CFL connections at Super Bowl XLIX


Any of these guys look familiar? With Super Bowl XLIX set to kick-off this Sunday, we look at the participating teams’ players, coaches and staff to see how many connections to the CFL we can find.

Brandon Browner
Cornerback – New England Patriots

Brandon Browner, Adarius Bowman

The 6’4″, 221 pound cornerback, (yes I said cornerback) played four seasons with Calgary before he went on to Seattle and became part of the ‘Legion of Boom’ with the Seahawks. But he finds himself playing against his former team after joining the Patriots last offseason.

Browner was a three-time CFL All-Star and won the Grey Cup with the Stampeders in 2008 with John Hufnagel, Henry Burris and Nik Lewis to name a few.

During media day, Browner gave a shout-out to a familiar coach in the CFL.

Luke Willson
Tight End – Seattle Seahawks

From Lasalle, Ontario Willson is not only Canadian, but he was also  drafted in the CFL Draft by the Toronto Argonauts in 2012 (round 5, pick 32). He went on to finish school, while playing football for the Rice Owls in Texas and was drafted by the Seahawks the following year.

Willson will be looking to add his second Super Bowl ring to his collection come Sunday.

When he’s done playing football, it seems like the big Canadian has a career in broadcasting in his future.

Willson caught a crucial two-point conversion to continue the comeback in the NFC Championship game. Look here.  Jon Ryan Punter – Seattle Seahawks  The Regina Ram product was originally drafted in the 2004 CFL Draft in the third round, 24th overall by the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. He made his debut in the CFL in 2004, playing in two seasons and was named a CFL All-Star during the 2005 campaign. Following the 2015 CFL season, Ryan went on to sign with the Green Bay Packers, where he played two seasons in Wisconsin and then made his way to Seattle where he’s played since 2008. Not only is Ryan an exceptional punter, but in the NFC Championship against his former team, he tossed his first career touchdown pass, en route to a berth into Super Bowl XLIV. After Canadians Willson and Ryan’s big game in the NFC Championship, people thought the Canadian $12 bill should feature the pair of them!

Here’s an interaction Ryan had with a reporter during media day, that was transcribed by TSN’s James Duthie.

Check out this old school MVP campaign that James Duthie and Jon Ryan did back in 2006.

Chris Matthews
Wide Reciever – Seattle Seahawks

Chris Matthews

Matthews played a pair of seasons in the CFL before making his way to the Seahawks. In his rookie season with the Blue Bombers, he had a season to remember. Matthews played in all 18 games, snagging 81 passes for 1,192 yards and seven touchdowns. Later in the year he went on to win the 2012 Most Outstanding Rookie of the Year.

Along with Willson and Ryan, Matthews played a vital role in the Seahawks’ epic comeback victory against the Packers. Matthews was the Seahawk to come down with the onside kick recovery, which later led to Seattle tying up the game.

Fun fact – Matthews caught the first Winnipeg Blue Bombers touchdown at Investors Group Field. Watch it here.

Check out his MUST WATCH: Hail Mary catch vs. Edmonton.

Harold Nash
Strength and Conditioning Coach – New England Patriots

Jenkins/Clark/Nash Jr.

Nash played 11 season in the CFL for four different teams. He began his career with the Shreveport Pirates (94-95), Montreal Alouettes (96-99), Winnipeg Blue Bombers (99-03) and Edmonton Eskimos (04).

Nash enjoyed the most success with the Blue Bombers where he still owns the record for the most number of pass knockdowns. He was named an CFL All-Star three times as a defensive back.

In his career he amassed 24 interceptions and returned five of them for majors.

Jerod Mayo
Linebacker – New England Patriots

The name Mayo might ring a bell for  CFL fans, especially in Calgary. Jerod’s brother, Deron plays linebacker for the Stamps. This season, Deron won his first Grey Cup after the Stamps knocked-off the Ticats in Vancouver.


It’s safe to say that Deron will be cheering for the Patriots come Sunday.

Julian Edelman
Wide Receiver – New England Patriots

Edlelman, the crafty receiver for the Patriots didn’t play in the CFL, but was very close to it when the BC Lions offered him a contract.

Before you jump to conclusions, NO, he was not offered a contract to be a receiver. Edelman was offered a contact as a quarterback for the Lions prior to deciding to convert himself into a receiver .

At Kent State University, Edelman starred as a quarterback and even broke the total offensive yards record during his three-year career there.

Maurice Kelly
Senior Director of Player Development – Seattle Seahawks

Kelly played eight seasons as a defensive back in the CFL splitting time with Las Vegas Posse,  Toronto Argonauts, BC Lions, Winnipeg Blue Bombers and Edmonton Eskimos.

Joe Judge
Special Teams Assistant – New England Patriots

Judge played for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

Scott O’Brien
Special Team Coach – New England Patriots 

O’Brien played a season with the Toronto Argonauts in 1980.

Travis Jones
Defensive Line Coach – Seattle Seahawks

Jones played a season in the CFL for the Baltimore Stallions during the 1995 season.

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