For an Alabama alumnus to earn a Super Bowl ring for the eighth straight year, the AFC champion will have to win the NFL title for the 2019 season.
All six teams on the AFC side of the Super Bowl bracket have at least one former Crimson Tide player on their active rosters, so Super Bowl LIV on Feb. 2 will be the 16th consecutive NFL championship game with an Alabama alumnus ready to play.
When the regular season ended, four NFC teams did not have a former Alabama player on their active rosters, and three of those teams qualified for the playoffs. The New Orleans Saints, Philadelphia Eagles and San Francisco 49ers don’t have any Alabama alumni.
Ohio State matches Alabama’s six-team AFC spread in the NFC, so the Tide and Buckeyes are the only schools assured of having alumni at Super Bowl LIV with the NFL playoffs set to start on Saturday afternoon.
Ohio State has the most former players on the active rosters of the 12 playoff teams with 19. Alabama is second with 17.
Other college programs with at least 10 alumni on the active rosters of the postseason participants include Clemson, Florida State and Stanford with 14 apiece, Iowa with 13, Oklahoma with 12, Michigan, Mississippi State, Penn State and Southern Cal with 11 each and LSU, Notre Dame, South Carolina and Texas with 10 apiece.
Ohio State has former players on 10 of the 12 playoff teams. Alabama has alumni on nine of the active rosters. No other college program exceeds eight.
In the AFC, Auburn, Illinois, Iowa, South Carolina and Southern Cal have former players on five of the six teams. In the NFC, Washington and Wyoming have alumni on five of the six participants.
Four of Alabama’s postseason players are on the Baltimore Ravens — cornerback Anthony Averett, guard Bradley Bozeman, cornerback Marlon Humphrey and running back Mark Ingram.
The only college with more alumni on one playoff team is Ohio State with five former Buckeyes on the Saints. Clemson has four alumni on the Houston Texans, Mississippi State four on the Green Bay Packers, Northwestern four on the Packers, Oklahoma four on the Ravens, Rutgers four on the New England Patriots and Texas four on the Seattle Seahawks.
Every SEC member has at least three alumni on NFL playoff rosters, with 109 of the 636 postseason players coming from the conference. That’s 17.1 percent of the postseason players.
The schedule for the Wild-Card Weekend of the NFL playoffs includes (with all times CST):
Saturday, Jan. 4
· No. 5 Buffalo Bills (10-6) at No. 4 Houston Texans (10-6), 3: 35 p.m. (ESPN, ABC)
· No. 6 Tennessee Titans (9-7) at No. 3 New England Patriots (12-4), 7: 15 p.m. (CBS)
Sunday, Jan. 5
· No. 6 Minnesota Vikings (10-6) at No. 3 New Orleans Saints (13-3), 12: 05 p.m. (FOX)
· No. 5 Seattle Seahawks (11-5) at No. 4 Philadelphia Eagles (9-7), 3: 40 p.m. (NBC)
Mark Inabinett is a sports reporter for Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter at @AMarkG1.