The Seahawks had three players named to the Associated Press’ first-team All-Pro roster: inside linebacker Bobby Wagner, safety Earl Thomas, and cornerback Richard Sherman. The Patriots had two such players: tight end Rob Gronkowski and cornerback Darrelle Revis.
It is no surprise that Revis and Sherman were named first-team All-Pros. This is the fourth such time Revis has been so honored, while it’s the third straight year for Sherman. Once deflategate goes away,1 I expect the media to realize that hey, the teams with the top two cornerbacks in the NFL are in the Super Bowl! That might be a story worth covering!2
But today, some trivia. Only some of the positions even name multiple first-team All-Pros, of course. But in the last ten years, only two other Super Bowls featured both teams having first-team All-Pros at the same position.
Here’s a full list of all other instances:
- In 2003, Kris Jenkins (Carolina) and Richard Seymour (New England) were first-team All-Pros at defensive tackle. The Patriots played a bit of a hybrid 3-4/4-3, and Seymour was a 3-4 end in that formation, but he was selected as an interior defensive linemen, like Jenkins.
- In 1999, Kevin Carter (St. Louis) and Jevon Kearse (Tennesseee) were first-team All-Pro defensive ends.
- In 1998, Terrell Davis (Denver) and Jamal Anderson (Atlanta) were the first-team All-Pro running backs.
- In 1986, Lawrence Taylor (New York) and Karl Mecklenburg (Denver) were first-team All-Pro linebackers, although Taylor was an outside linebacker and Mecklenburg an inside linebacker.
- A similar situation occurred the year before, with Mike Singletary (middle linebacker, Chicago) and Andre Tippett (outside linebacker, New England) making the first-team squad.
- In 1977, Lyle Alzado (Denver) and Harvey Martin (Dallas, and the co-Super Bowl MVP) were first-team All-Pros at defensive end. In addition, Bill Thompson (Denver) and Cliff Harris (Dallas) were first-team All-Pro safeties.
- Perhaps the most star-studded combination came in 1974, when defensive tackles Alan Page and Joe Greene met in Super Bowl IX.
- In 1971, the top two guards in the game — Larry Little (Miami) and John Niland (Dallas) — made it to the Super Bowl.
- In the pre-merger era, this was pretty common, as each league had its own set of All-Pros. But there were still some very high-profile meetings. In 1969, defensive tackles Buck Buchanan (Kansas City) and Alan Page (Minnesota) and left tackles Jim Tyrer (KC) and Grady Alderman (MIN) were All-Pros.
- Absent a situation where a pair of quarterbacks receive the exact same number of first-team All-Pro votes, and those two teams meet in the Super Bowl, Super Bowl III will remain the last Super Bowl that pitted first-team All-Pro quarterbacks against each other. Joe Namath was named the top quarterback in the AFL and the Player of the Year, while Earl Morrall was the NFL MVP and the first-team All-Pro selection by the AP for the NFL.
- In 1967, cornerbacks Bob Jeter (Green Bay, mad re2pect) and Kent McCloughan (Oakland) were first-team All-Pro choices, along with Willie Davis (GB) and Ben Davidson (OAK) at defensive end.
- Incredibly, this happened five times in Super Bowl I. Green Bay’s Bart Starr (QB), Forrest Gregg (T), Jerry Kramer (G), Willie Davis (DE), and Willie Wood (S) were first-team All-Pros in the NFL, with Kansas City’s Len Dawson, Jim Tyrer, Ed Budde, Jerry Mays, and Johnny Robinson making it at the same positions in the AFL.
- Just kidding, that will never happen. [↩]
- Of course, with Thomas in Seattle, one could extend the story beyond just the cornerback position to the defensive back grouping. In addition, both Patriots safety Devin McCourty and Seattle’s other safety, Kam Chancellor, received first-team All-Pro votes, with Chancellor actually being just two votes shy of making the first team, and the leading vote-getter on the second team. [↩]