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Stanford in the NFL: Cardinal alumni prepare for Super Bowl, Luck shines in Pro Bowl

Regardless of this Sunday’s outcome, a former Cardinal football player will become a Super Bowl champion. The Seattle Seahawks’ Richard Sherman ’10 and Doug Baldwin ’11 and the Denver Broncos’ Sione Fua ’11 spent this past week preparing to take the field Sunday in the biggest game of their football careers that will see one team crowned as champions of the NFL.

Fua and the Broncos enter media week, the week before the Super Bowl, as 2.5-point favorites over the Seahawks. The Broncos earned their Super Bowl spot with a 26-16 over the New England Patriots in the AFC championship game. Former Cardinal quarterback John Elway ‘83, currently executive vice president of football operations for the Broncos, also hopes to earn his first Super Bowl victory as an executive after winning two in his final two years as quarterback of the Broncos.

The Seahawks advanced to the Super Bowl with a dramatic 23-17 victory over former Stanford head coach Jim Harbaugh and the San Francisco 49ers. After the social media firestorm that accompanied cornerback Richard Sherman ‘10 and his well-publicized postgame interview, Sherman will receive plenty of attention for the Seahawks during media week. While wide receiver Doug Baldwin may be in less of a media spotlight, the Broncos will surely consider him in their game plan after he led all players with 106 receiving yards and had a 69-yard kickoff return in the NFC championship game.

Many members of the media, fans and players around the nation spoke out in support of Sherman after the onslaught of criticism Sherman received on Twitter directly after his postgame interview, when some even called him a “thug.” Those jumping to Sherman’s defense included baseball legend Hank Aaron, Miami Heat forward LeBron James and Saints head coach Sean Payton.

Quarterback Andrew Luck '12

Quarterback Andrew Luck ’12 (12) started for Team Sanders in the Pro Bowl, throwing a pinpoint 36-yard touchdown pass to DeSean Jackson for the game’s first score. (SIMON WARBY/The Stanford Daily)

Sherman did receive a $7,875 fine for his taunting after making the game-saving play. Sherman made a choking motion toward the 49ers bench and quarterback Colin Kaepernick that brought about a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty and the fine.

The NFL also released the sounds from the end of the NFC championship game in which Richard Sherman was equipped with a microphone.

While Andrew Luck ‘12 surely wishes he could be taking the field for the Super Bowl, he did play for one final time in this season’s Pro Bowl.

Drafted first overall on the second day of the Pro Bowl draft in an eye-catching hat, Luck played for Team Sanders and completed five of his seven attempts for 80 passing yards, one touchdown and one interception in a 22-21 defeat.

Luck’s touchdown pass came on a 36-yard flea flicker in which Luck connected with Cal alumnus and Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Desean Jackson. Jackson was covered by two defenders, but Luck found him anyway for the touchdown in the first quarter.

Luck played in the Pro Bowl for his second straight season and would have been joined by fellow Cardinal alumnus Sherman if not for the Seahawks’ Super Bowl berth.

Contact Michael Peterson at mrpeters ‘at’ stanford.edu.

About Michael Peterson

Michael Peterson is a sports desk editor at The Stanford Daily. He has served as a beat reporter for football, baseball and men’s soccer and also does play-by-play broadcasting of baseball and men’s soccer for KZSU. Michael is a sophomore from Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif. majoring in computer science. To contact him, please email him at mrpeters ‘at’ stanford.edu.