Super Bowl 53, which will be held at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in downtown Atlanta Feb. 3, will have a local flavor on the field as two participants return home.
The Los Angeles Rams will represent the NFC and are led by head coach Sean McVay, who graduated from Marist. He had a stellar career for the War Eagles as a four-year starter at quarterback and defensive back.
McVay was the first player in school history to have more than 1,000 rushing and passing yards in consecutive seasons. He finished his career with more than 2,600 rushing yards and 40 touchdowns on the ground in addition to throwing for more than 2,500 yards and 18 touchdowns. McVay’s prep career culminated with a state championship in his senior campaign in 2003, leading Marist to a 14-1 overall record and the Class AAAA title. McVay was named the classification’s Offensive Player of the Year.
McVay continued his career collegiately at Miami University of Ohio and had NFL assistant coaching positions with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Washington Redskins before becoming the head coach of Los Angeles in 2017 at the age of 30, becoming the youngest head coach in NFL history. This season, the Rams won 13 regular-season contests, the NFC West title and defeated Dallas and New Orleans in the playoffs to reach the Super Bowl.
On the other side of the field will be the New England Patriots representing the AFC. Wesleyan will have one of its alumnus on the international stage in offensive lineman David Andrews. The center helped lead the Wolves to the Class A state championship as a sophomore in 2008. After a four-year career at the University of Georgia, Andrews joined the Patriots as an undrafted rookie free agent in 2015 as a center. He has proceeded to start 63 contests for New England in his career, including all 18 games this season. The Patriots won 11 contests and the AFC East crown and defeated the Los Angeles Chargers and Kansas City Chiefs to reach the Super Bowl.
There are other Northside prep alumni who have appeared in NFL contests this season. Westminster graduate Harrison Butker played in all 16 regular-season contests as a placekicker for the Kansas City Chiefs. He converted on 88 percent of his field goal attempts, including a season-long 54-yard strike.
Woodward has two of its alumni currently in the NFL. Defensive lineman Henry Anderson played in all 16 regular-season contests for the New York Jets this past season and had 35 tackles, including a career-high seven sacks. Safety Andrew Adams appeared in 13 regular-season contests for Tampa Bay and had 38 tackles in addition to four interceptions, both career highs.
The neighboring north Fulton area also saw its former prep football players in the NFL this season. Alpharetta alumnus Joshua Dobbs completed his rookie season as the reserve quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers and appeared in five contests. Chattahoochee grad Clint Boiling started all 16 games as an offensive lineman for the Cincinnati Bengals. Tampa Bay running back Peyton Barber is an alumnus of Milton and scored six touchdowns, including five rushing, for the Bucs this season in 16 contests. Carl Lawson, another Milton graduate, played in seven contests at defensive end for the Bengals.