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Purdue And The 2014 NFL Playoffs: Who Gets A Ring?

Of the 12 teams in the NFL playoffs, eight have a Purdue player on the roster.

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sport

Last season Bernard Pollard became the most recent Boilermaker to win a Super Bowl ring. He is the 20th different Boilermaker to win a Super Bowl ring and a Purdue player has been on the roster of the winning team in 11 of the last 14 Super Bowls. Keena Turner, who played on the great 49ers of the 80's and early 90's, leads the Purdue contingent with four championships.

Several Purdue players have a chance to win a ring this season and make the streak 12 in 15 years.


Denver Broncos

Shaun Phillips - One of Purdue's all-time great pass rushers is a key player on a Broncos defense already missing Von Miller. Phillips has 12 starts this season and has played in all 16 games. He had 35 tackles, 10 sacks, an interception, 5 passes defensed, and 2 forced fumbles in one of the best seasons of his 10 year career. It is his first year in Denver after nine years in San Diego.

New England Patriots

Rob Ninkovich - Ninkovich is getting better every season in New England and this year has been a career year for the eight year veteran. Injuries limited Rob to just eight games between Miami and New Orleans in his first three years in the league, but his career has taken off in New England. He has 91 tackles, 8 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, and 2 fumble recoveries as one of the team's top defenders.

Greg Orton - Yes, Orton is still kicking around in the NFL. He has yet to officially play in a game, but he is listed as being a member of New England's practice squad after being with Denver in Cincinnati in the same capacity. The last Purdue player to get a ring as a practice squad member was John Standeford with the Colts.

Cincinnati Bengals - No Players

Indianapolis Colts - No Players (Though GM Ryan Grigson is a Purdue alum)

Kansas City Chiefs - No Players

San Diego Chargers

Nick Hardwick - Hardwick started his career at Purdue as a walk-on, and now he is a 10-year veteran in the NFL with a Pro Bowl to his credit. He has started every game for the last four seasons at center and amazingly has not gotten pregnant despite the very fertile Phillip Rivers (7 kids!) lining up right behind him for his entire career.


Seattle Seahawks

Cliff Avril - First Phillips, then Ninkovich, and as you will see later on the list, having a great defensive end from Purdue is very big if you want to make the playoffs. Avril got paid in the offseason and his first year in Seattle has been a success with 20 tackles, 8 sacks, 4 passes defensed, 5 forced fumbles, and a fumble recovery.

Carolina Panthers

Kawann Short - The only player from Purdue to be drafted last spring, Shorts helped the Panthers win the AFC South as a surprise and return to the playoffs. He has 30 tackles, 1.5 sacks, and a forced fumble as a key reserve on the Panthers' defensive line.

Philadelphia Eagles

Dennis Kelly - Kelly has been mostly a reserve this season after earning 10 starts as a rookie in 2012. He has not started a game yet for Philly in 2013.

Green Bay Packers

Mike Neal - Neal is one of two players on this list that already has a Super Bowl ring, as he was injured when the Packers won a few years ago. He has finally been healthy this year and has drawn 10 starts in 16 games for the Pack. He has a career high 47 tackles with 5 sacks, and interception, and a forced fumble.

San Francisco 49ers - No Players

New Orleans Saints

Drew Brees - Brees is not just one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL right now, but one of the best to have ever played the game and is in the top 5 all-time in most career passing categories. The narrative of "well, offenses are inflating stats right now" is bullshit. Brees is one of the quarterbacks that started that trend and is going for a second Super Bowl. Yes, the Saints are just the 6 seed in the NFC and would have to improbably win three straight road games just to get to the Super Bowl, but The Steelers, Packers, and Giants have all done just that in the last nine seasons. Adding a second Super Bowl title would merely be padding a Hall of Fame resume at this point.