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County Has Super Presence in Super Sunday

by Brandon Williams
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By Brandon C. Williams

Editor, The Post Newspaper

When watching Super Bowl 56 this evening, keep in mind that Galveston County’s contribution to the first 55 Super Bowls is one rich with success, as a total of 15 local players have reached professional football’s pinnacle, with eight being able to share in the moment of a combined 10 championships over that span.

Among those who have played on the game’s highest stage is La Marque’s Greg Randall, who was a part of the New England Patriots’ Super Bowl XXVI title winning squad. Randall started all 19 games at right tackle during the Pats’ championship run as he served as the shield for future Hall of Fame quarterback Tom Brady. He was on the field when kicker Adam Vinateri delivered the game-winning 48-yard field goal that lifted them over the heavily-favored St. Louis Rams.

Ball’s Casey Hampton is the area’s most decorated player, as the Pittsburgh Steelers defensive tackle played in three Super Bowls during his 11-year career. The one-time University of Texas standout started in each title game, including victories in Super Bowl XL over the Seattle Seahawks and Super Bowl XLIII over the Arizona Cardinals. Hampton also started in the Steelers’ Super Bowl XLV defeat at the hands of the Green Bay Packers. Clear Creek’s Bruce Davis was also part of the Steelers win over the Cardinals, appearing 13 games in the regular season.

Ball’s Mike Evans is the most recent participant on Super Sunday, as the Buccaneers receiver caught just one pass for 31 yards in Tampa Bay’s Super Bowl win over Kansas City in Super Bowl 55. Prior to Evans, the area’s most recent Super Bowl participant is Clear Springs’ Marcus Johnson. Currently with the Giants, the wide receiver was part of the Eagles’ dramatic victory over the Patriots in Super Bowl 52.

La Marque Lincoln alum Bill Gregory also participated in a trio of Super Bowls with the Dallas Cowboys, beginning in his rookie year in 1971 when the third round pick from Wisconsin was a part of Tom Landry’s first championship squad. Gregory played in Dallas’ Super Bowl X loss to the Steelers and played his last game with the Cowboys in their Super Bowl XII victory over the Broncos.

The county’s first Super Bowl representative came in Super Bowl IV, as Galveston Central’s Billy Harris was part of the last AFL-NFL showdown with the Minnesota Vikings. Harris, a running back who played collegiately at Colorado, played on special teams’ during the Vikings defeat to the Kansas City Chiefs.

It took just one season for the area to claim its first Super Bowl winner in the form of La Marque native Norm Bulaich, who helped the Baltimore Colts defeat the Cowboys in Super Bowl V. The victory capped off a remarkable year for Bulaich, the former TCU star who was selected in the first round by the Colts in the 1970 NFL Draft and led the team in rushing. He was also the first area player to start in a Super Bowl, where he rushed 12 times for 28 yards and also caught one pass for five yards.

Texas City’s Diron Talbert played a predominant role in the Washington Redskins’ “Over The Hill Gang’s” run to Super Bowl VII, where he started at defensive tackle. Talbert recorded a sack of Miami Dolphins Hall of Fame quarterback Bob Griese, yet it wasn’t enough to keep the Redskins from stopping the Dolphins completed their perfect season with a 14-7 win.

Running back Charles Alexander represented Galveston Ball in Super Bowl XVI, when the former LSU All-America and first round pick was part of the Cincinnati Bengals team that fell short against the San Francisco 49ers. Alexander carried five times for 17 yards and caught two passes for three yards.

Alexander would become part of Super Bowl lore when he was stuffed inches short of the goal line on a third-down play early in the third quarter. The play was part of a goal line stand by the 49ers, a sequence that changed the momentum of the contest.

Ball’s Robert Williams was a member of the revival of “America’s Team” when the Cowboys completed their 1992 season with a convincing win over the Bills in Super Bowl XXVII. The defensive back appeared in nine games during the regular season.

Like Bulaich and Gregory, Clear Creek’s James Patton was able to cap off his rookie season by reaching the Super Bowl. Patton, a second round pick of the Bills, participated in Super Bowl XVIII, where they lost to the Dallas Cowboys. The loss would mark the last of the Bills’ unprecedented run of four straight defeats on Super Sunday.

Tors alum George McCullough was a member of the Titans team that came one yard short of topping the Rams in Super Bowl XXXIV.

While not a Super Bowl, Galveston Central’s Charley Ferguson deserves an honorable mention for being part of the 1965 American Football League champion Bills team. The former Tennessee State tight end, who had missed the team’s first title with an injury the previous year, caught 21 passes for 262 yards and two scores during the ‘65 campaign and started in the title-winning shutout of the San Diego Chargers, who also had former Central alum Ed Mitchell on the roster.

Ferguson and the Bills played for the right to reach the first Super Bowl the following season, but were denied by the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFL championship game.

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