If you are an Oklahoma State fan and use Cowboy connections to influence your Super Bowl cheering habits then today you can root for the New England Patriots or the Atlanta Falcons with a clear conscience because neither side has an Oklahoma State connection, unless you want to count assistant coaches and it cuts both ways there.
The Atlanta Falcons have former Pat Jones' secondary coach Keith Armstrong (1990-92) as their special teams coordinator and former Les Miles' secondary coach Doug Mallory (2001-04) as their linebackers coach. On the other side with New England is Brendan Daly (pictured above), former Les Miles' graduate assistant at OSU (2001-03), as the Patriots defensive line coach. Those are the three Oklahoma State connections to Super Bowl LI.
Any time there is a Super Bowl it does bring back memories for me of past Oklahoma State Cowboys winning and lifting the Vince Lombardi Trophy.
There is a picture in our studios in Stillwater at Triple Play Sports Radio of former Cowboys tight end and offensive tackle Charlie Johnson, who is back living in Stillwater and doing a little coaching at Stillwater High School. Charlie was in two Super Bowls in 2007 and 2010. It was 2007 in the rain in Miami against the Chicago Bears that he won his ring. He did it as a reserve starting the game, but he ended up playing three quarters of the game for the victorious Indianapolis Colts and blocking for future Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning.
"It was late in the game in the fourth quarter and we're running out the clock and, in the huddle, Peyton looks over at me and says, 'Charlie, what are you doing in here?' I told him that I'd been in there since late in the first quarter and he kind of shook his head and said, 'Good job.' That made me feel good that he didn't even know I'd been in there," Johnson said.
There is no greater smile than the one being worn in the rain after that game and Charlie holding that trophy.
I go way back and to my friend Walt Garrison, the Cowboy's cowboy, who was as tough as the strongest rope. Garrison came into Dallas from Oklahoma State in time to suffer through the playoff losses to the Cleveland Browns and was around the old-time Cowboys that could talk about the losses to the Green Bay Packers in the famous Ice Bowl.
I was so glad that Garrison, one of the most unsung of Dallas Cowboys, was there to serve in a sub-starring role behind Roger Staubach, Duane Thomas, Bob Lilly and others in the first Dallas Super Bowl win over Miami in New Orleans in Super Bowl IV. Garrison was also a big part of the game the year before that Dallas should have won, but lost on a last second field goal to the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl V.
Antonio "Scooby" Smith was part of the Denver Broncos win last season in Super Bowl L. Smith came up the hard way from Oklahoma City John Marshall High School to All-American status at NEO A&M Junior College to playing at Oklahoma State, where his sack late in the game led to a huge win over Texas Tech. Smith has played in the NFL for the Oakland Raiders and Houston Texans along with the Broncos.
Another Super Bowl Cowboy I will never forget and he is an unforgettable player is Tulsa Booker T. Washington alum R.W. McQuarters, who played both ways at OSU for Bob Simmons. McQuarters won his ring in 2008 with the Giants beating Tom Brady and the Patriots, but while McQuarters didn't do a lot in that game he did earlier in the playoffs. In Dallas, against the Cowboys, McQuarters picked off the pass late that clinched the Giants moving on to the NFC Championship and eventually on to Glendale, Ariz., and Super Bowl XLII.
"Please throw the ball this way,” McQuarters thought, his eyes glued to Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo. "Please throw it.
"And he threw it. I couldn't believe he threw it," McQuarters said in a story in The Oklahoman the day after the win.
Two Oklahoma State Cowboys have played in four Super Bowls each and with exactly the opposite results. Former (Phil) Cutchin-coached Cowboy Jon Kolb played on the Pittsburgh Steelers offensive line at center snapping the ball to Terry Bradshaw for the wins in Super Bowls IX, X, XIII, XIV.
Former running back great playing for Pat Jones in Stillwater, Thurman Thomas is proud to be one of the only NFL players to go to four straight Super Bowls, but, unfortunately, Thurman, Jim Kelly, Bruce Smith, head coach Marv Levy, and company lost all four in Super Bowls XXV, XXVI, XXVII, XXVIII.
Oklahoma State has had a total of 26 players play in 40 of the soon-to-be 51 Super Bowls played.