Super Bowl XLVII: Best Showcase of Higher Ed?

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Did you see Delaware’s Joe Flacco best University of Nevada Reno’s Colin Kaepernick in Super Bowl XLVII?

When was the last time Delaware could lift its head so proudly in super prime time? Or University of Nevada Reno, for that matter?

We usually don’t want to admit it, but the Super Bowl is the best public relations for higher education in America.

I’m sure you’d rather see your school heralded for some breakthrough in physics, or some new interpretation of the Dead Sea Scrolls, or perhaps some arcane academic award that even your PR department yawns about.

But considering how companies paid up to $4 million for a 30-second commercial during the CBS telecast, I’m sure you’d settle for an association with the star of the biggest media magnet in the world.

In Super Bowl XLVII, Delaware had the MVP of the whole show, and it didn’t cost a dime.

This year, the perennial college powers were well-represented.

The Southeastern Conference had 23 players on both Super Bowl rosters. And the Atlantic Coast Conference had 19 players at the game. (Of course, if these conferences didn’t, that would be news).

Anquan Boldin, the Baltimore Ravens wide receiver and 49er-killer, went to Florida State University (where they really ought to get rid of that chop business).

And there was Miami with the most representation of any single school with seven players at the game.

The Ravens’ star linebacker Ray Lewis, playing his final game, was a Miami Hurricane alumnus. Last week, Lewis was marred a bit by accusations of using PED (performance enhancing drugs). But he shook it off as old news. (Not as old as his criminal history of being charged with murder, but old enough to not keep him out of the game). Perhaps a bit more of a model citizen is the 49ers running back Frank Gore, another Miami alumnus who valiantly rushed for more than 100 yards in the game.

But you take the good with the bad. Chris Culliver, the 49er cornerback who was beaten all game by the Ravens wide receivers, had a rough week. He was the player taken to task for ignorant anti-gay remarks during the pre-game hype. An SEC guy from South Carolina, I guess Culliver missed his tutorial on Gamecock tact and tolerance.

Still, it’s more of a revelation when smaller schools get into the Super Bowl picture, like the Washburn Ichabods, or the Belhaven Blazers. Another example: Ravens center Matt Birk hails from that jock factory, Harvard. Bill Gates never played a Super Bowl.

This Super Bowl also featured a star turn from the Ravens’ Jacoby Jones, who caught a 56-yard pass for a touchdown in the first half and then ran the second-half kick-off 108 yards for a touchdown to match an NFL record.

Jones? He’s a Lane man. Lane?

That would be Lane, the historically Black college associated with the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, in Jackson, Tenn. It spawned this:

http://aol.sportingnews.com/nfl/story/2013-02-04/super-bowl-2013-jacoby-jones-kickoff-video-ravens-champions-returns

On Super Bowl Sunday, after Jones’ big play performance, do you think some people are checking out the Dragons? Maybe more than are checking out GoDaddy.com?

Emil Guillermo is an award-winning journalist and author. He blogs at www.amok.com and for the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund, www.aaldef.org/blog

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