Oregon alums Max Unger and Walter Thurmond III will compete for their first Super Bowl rings on Sunday as members of the Seattle Seahawks, the fourth consecutive Super Bowl with at least one Duck on a roster. Oregon's role as a major football player is recent, so there isn't a lot of deep-rooted NFL history involving the Ducks, and even less in the Super Bowl. Many Oregon greats like Dan Fouts, Ahmad Rashad, Chad Cota, and Herman Ho-Ching never played in a Super Bowl, much less won one. So there isn't a whole lot to go on here. But I'm combing through the archives to find the greatest Ducks in Super Bowl history.
Honorable mention: Dave Grayson - a great player who just missed the Super Bowl era, Grayson is the AFL's all-time leader in interceptions with 47, and won two AFL titles with the Dallas Texans and Oakland Raiders. In the 1962 AFL title game, he intercepted hall-of-famer George Blanda. He played one season in the NFL after the merger.
Offensive lineman Dan Archer was the first former Duck to play in the Super Bowl, as an offensive lineman for Oakland in Super Bowl II.
Quarterback Bob Berry began an illustrious tradition of Duck quarterbacks going to the Super Bowl as backups. Berry backed up Fran Tarkenton for three Super Bowls, all of them losses. Carrying on that tradition were Bill Musgrave, Tony Graziani, and Dennis Dixon, with Musgrave and Dixon earning rings. The only player to play in any of those games? Musgrave, who completed one pass for six yards in garbage time of San Francisco's 49-26 win over San Diego.
Backup offensive players are also something Oregon does well, with Claxton Welch, Derek Loville, Patrick Johnson, Damon Griffin, Jed Weaver, and LaMichael James earning trips to the big game. Loville earned a ring in Super Bowl XXIX with the Niners, Johnson caught a pass in Baltimore's win over the New York Giants, and Weaver got a ring for his role on the 2004 Patriots.
Spitty P! Spencer Paysinger played, and won, Super Bowl XLVI with the New York Giants, beating Patrick Chung and the Patriots.
Gary Zimmerman, perhaps the greatest offensive lineman in Oregon history, went out on top as a member of the Super Bowl champion Broncos in his final season. Also on the 1997 Broncos was DL Ernest Jones.
Mike Walter might have the best individual play from a Duck in the Super Bowl, intercepting John Elway on the opening drive of the second half of Super Bowl XXIV, en route to a 55-10 49ers win. Walter won three Super Bowl rings as a 49er, the most of any Duck alum.
Fred Quillan was the center for Joe Montana's first two Super Bowl rings, starting 143 games from 1978 to 1987. Along with Quillan and Walter, DL Jeff Stover was also a part of the 49ers' Super Bowl XIX win over Miami.
Unger looks to join Quillan as a Super Bowl-winning center, and Thurmond will become the first Duck defensive back to play in the Super Bowl since Buffalo's Cliff Hicks in Super Bowl XXVII. The Broncos have no Ducks on their active roster, which is shameful, though they'll probably remedy this by drafting De'Anthony Thomas to catch passes from Peyton Manning and good lord that isn't even fair.