Thursday, February 3, 2011
As I walked out of Arrowhead Stadium after the Kansas City Chiefs were dismantled by the Baltimore Ravens, I wasn't in the mood to think of what other team to cheer for.
I was upset that my hometown team was knocked out of the playoffs in the first round after a surprising, yet successful season, but after a few days, I began to think of what teams I would support.
The luck of the teams I picked for the second round wasn't much better.
The Cinderella team, the Seattle Seahawks, and the Baltimore Ravens, featuring my proclaimed celebrity look-a-like Joe Flacco, were eliminated in the second round.
Going into the AFC and NFC Championship games, I was searching for two teams to cheer for to reach the Super Bowl.
It was not long before I remembered that a Super Bowl matchup, featuring two Baker University alumni, could still become a reality.
While 2007 Baker graduate Tanner Purdum and the New York Jets fell short of playing Sunday, 1987 Baker graduate Mike McCarthy has coached his NFC No. 6 seed Green Bay Packers to Super Bowl XLV.
It has not taken long for McCarthy to find success in the NFL. McCarthy became the Packers head coach after the 2005 season and has led the Packers to playoff berths in three of his five seasons.
The matchup against the Steelers will have more meaning for McCarthy because he is a Pittsburgh native. McCarthy was born and raised in Pittsburgh and went to two junior colleges before coming to play tight end at Baker in 1985 and 1986.
Despite growing up a Steelers fan, McCarthy will attempt to win his first Super Bowl and prevent his hometown team from winning its seventh Super Bowl.
While McCarthy only spent two years at Baker, he helped lead the Wildcats to two successful seasons, including an appearance in the NAIA national championship game in 1986.
The 1986 title game was his last game as a player, but the leadership he showed as a captain during that season proved that he had the capability to be a talented coach.
McCarthy's coaching career began in 1987 at Fort Hays State University as a graduate assistant. He stayed at FHSU for two years before becoming the quarterbacks and wide receivers coach at the University of Pittsburgh from 1989-1992.
From 1993-2005, McCarthy was the quarterbacks coach or offensive coordinator with Chiefs, Packers, New Orleans Saints and San Francisco 49ers before becoming the head coach for the Packers in 2006.
McCarthy has had an unbelievable amount of success since graduating from Baker.
Many high-profile sports figures might not take the time to give back to where they grew up or went to college. The fact that McCarthy not only gave back to Baker, but donated $100,000 to the BU football program the past three years and has a scholarship in his name for junior college transfers like himself speaks a lot about what kind of a person he is.
If you are trying to decide what team to cheer for on Sunday, keep McCarthy in mind and what he has done for Baker.
McCarthy has supported Baker with his hard work as a student athlete on the football field and given big monetary contributions as an alumnus, so now it is time for the Baker community to support him.