Last season Cliff Avril got a Super Bowl ring. Two seasons ago it was Bernard Pollard. Most Super Bowl champions have had a common denominator of late: A former Purdue player has been on the roster. This year could be no different, as the 12 teams that made the playoffs have a decent Purdue flavor:
New England Patriots - Rob Ninkovich - For the third straight season Ninkovich has had a big year with eight sacks for the Pats. He has also had an interception and a fumble recovery to go with 62 tackles. In his career he has had 35.5 sacks in new England, 24 coming in the last three years.
Greg Orton - Orton is still kicking around the league. He left Purdue after the 2008 season and has never played a down in the NFL, but has hung on to several practice squads and even spent some time in the Arena League with the Spokane Shock. He tore his Achilles in training camp and has managed to be on the Injured reserve list all year.
Denver Broncos - No players
Pittsburgh Steelers - No Players
Indianapolis Colts - Shaun Phillips - Phillips started the year with Tennessee, who went 2-14, but has played the last five games in Indianapolis and has gotten five tackles. He is seeking his first Super Bowl ring after coming up just short last season on Denver.
Cincinnati Bengals - No Players
Baltimore Ravens - No Players
Seattle Seahawks - Cliff Avril - Avril and the Seahawks are going for a second straight Super Bowl. He has won the Super Bowl every season so far in Seattle. This year he only had five sacks, but had a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.
Green Bay Packers - Bruce Gaston - The rookie has bounced all over the league this season, going from Miami to Arizona to Green Bay, but he is currently on the active roster for the Packers.
Mike Neal - Neal already has a ring in Green Bay from one of his early injury-riddled seasons, but the fifth year player has 4.5 sacks and 33 tackles in three starts as a key reserve on the defensive line.
Dallas Cowboys - Anthony Spencer - Spencer had a fumble-six recovery on Sunday as Dallas clinched the No. 3 seed in the NFC. He has been in Dallas for all eight seasons and this year has 22 tackles with half a sack.
Carolina Panthers - Kawann Short - The Panthers have no business being in the playoffs as Philadelphia and San Francisco had better records, but Carolina did repeat as NFC South "champs". Kawann has started nine times this season and has 40 tackles to go with 3.5 sacks in his second NFL season.
Arizona Cardinals - No Players
Detroit Lions - No Players