The SEC's all-time all-Super Bowl team
You’ve got to be pretty super to make the cut.
Sorry. I’ll show myself out.
In the history of Super Bowls, which now spans more than half a century, countless former SEC stars got to shine on the sport’s biggest stage. Which ones were best, you ask? Well, let’s decide that.
First, a disclaimer: We’re only basing the SEC’s all-time all-Super Bowl team on how players performed on that specific stage. This is not a list of “best former SEC players who have played in a Super Bowl.”
Also, we’ll only be including guys who actually played in the SEC. So stars like Von Miller, who went to Texas A&M, aren’t eligible for this list because the conference can’t claim him. Or at least it shouldn’t.
With that, here’s the all-time all-SEC Super Bowl team:
QB: Eli Manning (Ole Miss)
The guy beat Tom Brady twice in Super Bowls. That’s more impressive than his brother, Peyton, who you might’ve heard of. It’s also more impressive than Bart Starr, who won the first 2 Super Bowls by completing a combined 29 passes. Manning threw the David Tyree pass that ranks as one of the best plays in NFL history. That’s worthy of the SEC QB nod.
RB: Emmitt Smith (Florida)
You could make a case for Terrell Davis, who was instrumental in the Broncos finally getting John Elway a Super Bowl, but Smith ranks No. 1 in Super Bowl career rushing touchdowns (5) and he’s No. 3 in Super Bowl career rushing yards (289). The former Gator might not have had an individual game quite like Davis did with his record-setting 3-touchdown showing in Super Bowl XXXII, but his cumulative body of work was slightly more impressive.
WRs: Hines Ward (Georgia), Willie Gault (Tennessee)
Fun fact: At the time of Gault’s 129-yard day in the Chicago Bears’ beatdown of the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XX, it was 4th all-time for receiving yards in a Super Bowl.
Other fun fact: Ward is the SEC’s lone non-quarterback to win Super Bowl MVP honors in the 21st century, which he earned by hauling in one of the best trick plays in the game’s history on a 41-yard throw from former college quarterback Antwaan Randle El in Super Bowl XL.
TE: Aaron Hernandez (Florida)
We’re going strictly based on on-field performance here. Hernandez is the only SEC tight end ever to be his team’s leading receiver in a Super Bowl. Granted, it came in a loss to the Giants in XLVI, but his 67 yards and a score kept the Patriots within striking distance.
C: David Andrews (Georgia)
Quietly, Andrews has turned into one of the SEC’s best undrafted players of the 21st century. He helped protect Tom Brady in 3 Super Bowls. The Patriots won 2 of those and, even though they lost 1 to the Eagles, they set a Super Bowl record with 613 yards of offense.
OT: Andrew Whitworth (LSU), Max Starks (Florida)
Whitworth might not have delivered the single-best showing from a former SEC offensive tackle, but come on. The guy is the oldest offensive tackle to ever play in the Super Bowl at age 40 and the oldest offensive lineman to even appear in one.
Starks protected a young Ben Roethlisberger in 2 Super Bowl victories, both at left tackle and right tackle. If Starks’ block doesn’t hold, Pittsburgh can’t execute the key end-around pass from Antwaan Randle El to the aforementioned Ward for the dagger 41-yard touchdown.
OG: Raleigh McKenzie (Tennessee), Charley Hannah (Alabama)
McKenzie won 2 Super Bowls with Washington, including a beatdown of the Broncos wherein the then-Redskins ran for 280 yards on 7 yards per carry. That helped pave the way for Timmy Smith, who still holds the single-game Super Bowl rushing record with 204 yards on the ground.
The second-best single-game rushing performance in Super Bowl history was by Marcus Allen, who ran for 191 yards thanks to the holes created from Hannah at left guard.
DL: Reggie White (Tennessee), Chris Jones (MSU), Kony Ealy (Mizzou), Malik Jackson (Tennessee)
The “Minister of defense” tied a Super Bowl record with 3 sacks, including the game-ender in Super Bowl XXXI.
Ealy went on to tie that record with 3 sacks in Super Bowl 50, and he also added an interception and a forced fumble, but didn’t take home MVP honors because he was on the losing team.
Jones, who is set to play in his 3rd Super Bowl, forced an interception on a pressure and he tipped 3 passes at the line of scrimmage to help the Chiefs to a win in Super Bowl LIV.
Not a whole lot of defensive linemen get to celebrate a Super Bowl touchdown, but Jackson did when Von Miller (ineligible from this list because he never played in the SEC) forced a fumble of Cam Newton that Jackson recovered in the end zone to help the Broncos to a Super Bowl 50 victory. That’s still the lone SEC defensive touchdown that’s ever been scored in the Super Bowl.
LBs: Dont’a Hightower (Alabama), Devin White (LSU), Danny Trevathan (Kentucky)
It helps that Hightower has 3 rings, sure, but it also helps that he played a significant part in helping the Patriots’ dynasty in the 2010s. The former Alabama star had a monumental strip sack of Matt Ryan that helped New England overcome a 28-3 deficit to win Super Bowl LI in overtime, and he had 2 sacks in a Super Bowl LIII victory.
White might’ve only played in 1 Super Bowl, but he made it count with 12 tackles, 2 TFLs and a game-sealing interception of Patrick Mahomes to lift the Bucs.
Trevathan played in 2 Super Bowls for the Broncos, one of which was a blowout loss in which he had a team-high 12 tackles and the other was a victory in which he had another team-high in tackles (8) while recovering a fumble.
DBs: Stephon Gilmore (South Carolina), Jake Scott (Georgia), Corey Webster (LSU), Darian Stewart (South Carolina)
Gilmore played in 2 Super Bowls, albeit with mixed results. The former South Carolina star was part of the Patriots’ surprising 41-33 loss to the Eagles in Super Bowl LII, but a year later, he picked off Jared Goff late to help New England close a 13-3 defensive struggle.
Scott was a turnover-forcing machine. The former Dawg had a 2-interception game en route to Super Bowl VII MVP honors to cap off Miami’s undefeated season, and a year later, his 2 fumble recoveries fueled a repeat victory.
Webster won 2 Super Bowls with the Giants, the first of which saw him contain one of the best passing attacks in NFL history (his lone mistake that game was falling down on a Randy Moss touchdown).
Stewart was a menace in Super Bowl 50. In addition to helping hold Cam Newton to 44% passing, the former Gamecock had a sack and a forced fumble, which was recovered by the aforementioned Trevathan.
K: Don Chandler (Florida)
Yeah, he might’ve been the kicker in a couple of blowout wins to kick off the Super Bowl era (see what I did there), but the guy is still tied for the single-game record with 4 field goals. That game alone has him tied for 4th all-time in Super Bowl career field goals made.
P: Britton Colquitt (Tennessee)
In a game that was all about field position, Colquitt deserved MVP consideration in Super Bowl 50. Just kidding. He did have an average of 46 yards with 2 kicks inside the 20, one of which set up the aforementioned Malik Jackson fumble recovery in the end zone for the Broncos.
Returner: Percy Harvin (Florida)
As much as it’s frustrating to look back on Harvin’s career and what could’ve been, he holds a very distinctive title. He’s the only SEC player to return a kickoff for a touchdown in the Super Bowl. Harvin took the opening kick of the second half back in Super Bowl XLVIII to stretch Seattle’s lead to 29-0 over Denver and quash any hope of a Broncos comeback. Harvin will always have that.