It was the interception heard 'round the world.
There were two minutes left in Super Bowl XLIX, and New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady had just led an incredible 4th-quarter comeback to give his team a 28-24 lead over the defending champion Seattle Seahawks. But just when it appeared that the Seahawks had nothing left in the tank, a long pass from quarterback Russell Wilson bounced off the feet, legs, and chest of his receiver, who somehow caught the football—while on the ground. Two yards and 20 seconds away from victory, all the Seahawks had to do was hand the ball off to the best running back in the NFL, Marshawn Lynch. But inexplicably, the Seahawks opted to throw a short pass over the middle, which was picked off by the Patriots' undrafted rookie cornerback, Malcolm Butler.
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Last year's Super Bowl, New England's 4th title in 15 years, was voted by NFL.com readers as the "greatest game of all time."
It was obviously a game for the ages, but what many don't know is that five Mormons had a part to play in the now-legendary proceedings. Two Patriots (Sealver Siliga and Jordan Devey) and two Seahawks (Tony Moeaki and Will Tukuafu) were LDS, as was the Seahawks' offensive coordinator, Darrell Bevell—the man who made the fateful decision to pass over the middle.
This Sunday's Super Bowl between the Carolina Panthers and Denver Broncos only features one member of the Church—Panthers tackle Star Lotulelei. So this year, let's celebrate Mormons in football by looking back at the 12 best LDS NFLers of all time, beginning with . . .
#12: Austin Collie
Photo from CBS Sports
After being named an All-American during his junior season at BYU, wide receiver Austin Collie declared for the NFL draft. Selected by the Indianapolis Colts in the fourth round, Collie's impact was immediate. He and legendary quarterback Peyton Manning connected 60 times during his rookie year (including seven touchdown catches), and he was among the league's best rookie receivers. During his second season, he was beginning to establish himself as a Pro Bowl contender, catching eight touchdowns in nine games before going down with two brutal concussions. Though head injuries have plagued Collie's career, he hasn't given up. He's since played for the New England Patriots and San Francisco 49ers, and currently starts for the BC Lions of the Canadian Football League.
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