 1984, 1988 and 1989.

Austin Collie (BYU WR, 2004, 2007–2008) 

BYU’s record holder for receptions in a season (106, 2008) reception yards (1,538, 2008), Austin Collie is one of the most illustrious receivers to ever play the wideout position at BYU. After his junior season, Collie declared for the 2009 NFL Draft and was selected by the Indianapolis Colts in the fourth round. Collie became Peyton Manning’s main target in 2010, but suffered two concussions that year, the last on Dec. 17, sidelining him for the playoffs and the Colts’ eventual loss to New Orleans in Super Bowl XLIV.

Dennis Pitta (BYU TE, 2004, 2007–2009) 

A walk-on in 2004, Dennis Pitta developed into BYU’s all-time leader in receptions (221) and leads all BYU tight ends with a career 2,901 receptions yards. After graduation, the Baltimore Ravens selected Pitta in the fourth round (114th overall) in the 2010 NFL Draft. Since then, he has demanded the attention of Raven’s quarterback Joe Flacco, becoming one of his favorite targets. Nicknamed “American Express” by teammate Terrell Suggs, Pitta helped the Raven’s to a 34–31 win over the 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII, catching four balls for 26 yards and a touchdown.

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