The University of California at Berkeley has placed several of its quarterbacks in the Super Bowl. Cal quarterbacks just met in the NFC Divisional Playoff round, and the winner of that game is playing Sunday for the right to participate in another Super Bowl. Let’s take this trip down memory lane and consider the online betting legacy of one Cal quarterback who is still trying to rewrite his place in the NFL history books.
The only Cal quarterback to play in the Super Bowl before the merger between the National Football League and the old American Football League was Joe Kapp. The Berkeley Bear played for the Minnesota Vikings and led them to Super Bowl IV in January of 1970 against the Kansas City Chiefs. This Super Bowl turned out to be the last game before the NFL and AFL merged in 1970. Before the merger, the AFL was its own league. After the merger, the Patriots, Jets, Bills, Dolphins, Bengals, Houston Oilers, Broncos, Chiefs, Raiders, and Chargers went to the newly named American Football Conference, or AFC, with three NFL teams: the Steelers, Browns, and Colts. The other NFL teams formed the National Football Conference, or NFC.
Joe Kapp’s Vikings lost to the Chiefs in Super Bowl IV. When the 2019 Kansas City Chiefs made Super Bowl LIV, it was the first time in 50 years the Chiefs had reached professional football’s biggest game.
Joe Kapp returned to Berkeley to coach the Cal football team. He was the coach of the Golden Bears in 1982 for the unforgettable lateral kickoff return in which the Bears scored the winning touchdown while the Stanford band was on the field. The event is known as “The Play,” 39 years later.
Craig Morton owns a unique place on this list because he is the only California-Berkeley quarterback to start for multiple teams in the Super Bowl. Morton’s first Super Bowl start was for the Dallas Cowboys, who faced the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl V in January of 1971 in Miami. Seven years later, Morton guided the Denver Broncos to Super Bowl XII in New Orleans versus his former team, the Cowboys. Morton lost each of those Super Bowls, but it remains a special achievement to make the Super Bowl with different franchises under different sets of circumstances. Not many other men can say that. Peyton Manning, who – like Morton – guided the Denver Broncos to the Super Bowl, is one of the few quarterbacks to take multiple teams to the Super Bowl. Kurt Warner of the Rams and the Cardinals is also on the shortlist. Tom Brady will try to join this list on Sunday when his Tampa Bay Buccaneers play for the right to go to the Super Bowl against the Green Bay Packers.
Aaron Rodgers is the greatest Cal quarterback to play in the NFL. Rodgers will be a lock for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, having established himself as one of the legends of the game. Rodgers’ quick release, razor-sharp instincts, and above-average running ability have created one of the most lethal quarterbacks of all-time in a period of football history when the passing game reigned supreme. In the 1990s, Rodgers’ brilliance might not have emerged as much because the NFL was not as dedicated to throwing the ball, but in the modern game, the emphasis on passing has maximized Rodgers’ talents. He won Super Bowl XLV over the Pittsburgh Steelers. Now he is trying to return to the big game a decade later. His duel with Brady and the Buccaneers is center stage in the NFC Championship Game. This will be the first NFC Championship Game Rodgers has played at home in Green Bay. His previous four NFC title games were at the Chicago Bears, at the Seattle Seahawks, at the Atlanta Falcons, and at the San Francisco 49ers last season.
The career of Jared Goff is still relatively young but has taken many twists and turns. Goff had the look of a star when he took the Los Angeles Rams to the Super Bowl. Goff and the Rams were smothered by the New England Patriots’ defense in Super Bowl LIII in Atlanta, losing 13-3, but the Rams had still broken through and looked like a top-tier NFC contender, which would remain in good shape for the next several years. Yet, it hasn’t quite worked out that way. The Rams missed the playoffs entirely in 2019. This season, they did win a Wild-Card game, but Rodgers and the Packers beat them by 14 points in the divisional round. Goff has a huge price tag attached to him, and yet the Rams aren’t entirely sure if he is their best option at quarterback for the long run. This is a career that will need some time to be sorted out. It is a career that might also have a change of scenery before too long.
Vince Ferragamo had a solid NFL career with the Los Angeles Rams in the late 1970s and early 1980s. His greatest moment came when he led the Rams to their first Super Bowl appearance in the 1979 season. Late in a divisional-round game against the Cowboys in Dallas, Ferragamo threw a pass that found its way past four Cowboy defenders and into the arms of receiver Billy Waddie, who ran to the wide side of the field and then up the left sideline for an incredible touchdown that stunned over 60,000 Dallas fans. The Rams scored a huge upset of the top-seeded Cowboys, who had been their nemesis in the playoffs in previous seasons. Los Angeles got past its toughest test in the NFC and then shut out the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the NFC title game the next week. The Rams earned a date with the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Rose Bowl. Ferragamo and the Rams played well, but Terry Bradshaw and the veteran Steelers were simply better in the fourth quarter. Pittsburgh used a vertical passing game to hit deep strikes and outscore Ferragamo, 31-19. Nevertheless, one of Cal’s best quarterbacks had made history with the Rams and coach Ray Malavasi, who rose to the top of the NFC at long last.
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