Three Lions Still Alive in NFL Playoffs

Penn Staters Brady, Alford and McKenzie all shooting for appearances in Super Bowl XLII. But there is a chance, for only the fifth time ever, that no former Nits will be in the NFL's big game.

And then there were four. Heading into the conference championship round, a quartet of teams remain in contention for the NFL's 2008 Super Bowl.

But only two of them — AFC powerhouse New England and the NFC upstart New York Giants — feature former Penn Staters on their respective rosters. The two other teams remaining (San Diego of the AFC and Green Bay of the NFC) have no former Nittany Lions on their rosters.

And that means there is a chance there will be no former PSU players in Super Bowl XLII, something that has happened exactly four times since the NFL unveiled the big game in 1967.

Of course, the odds suggest Penn State will be represented in Phoenix Feb. 3. The undefeated Patriots are a two-touchdown favorite to beat the Chargers in Foxborough, Mass. So even if the Giants lose to the Packers in Green Bay, there is a very good chance at least one PSU product — New England tight end Kyle Brady — will be standing at the end of the season.

The last time no Penn Staters made it to the Super Bowl was 1995.

Here is what the former Nittany Lions did in the conference semifinals.

Jay Alford (DT, NYG)
Giants 21, Cowboys 17.
Notes: Alford came back from an ankle injury the previous week and returned to his place as a backup defensive lineman and snapper. He did not register any stats. New York heads to Green Bay for the NFC championship Sunday.

Kyle Brady (TE, NE)
Patriots 21, Jaguars 21.
Notes: Brady caught one pass for 12 yards in the Pats' divisional round win that improved their record to 17-0. They play host to San Diego this Sunday in the AFC championship.

Bobby Engram (WR, SEA)
Packers 42, Seahawks 20.
Notes: Engram caught six passes for 67 yards and a touchdown as the Seahawks squandered a 14-0 lead against Green Bay. It officially ended the most productive season of his long career.

Ed Johnson (DT, IND)
Chargers 28, Colts 24.
Notes: Johnson played his best game of the season in a losing effort. He led Indianapolis with nine tackles to close out a strong and somewhat unexpected stellar rookie campaign. Johnson signed with the Colts as an undrafted free agent last summer.

Kareem McKenzie (OT, NYG)
Giants 21, Cowboys 17.
Notes: McKenzie and the Giants' offensive line kept quarterback Eli Manning unscathed as he threw two more TD passes in the win. The Giants head to Green Bay for this week's NFC championship.

Isaac Smolko (TE, JAX)
Patriots 31, Jaguars 21.
Notes: Smolko caught one pass for seven yards in Jacksonville's loss at New England. He began the season in the practice squad but capped it as team's second-team tight end. -30-

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