The Super Bowl’s golden anniversary is a time to reflect on the past—of both the National Football League and its connections to Spartan football.
To celebrate the Bay Area’s unique place in Super Bowl history, ‘The 50 Tour: Champions of the Bay Presented by Chevron” was on display at Spartan Stadium’s East Field for SJSU football fans attending this season’s homecoming game in October.
San Jose State also has a place in Super Bowl history. SJSU is one of only six universities with two alumni who have been Super Bowl-winning coaches. The late Bill Walsh (1931-2007), ’55 BA, ’58 MA, Education, led the 49ers to NFL championships in Super Bowls XVI (1982), XIX (1985) and XXIII (1989) during his Hall of Fame coaching career. Dick Vermeil, ’58 Physical Education, ’59 MA Education, directed the St. Louis Rams to victory in Super Bowl XXXIV (2000).
Six former San Jose State football players, including ESPN television football analyst David Diaz-Infante, ’91 Social Science, played on Super Bowl-winning teams. Current Green Bay Packers wide receiver James Jones, ’06 Sociology, is the most recent player, as a member of the Packers’ Super Bowl XLV winning team (2011). Twelve other Spartans experienced Super Bowl festivities during their professional careers.
This year, San Jose State will add another Super Bowl connection: The university will be the practice site for the National Football Conference champion preparing for the “golden” game on February 7 in nearby Levi’s Stadium.