It's Super Bowl Sunday. The most-watched event on television. With the Niners eliminated in heart-breaking fashion by Eli and the Giants, there's no real personal stake in it for many of us on the
West Best Coast. So, I imagine many will be rooting for whomever gets them the most money on their bets, waiting to see which commercials light it up and which ones flop, and/or if there's another wardrobe malfunction during half-time.
But, for at least two UCLA Bruins, there's a football game to be played today. Former Bruin return man Matt Slater will line up for the New England Patriots in both the return game and as a wide receiver, while former Bruin safety Bret Lockett will watch the Super Bowl from the sidelines as part of New England's injured reserve. And as bryanucla noted, there isn't a single Trogan on New England's roster, while the Giants have zero Bruins and a single U$C man, reserve defensive back Terrell Thomas, so I guess I'll be rooting for Tom Brady's bunch.
With that, let's turn to your special edition Super Bowl bits and pieces of news from around the UCLA-iverse:
- Starting with the Super Bowl (obviously), USA Today has an article talking about all of the unheralded players that will have a chance at ultimate NFL glory today, discussing the bumpy road to today's big game that guys like Danny Woodhead, Victor Cruz, and our own Matt Slater took to making it in the NFL. At the tail-end of the piece, Matt talks about being drafted in the late rounds, and the sense of urgency he felt to go in and fight to stay in the NFL.
- Sticking with our Bruin in the Super Bowl, the Charlotte Observer has a similar piece, discussing the unheralded guys who didn't get love on draft day, who are now playing the biggest game of their lives, including none other than Matt Slater, a fifth-round pick, who has been versatile for Belichick's squad this year, even lining up as a safety against the Colts earlier in the year.
- In a quick-hitting rapid report, CBS Sports' Paul Dehner Jr. got a couple of quick quotes from Matt Slater on his preparation for the Super Bowl and trying to stay focused on the game itself.
- One last note on our Bruin in the Super Bowl: the Associated Press has a great little article on Slater, discussing his Hall of Fame father, former Rams' lineman Jackie Slater, and the advice his father, who lost in his only Super Bowl appearance in Super Bowl XIV in 1980, gave him in preparation for the biggest game he'll ever play in (Slater was in his senior year at UCLA when the Patriots last went to the Super Bowl, losing to Eli Manning's Giants in Super Bowl XLII in 2008).
- In the same round-up at Sports Illustrated, another Bruin will be at the Super Bowl, but won't be playing. One of our all-time favorite Bruins at BN, Maurice Jones-Drew, will be on the sidelines for the big game, reporting from the sideline for Chad Ochocinco's Ochocinco News Network (no, that's not a joke, it's real). Since Chad will be busy playing in the game, the always entertaining MJD will fill in, which should make it very entertaining.
- Since it's a big football day, we'll keep the focus there, and turn to UCLA football. Of course, with the off-season, all the news is focused on recruiting, and with the 2012 class signed, the focus has turned (already) to the 2013 class. If you want to get a jump on next year's recruiting, WWL's Dan Arritt has put together a list of the top 10 football recruits for 2013 coming out of the Inland Empire, a fertile recruiting ground that the Bruins will surely tap into (especially since top recruit Su'a Cravens is a Vista Murrieta product).
- Pivoting to the 2012 recruiting cycle, the fallout from the coaching moves and recruiting flips has finally panned out. WWL's Ted Miller took note of the Tosh Lupoi move to Washington, noting that while the Huskies flipped Shaq Thompson from Cal to Washington, the real winner of Tosh's move wasn't the Huskies, but rather the Bruins, who landed former Cal commits Ellis McCarthy (who was probably going to flip to UCLA regardless of the Tosh situation), Jordan Payton (who flipped for the fourth and final time to UCLA), and Kenny Walker. So, in short, thanks Tosh!
Alright folks, those are your Bruin Bites for this Super Bowl Sunday. This doubles up as our Super Bowl pre-game open thread, so fire away with your thoughts, opinions, and takes about the big game, and go Matt Slater!