Former Spartans battle for Super Bowl LVI ring
Former Michigan State football players compete on Super Bowl Sunday for a chance to win a ring and lift the trophy.
A trio of former Michigan State football stars were instrumental in helping their teams reach Super Bowl LVI. Each of them contributed in their own way to the Los Angeles Rams and Cincinnati Bengals reaching the top of the NFL in 2022.
Of these three former Michigan State players, the most important is center Brian Allen. He’s become a key part of the Rams’ high-powered offensive offense. He’s become a trustworthy and dependable guard of the Rams’ most prized weapon, Matthew Stafford, who sports fans across the state of Michigan rally around after giving the Lions everything he had for a 12-year span that saw him throw for 45,109 yards and 282 touchdowns.
It’s a shame Stafford didn’t have a lot of talent around him in the Motor City.
Thanks to Allen and the other hogs up front, the wide Cooper Kupp had one of the best all-time seasons (post-season included) in NFL history, posting a ridiculous 160 stat line. catches for 2,333 yards and 20 touchdowns. Allen’s protection gave Stafford the time needed in the pocket to find players like Kupp and Odell Beckham Jr. breaking free on the court.
Allen became the anchor of the Los Angeles offensive line, earning a Pro Bowl nod (as a backup). He is a powerful and relentless 6-foot-2, 300-pound Mauler. He helps Stafford direct the offense by diagnosing defensive looks (most often with pre-snap blitzes from linebackers and defensive backs heading for the line of scrimmage). He is fantastic with his hands and skillfully uses his leverage to neutralize opponents on impact.
When we take a look back at the 2018 NFL Draft, Allen will undoubtedly be one of his biggest steals. He slipped in the fourth round (pick 111). He makes the other 31 teams pay for abandoning him. The Rams can thank the Miami Dolphins for Allen (because Miami sent the selection to them in a trade package).
The Allen brothers (the oldest is Jack and the youngest is Matt) have a solid reputation for being as tough as they can get. They all have wrestling backgrounds, so their nasty streaks come to life between the hash marks.
Before middle brother Allen was a driving force behind Los Angeles’ Super Bowl berth, he was a fierce, smart lineman who split time at center position and both guard positions during a successful career in green and white. He was an excellent leader and a dominating wrecking ball who helped the Spartans hit the 10-win mark three times during his time at East Lansing.
Trae Waynes was an elite member of the legendary No Fly Zone defensive backfield during Mark Dantonio’s glory days (he had six passes and broke 10 more during a stellar two-season run as a starter ). He and Darqueze Dennard covered receivers for Pat Narduzzi’s stifling defense. Waynes was a corner lockout for the Michigan State team in 2013 that went 13-1 and beat Stanford in the Rose Bowl.
Waynes spent his first five professional years in Minnesota with the Vikings. He’s appeared in a handful of games for Cincinnati this season.
Joe Bachie had a cup of coffee in Philadelphia last season. He left the Eagles and found a home in Cincinnati. Bachie has started two games this year for the Bengals while playing in nine games overall. He is a promising young player and his best football is ahead of him.
Bachie managed to string together an incredible production in consecutive years from 2017 to 2018. He reached the 100 tackles mark in consecutive seasons, had 16.5 tackles for loss, forced four fumbles and had four interceptions. He was the true definition of a ballhawk and continued MSU’s rich tradition of developing tremendous linebackers.
Seeing Michigan State well represented on football’s biggest stage is sure to give Spartan fans everywhere a real thrill.