University of Pittsburgh football players represent at Super Bowl LV

by Diane Larche’

The University of Pittsburgh was well represented in Super Bowl LV.

On Sunday, February, 7 in Tampa Bay, Florida, veteran Quarterback Tom Brady and now seven time Super Bowl champ led the home team Tampa Bay Buccaneers to a 31-9 Super Bowl LV win over the defending champion Kansas City Chiefs led by QB Patrick Mahomes, MVP of the 2020 Super Bowl.

NFL Atlanta Falcons RB Qadree Olisson trades jerseys with former Pitt teammate Monaca, PA native and now Super Bowl LV Champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers Safety Jordan Whitehead in a 2019 game. It was the first time as NFL pros that they played against each other. (Photo by Diane Larche‘)

The reported 96.4 million TV and streaming viewers worldwide heard announcers during the game call the name Jordan Whitehead, #33, the third year safety drafted by the Bucs in 2018 out of Pitt after his junior year, who had two tackles against the Kansas City opponents on the field. Whitehead a native of Monaca, PA was ACC Rookie of the Year his freshman year at Pitt in 2015. He was playing Sunday with an injured shoulder he got during a play in the NFC title game January 24 against the Green Bay Packers. Whitehead and his defense teammates held the Chiefs to three field goals and no touchdowns.

Whithead, 23, told the ACC Network after the victory and his first Super Bowl Championship “Its a great feeling especially playing the Chiefs Super Bowl Champs last year. We played them earlier in the season and they got after us. .. a game for the defensive backs we have gone through some tough games and the outcome of the last game no touchdowns… We want to thank those guys the defensive backs and everybody on the team.”

Whitehead family friend, Tampa Bay Super Bowl LV Speed and Conditioning Coach and Pitt Alumnus Roger Kingdom, Sports Writer Diane Larche‘, Mrs. Whitehead and Tampa Bay Buccaneers Super Bowl  Champ Safety Jordan Whitehead  (Photo by Diane Larche‘)

Joining Jordan was LeSean “Shady” McCoy, a member of the Pitt Panthers team from 2007 and 2008 before being drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in the first round in 2008. A native of Harrisburg PA, McCoy is now a two time super bowl champion winning with the Chiefs in Super Bowl LIV and now in Super Bowl LV with the Bucs. He will get another ring without taking one snap last year or this year. During an interview with Fox Sports he shared that he accepts his new role now of mentor for younger players. ” From being the guy and the franchise player to now being older and asked to do different things… I love those guys. They give me stories of how they were playing the video games with me when they were in high school and watching my tapes and highlights… I get joy helping them out.” said the 32 year old McCoy.

Pitt alumnus Roger Kingdom is in his second year as Tampa Bay Bucs speed and conditioning coach. He is a two-time Olympic Gold Medalist in the 110- meter hurdles in 1984 and 1988. The Vienna, Georgia native was inducted into the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame and the University of Pittsburgh Hall of Fame in 2006 and 2018, respectively. He originally entered Pitt on a football scholarship before concentrating on track and field winning the NCAA outdoor national championship in the 110 meter hurdles in 1983 and the NCAA indoor national championship in the 55 meter hurdles in 1984.

 

On the other side rookie wide receiver Marcus Ffrench is a member of the Kansas City practice squad. Ffrench graduated from Pitt in 2020 and was an undrafted free agent with the Chiefs this season. During his Pitt career he holds the title as a WR receiving the longest touchdown of 96 yards in Pitt Football history.

On Saturday during the NFL Honors program, Los Angeles Rams Defensive Tackle and Pittsburgh native Aaron Donald #99 was named Defensive Player of the Year for the third time. He also won the title in 2017 and 2018. The 29 year old Donald was selected by the Rams as the NFL 14th pick of the first round in the 2014 draft. While at Pitt he was the ACC Defensive Player of the Year in 2013. The Penn Hills High School and Pitt graduate has won a number of NFL awards from the Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2014 to the Lombardi Trophy and Outland Award. He was named to the Pro Bowl seven times and All Pro Team six times. He is a member of the NFL 2010 All Decade Team.

Also during the Super Bowl Weekend NFL Honors program the late Bill Nunn was posthumously selected for the Pro Football Hal of Fame 2021 class. He died in 2014 at age 89.. He spent 46 years as a executive for the Pittsburgh Steelers scouting HBCUs. Nunn was a sportswriter and managing editor at the Pittsburgh Courier before landing a career with the Steelers.

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