Any football grows up wanting to “make it big” and play in the NFL. That dream likely includes playing in the ultimate game. The Super Bowl. This dream has the potential to come true for several Mountaineers this Sunday as the Jacksonville Jaguars play the New England Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles take on the Minnesota Vikings.
Jarrod Harper is the sole Mountaineer on the Jaguars roster, unfortunately on IR, as Jacksonville looks to stop Super Bowl regular Tom Brady’s chances at the football finale. Harper is in his rookie season as a safety for the Jaguars in the AFC Championship and will be cheering on his teammates taking on New England early Sunday afternoon.
Rasul Douglas, Shelton Gibson, Najee Goode and Wendell Smallwood are all current members of the Philadelphia Eagles. These four Mountaineers are just four quarters away from playing in the biggest game of their careers. Goode has been in the NFL for six seasons so he is familiar with the stresses and pressures of post-season games and what all is at stake. Smallwood is in his second season with the Eagles, and this is obviously the farthest post-season he has experienced as well. For Rasul Douglas and Shelton Gibson, to have the chance to play on a team making it this far in their rookie season; it has to be an incredible and surreal feeling.
The NFC Conference Championship game is the second of the two games played today so that when the teams take the field tonight they will likely know who could be their Super Bowl opponent in two weeks. The Super Bowl is quite literally what people think of when they think of NFL football, especially on a global level. It is THE game of the year. Even the phrase “Super Bowl” is used at times to explain this moment, experience or event taking place that is seen as a goal or end-all-be-all.
Having that Super Bowl carrot dangling for these four teams today, with four quarters of play left to get to that goal is surely a wonderful feeling. For West Virginia sports fan, it always feels great to watch Mountaineers take their skill set to a higher level, and succeed when doing so. We may be speaking for many but regardless of your NFL allegiance, Mountaineer fans can’t help but sit back and smile and wish these five Mountaineers success as they chase those Super Bowl dreams.