Three former Florida Gators win Super Bowl 50 rings with Denver Broncos

The 2015-16 NFL season concluded on Sunday with three players with ties to the Florida Gators on teams competing for the league championship in Super Bowl 50.

The Gators-filled Denver Broncos ultimately defeated the Florida player-deficient Carolina Panthers 24-10 to win the Super Bowl, bringing three more rings to Gainesville, Florida, from the fingers of wide receiver Andre Caldwell, offensive lineman Max Garcia and linebacker Lerentee McCray.

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Florida Gators in the NFL, 2015-16 season: Three players advance to Super Bowl 50

The 2015-16 NFL season is nearly over, and it will conclude on Sunday, Feb. 7 with Super Bowl 50, in which the Florida Gators will be represented by three players on one of the two remaining teams.

Overall, six former Florida players were on the rosters of teams that played in the Conference Championship Round over the weekend. That’s down from 11 in the Divisional Round and 18 that started the postseason on NFL rosters during the Wild Card Round.

Below is a look at the Gators moving on to Super Bowl 50 and those that fell in the Conference Championships. Teams and players in blue have advanced to Super Bowl 50.

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Florida Gators in the NFL: Patriots win Super Bowl XLIX, Dominique Easley earns ring

The 2014-15 NFL season concluded on Sunday with three players with ties to the Florida Gators on teams competing for the league championship in Super Bowl XLIX.

The New England Patriots ultimately defeated the Seattle Seahawks 28-24 to win the Super Bowl, and as a first-round pick of the Patriots in the 2014 NFL Draft, former Gators defensive tackle Dominique Easley picked up a ring for his efforts early in the season. (He was put on injured reserve ahead of the postseason and did not play on Sunday.)

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Former Florida Gators in the NFL: Conference Championship – one advances to Super Bowl

The 2014-15 NFL Playoffs continued this week with the Conference Championship round and three former Florida Gators spread out over two of the four teams remaining in the postseason.

Two Gators were eliminated from the NFL Playoffs this week with Super Bowl XLIX set with the New England Patriots taking on the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday, Feb. 1.

A former Florida player will be on the roster of a Super Bowl team for the 13th consecutive season. Should New England defeat Seattle, a former Gators player would be a Super Bowl champion for the sixth time in the last seven seasons. Overall, UF has 24 Super Bowl rings won by 17 different players over 18 Super Bowls.

INDIANAPOLIS COLTS
C Jonotthan Harrison*: Inactive
OT Xavier Nixon: Inactive

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
DT Dominique Easley: Injured reserve – season

NOTES
» Harrison and Nixon were inactive for the second-straight week. Harrison’s play declined throughout the season, earning him a spot on the bench and then pushing him off the Colts’ game day roster. Nixon played as a reserve most of the year but was inactive last week and missed the Indianapolis team flight; he did not join the team.
» Former Florida defensive coordinator Dan Quinn works for the Seahawks in the same position. In his second year as Seattle’s defensive coordinator, Quinn is helping lead the team to its second-straight Super Bowl appearance as he looks for his second ring.
» Former Gators defensive back Marquand Manuel is in his third year as a coach with the Seahawks. He served as an assistant special teams coach in 2012 and moved into a defensive assistant role in 2013. Like Quinn, he is hoping to win his second Super Bowl in as many seasons.

* Rookie

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FOUR BITS: Harvin, Cooper, Hammond, Sturgis

1 » Perhaps one of the most overlooked stories entering the 2014 NFL season is the health of Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Percy Harvin. One of the best playmakers in the league over the last five seasons, Harvin has only played in 12 games over the last two years including just three in 2013. But Harvin made an impact in Super Bowl XLVIII when he returned the returned the opening kickoff of the second half for a touchdown, and he almost won the game’s Most Valuable Player honor for it. Now, the defending Super Bowl champions get a healthy Harvin for presumably the entire season.

“He’s a tremendous threat,” head coach Pete Carroll told the media on Monday. “You can feel his speed and that burst that he has, really challenges you. You don’t know if he’s going to go all the way so just the opportunity to give them that problem makes them stay up a little later, trying to figure out how to stop him.” Added Harvin: “My body is feeling tremendously good. I’ve actually reached some gears that I didn’t know I had. I’m feeling very, very fast right now.”

