Written by Deb Whitcas
Not only will athleticism be represented on the field this Sunday for Super Bowl LVIII when the San Francisco 49’ers face the Kansas City Chiefs, academia also plays a part. This is the first “Big Game” with two Academic All- American Quarterbacks since Drew Brees and Peyton Manning in 2010.
In order to qualify as an “Academic All-American”, a college student athlete must perform at an elite level in their sport and the classroom. They must be a starter and have a 3.5 GPA on a 4.0 scale. The AAA honor was first started in 1952 by the College Sports Communications and recognizes male and female athletes in Division I, II, III universities as well as athlete’s in the NAIA, other US four-year schools, two- year colleges and Canadian universities who perform championship sports.
Super Bowl LVIII sees San Francisco 49‘ers Quarterback Brock Purdy compete with Kansas City Chiefs Quarterback Patrick Mahomes. Purdy gained his All-American status from Iowa State University where he was a three-time All-Big 12 quarterback who set several passing records. During his four years at Iowa State, the football team had four consecutive winning seasons, first time since the 1920’s.Purdy is the 12th AAA Quarterback all-time to make an appearance in a Super Bowl.
Patrick Mahomes attended Texas Tech University where he studied marketing. During his junior year in 2016, he led the FBA in passing yards, throwing for 5,052 and in total yards gained, passing and rushing for 5,337 yards. He was recognized as the Big 12 Conference Football Scholar-Athlete of the year.
Going into the big game, Mahomes is currently tied with 18- year NFL veteran Peyton Manning as well as his brother, 16- year NFL veteran, Eli Manning for most Super Bowl wins by an AAA Quarterback. The last three of four Super Bowls has seen an Academic All-American take the Super Bowl MVP title too. Mahomes took it in Super Bowl LIV beating the San Francisco 49’ers 31-20, as well as Super Bowl LVII beating the Philadelphia Eagles 38-35. Wide Receiver for the Los Angeles Rams, Cooper Kupp was named MVP in Super Bowl LVI when his team beat the Cincinnati Bengals 23-20.
With the high level of athleticism and academia on the gridiron, Super Bowl LVIII is one game you won’t want to miss!