Editorial: Pacific and Its Super Bowl Ties
The 2013-14 academic year continues to showcase the incredible history and significance of the University of the Pacific.
In sports, the men’s water polo team and the plaque commemorating Dan Bowden’s sub-four-minute mile representing Pacific’s present and past, respectively.
In this context, it’s fitting the year Pacific brought back Homecoming weekend for the first time since 1995 (the last year of football at the university) is also the same year Pacific is represented on each side of the biggest annual American sporting event: the Super Bowl.
As has been well documented since his tenure as head coach of the Seahawks began in 2010, Pete Carroll ‘73 attended Pacific, where he earned All-Conference honors as a free safety on the Tigers’ football team from 1971-72.
Carroll stayed on as the wide receivers coach of the Tigers from 1973-76, returning for the 1983 season as offensive coordinator. Eventually, Carroll returned to college in 2001 at USC, where he stayed until he left the NCAA sanctions and suspensions for Seattle.
During the 1983 season, Carroll’s corps included a talented receiver named Greg Thomas ‘85. Though an injury forced an end to his career, Thomas settled down in Stockton before his then-wife Toria gave birth to a son named Julius. Julius Thomas grew up to be a 6’5,” 250-pound current tight end for the Denver Broncos.
Neither Carroll nor Thomas will be Pacific’s first big impact on the NFL’s biggest stage. In his article for Yahoo! Sports, Eric Adelson goes through all of Pacific’s contributions to the sport and its biggest game.
It’s well worth a read.
However, all of this Pacific hoopla will not bring unity to Tigers watching the big game. For those not attune to all of the memorabilia around campus, the majority of football fans at Pacific can be divided into three distinct groups —Oakland Raiders fans, San Francisco 49ers fans, and bandwagon 49ers “fans.”
Most Raiders fans will root for the Seahawks because Oakland and Denver are rivals and partly to spite San Francisco. Most Niners fans will root for the Broncos because of the reverse of both reasons. The bandwagoners will continue to laughably claim Colin Kaepernick is better than Joe Montana. The rare breed who roots for both Bay Area teams wants a meteor to fall on Metlife Stadium.
Pacific’s roots in this year’s game are both unifying and divisive. The season’s top defense and offense will determine who’s the best in the world. No matter which TV you watch the game on, who you watch the game with, or how many beers you drink before, during, and after the game, know Pacific is remarkably still continuing to have an impact on the football world from beyond the grave.