Quite a few former New York Jets will have a chance to earn a Super Bowl ring today
While the Super Bowl only puts two teams on the big stage, it is, in a way, a celebration for all 32 of the NFL’s teams. Between the countless players, coaches, and staff members across both teams, every one of the other 30 teams watching from home is represented by one of their alumni.
Here are seven former New York Jets who could take home a championship ring in Los Angeles tonight.
Rams offensive coordinator Kevin O’Connell
San Diego State quarterback Kevin O’Connell was a third-round pick of the Patriots in 2008. At the 2008 NFL Draft Combine, O’Connell ran the 40-yard dash in 4.61 seconds, second-fastest among quarterbacks that year behind only future Jets quarterback Josh Johnson.
O’Connell threw six passes in his rookie year and was waived by New England the following year. He was claimed by Detroit on Sept. 1, 2009, and five days later, the Jets acquired him from Detroit in exchange for a seventh-round draft pick.
The now-Rams offensive coordinator lasted with the Jets throughout the 2009, 2010, and 2011 seasons but never played a regular-season snap for them. He was actually released by the Jets in July 2011 and joined the Dolphins, who released him again before he once more signed with the Jets ahead of the 2011 season.
O’Connell will become the new head coach of the Minnesota Vikings once the Super Bowl concludes.
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Rams defensive coordinator Raheem Morris
A product of Hofstra University in Long Island, Raheem Morris served as Hofstra’s defensive backs coach from 2000-01 and entered the NFL through a defensive minority internship with the Jets in 2001.
Morris is a native of Irvington, New Jersey.
Rams CB Blake Countess
Blake Countess played six games as a special teamer for the Jets in 2019, although he did not register any statistics in the box score.
Countess did not play a game in the 2021 regular season and has been a Ram for barely more than a month. Yet, all of a sudden, he is a recurring cast member for a Los Angeles special teams unit that is making a championship push.
Countess was released by the Eagles on Sept. 9. He remained unsigned until he joined the Ravens’ practice squad on Dec. 1. Baltimore released Countess on Dec. 28.
Los Angeles signed Countess to its practice squad following the conclusion of the regular season on Jan. 12. Since then, Countess has been elevated to the active roster for all three of the Rams’ playoff wins.
Countess has played 24 special teams snaps in the postseason, ranking 15th on the team. He mainly appears with the kickoff coverage unit, where he is tied for the team lead with 18 snaps.
Rams S Sharrod Neasman
Sharrod Neasman played 11 games for the Jets in 2021, handling a core special teams role in all of those games while playing safety for an extended period of time in five games. Neasman had 14 tackles, three passes defended, and an interception.
The Jets released Neasman on Jan. 8, one day before their season finale. He signed with the Rams’ practice squad four days later.
Neasman will receive a ring if the Rams win, but he will not play in the Super Bowl as he was placed on injured reserve on Feb. 1.
Bengals offensive line coach/run game coordinator Frank Pollack
There are no Bengals players who have suited up for the Jets before, but there are three tiger-striped coaches who once donned a green oval on their caps.
Frank Pollack served as the Jets’ offensive line coach from 2019-20. He oversaw an atrocious unit in 2019 but did help forge some noticeable progress in 2020. Jets left tackle Mekhi Becton had a promising (albeit injury-ravaged) rookie year under Pollack.
Pollack leads a Bengals offensive line that is likely the weakest unit on either team in the Super Bowl. Cincinnati quarterback Joe Burrow took an NFL-high 51 sacks in the regular season despite his notoriously excellent elusiveness in the pocket. Burrow famously overcame nine sacks to defeat the top-seeded Titans in the Divisional round.
Bengals secondary/cornerbacks coach Steve Jackson
Steve Jackson played cornerback for nine seasons in the NFL from 1991-99, all of them with the Houston Oilers/Tennessee Oilers/Tennessee Titans.
Jackson was the Jets’ assistant defensive backs coach from 2018-19. He aided in a secondary that was best known for the efforts of safeties Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye. At cornerback, the Jets struggled with players like Trumaine Johnson, Darryl Roberts, and Bless Austin among others.
Bengals defensive quality control coach Louie Cioffi
A native of Queens and alum of Long Island’s Stony Brook University, Louie Cioffi served as an assistant with the Jets from 1997-98 under head coach Bruce Coslet. Cioffi was only 20 years old when hired by New York.