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13 Gator Bites for Friday, June 13: Graham, Dendy, Harvin, Haslem, softball, MLB, Parsons

From time to time, OnlyGators.com will come across a plethora of news and notes that we wish to share – too much to fit into one of our truncated BITS segments. When stories like these fall through the cracks, we catch and wrap them all up with Gator Bites.

» Florida Gators redshirt sophomore guard Dillon Graham on Friday tweeted that he has “finally [been] cleared” by team doctors after missing most of the 2013-14 season following surgery to repair bone spurs in his hips. Less than a month ago, head coach Billy Donovan said he did not expect Graham to be cleared for contact until August or September. Doctors are likely allowing Graham to work out and practice in non-contact situations at this time. “He’s missed a whole entire year of development and now you’re talking about an entire summer and into the fall without it,” Donovan said on May 22. “So, when he does get back, what is he like as a player and maybe how long does it take to get him back to maybe where he was? I think that’s going to be a long process for him.”

» Florida junior jumper Marquis Dendy on Thursday captured the 2014 NCAA Outdoor Championship in men’s long jump. The outdoor long jump title in school history, Dendy’s 8.00m/26-3 championship-winning mark was his best of the season. Actually, all three of his jumps would have won the crown for Dendy, who previously won the 2013 NCAA Indoor Championship in the same event. He did not even need to take the last jump but chose to do so because he was “in the moment” and also wanted to qualify nationally in the event. He returns to the field on Saturday for the men’s triple jump, an event UF has dominated in recent years.

Continue Reading » 13 Gator Bites for Friday, June 13: Graham, Dendy, Harvin, Haslem, softball, MLB, Parsons

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SIX BITS: Tebow, Harvin, Mincey, Moss, Roberson

1 » ABC is making the most of its subsidiary’s employment of former Florida Gators quarterback Tim Tebow, according to The Hollywood Reporter, by having the Heisman Trophy winner sit in Friday as a guest co-host on Good Morning America. Tebow, who signed with ESPN in December to cover college football and be the face of the SEC Network (set to launch as its own channel in August), will join the Time Square-based show to discuss the forthcoming Super Bowl XLVIII between the Seattle Seahawks and his former team, the Denver Broncos.

2 » The highest-profile former Florida player actually participating in Sunday’s big game is Seahawks wide receiver Percy Harvin, who has a penchant for stepping up when championships are on the line. Harvin was cleared to return to practice last Wednesday and will be full-go for the Super Bowl with head coach Pete Carroll saying the playmaker has looked “great” in practice. Broncos cornerback Champ Bailey called Harvin “a dangerous man” on Sunday, “one of the most explosive guys coming off the ball” and someone who can “change the game.” Harvin on Tuesday declared himself “ready to go.” “This is what I live for,” he said. “I’m used to playing in big games since I was younger, whether it was in Pop Warner or the two with the Gators.” As a freshman, Harvin picked up 82 total yards and a touchdown in Florida’s 41-14 2007 BCS National Championship win over Ohio State. Two years later in the 2009 BCS National Championship, Harvin exploded for 171 yards and a touchdown in UF’s 24-14 victory against Oklahoma.

Continue Reading » SIX BITS: Tebow, Harvin, Mincey, Moss, Roberson

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Former Gators in the NFL Playoffs: Championship (2013) – four advance to Super Bowl XLVIII

The 2013-14 NFL Playoffs continued this week with six former Florida Gators spread out over all four of the teams that participated in NFL Championship round action.

Three former Gators were listed as active. Each of the four teams that played – and therefore both that advanced to Super Bowl XLVIII – had at least one former Florida player on its roster.

A former Gators player is guaranteed to be on the roster of a Super Bowl winner for the fifth time in the last six seasons. It will be the 12th consecutive season that a former Florida player will be on the roster of a Super Bowl team and the ninth time in the last 15 seasons that a former Gators player will be on the rosters of both Super Bowl teams.

Below are game statistics for all three active Florida players that participated in the third round of the playoffs. Check out how they performed…after the break!

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