San Francisco 49ers middle linebacker Fred Warner (54) celebrates against the Houston Texans during the second half of an NFL football game in Santa Clara, Calif., Sunday, Jan. 2, 2022. (AP Photo/Jed Jacobsohn)

Cougars in the pros: NFL playoffs begin for handful of BYU alums

Jan. 10 marked the end of the college football season with Georgia defeating Alabama 33–18 to win the national championship. Now it’s time to turn the page to the NFL playoffs.

BYU football is represented by four players in three games in the opening weekend of the playoffs.

Linebacker Kyle Van Noy will be the first Cougar in action as the New England Patriots travel to Buffalo to take on the Bills on Saturday at 6:15 p.m. on CBS. Van Noy will be making his sixth trip to the postseason, with his most recent appearance in 2020.

Van Noy debuted in the postseason with the Detroit Lions in 2015, losing in the wild-card round 24–20 to the New Orleans Saints. After joining the Patriots, Van Noy played in three consecutive Super Bowls from 2017–2019, winning the big game in 2017 and 2019.

New England Patriots middle linebacker Kyle Van Noy (53) celebrates with teammates after sacking Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa during the first half of an NFL football game, Jan. 9, 2022, in Miami Gardens, Florida. Van Noy is one of four BYU alums heading to the NFL playoffs. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Former BYU linebacker Harvey Langi is on the injured reserve list for New England.

Three more Cougars will be in action on Sunday, starting with San Francisco 49ers All-Pro linebacker Fred Warner. Warner has one postseason run under his belt: when the 49ers lost Super Bowl LIV to the Kansas City Chiefs in 2019. Warner and the 49ers will be tasked with slowing down Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys in Texas, kicking off at 2:30 p.m. on CBS.

Sunday night will feature safety Daniel Sorensen and cornerback Zayne Anderson of the Kansas City Chiefs. The Chiefs play host to the Pittsburgh Steelers at 6:15 p.m. MST on NBC.

Sorensen is playing in the postseason with the Chiefs for his seventh consecutive season. Sorensen has appeared in the previous two Super Bowls, winning Super Bowl LIV in 2020 over Warner’s 49ers.

Meanwhile, Anderson will be making his postseason debut. He is an undrafted rookie who spent time on the Chiefs’ practice squad before being called up to the active roster on Dec. 14, 2021. Andy Reid, former BYU offensive tackle, is the head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs.

Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid watches from the sideline during the first half of his team’s NFL football game against the Denver Broncos Saturday, Jan. 8, 2022, in Denver. Reid’s team features BYU alumni Daniel Sorensen and Zayne Anderson. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

BYU has been represented in five consecutive Super Bowls dating back to 2017. The five-year streak is the second-longest run of former BYU players appearing in the Super Bowl, with the longest streak coming from 1980-1992. It is up to Kyle Van Noy, Fred Warner, Daniel Sorenson and Zayne Anderson to keep that streak alive.

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