Which Alabama Football Player Will Have Most Impact in Super Bowl 51

Feb 2, 2014; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets former quarterback Joe Namath before Super Bowl XLVIII between the Seattle Seahawks and the Denver Broncos at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Feb 2, 2014; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets former quarterback Joe Namath before Super Bowl XLVIII between the Seattle Seahawks and the Denver Broncos at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Alabama Football’s Julio Jones and Dont’a Hightower are leaders for their teams. Will one of them have the greatest impact by a former Tide player in the Super Bowl? Or will it be Courtney Upsahw or Cyrus Jones?

Alabama Football boasts three Super Bowl MVP’s. Broadway Joe was not the first Alabama Football player to be a Super Bowl MVP. Green Bay Packer quarterback, Bart Starr won the Super Bowl MVP award twice before Joe.

The headline above highlights the two players who will start for their teams on Sunday. Courtney Upshaw is also a key player for the Falcons defense. He may not start but he has a chance to make the greatest impact for a former Tide player.

The fourth Tide player in the game, Cyrus Jones has seen limited action after losing his job as punt returner. He is a backup cornerback and there may be a silver lining if Jones does not play in the secondary on Sunday. At least he will not have to try and cover that other Jones.

Let’s look at the possibilities for each player and their chance to make the greatest impact in Super Bowl 51.

Jan 22, 2017; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones (11) runs for a touchdown against Green Bay Packers cornerback Damarious Randall (23) during the third quarter in the 2017 NFC Championship Game at the Georgia Dome. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Jan 22, 2017; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones (11) runs for a touchdown against Green Bay Packers cornerback Damarious Randall (23) during the third quarter in the 2017 NFC Championship Game at the Georgia Dome. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Julio Jones – Wide Receiver – Atlanta Falcons

Julio is arguably the most dynamic wide receiver, not just in Super Bowl 51, but in the NFL. At times, lots of times, he borders on “unstoppable.”

Watch this Julio Magic and enjoy:

Well – is there any doubt this wonderfully gifted, obsessively determined Super-athlete will be Alabama’s former player making the greatest impact on Super Bowl 51? Let’s slow our roll for a bit here.

On the opposing sideline is the best defensive coach in football, not named Nick Saban. Bill Belichick will have a plan for Julio. Part of the game, maybe even most of the game, Julio will be double covered. No brainer right. Your next door neighbor who has not watched a complete NFL game all season knows Belichick prides himself in negating what other teams do best. Julio is what the Falcons do best. So Belichick him!

Not as simple as it sounds – that blanket Julio and you beat the Falcons strategy. Every game this season an Atlanta opponent used that strategy, the Falcons won. Atlanta has a potent offense with weapons aplenty. If the Patriots focus too much on Julio, other Falcons can beat them. Not to mention, not every double-team is able to stop Julio anyway.

Nov 30, 2014; Green Bay, WI, USA; New England Patriots linebacker Dont'a Hightower (54) celebrates a sack during the second quarter against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Nov 30, 2014; Green Bay, WI, USA; New England Patriots linebacker Dont’a Hightower (54) celebrates a sack during the second quarter against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Mr. Dont’a Hightower, LB Patriots- and I mean MISTER

There may be a few better linebackers in the NFL than Dont’a Hightower but none of them will be on the field Sunday. Hightower can hurt opponents in multiple ways. He can stuff a run game. He can cover the best receiving threat coming out of the backfield. He can blitz and literally hurt the opposing quarterback.

Maybe it would better for the Falcons if Hightower just contained Devonta Freeman. If Dont’a is mostly focused on Freeman, maybe he will not seriously hurt Matt Ryan.

Check out MISTER Hightower’s video:

Feb 3, 2013; New Orleans, LA, USA; San Francisco 49ers running back LaMichael James (23) fumbles as he is hit by Baltimore Ravens outside linebacker Courtney Upshaw (91) during the second quarter in Super Bowl XLVII at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

Feb 3, 2013; New Orleans, LA, USA; San Francisco 49ers running back LaMichael James (23) fumbles as he is hit by Baltimore Ravens outside linebacker Courtney Upshaw (91) during the second quarter in Super Bowl XLVII at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

Courtney Upshaw – Linebacker, Atlanta Falcons

Courtney Upshaw will be remembered as one of Alabama’s great players. He was the Defensive MVP for the Tide in the 2012 BCS National Championship game. Upshaw will always be known for his comment during the Championship Game celebration when he told teammate Mark Barron “touch that thang fo.”

Courtney simply wanted Barron to get his hands on the trophy. Many media wizards interpreted Courtney’s vernacular “fo” not as the number four but as “folk”. Conjecture spread as to the meaning of Courtney’s exhortation “touch that thing folk.” All Upshaw was doing was telling his friend and teammate #4, Mark Barron to touch the trophy.

Courtney Upshaw does not gain the notoriety of Jones and Hightower. He is listed as a linebacker for the Falcons, but he plays mostly with his hand down. The Patriots cannot afford to let an unimpeded Upshaw and his 272 lbs. get a shot at Brady. One shot might be all it would take to determine the outcome of Super Bowl 51.

Take a look at Upshaw as a Baltimore Raven, bringing the wood to Ben Roethlisberger:

I don’t see Tom Brady surviving that kind of punishment. Any such lick would assure Courtney Upshaw being the former Tider with the greatest impact in Super Bowl 51.

Dec 31, 2015; Arlington, TX, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide cornerback Cyrus Jones (5) returns a punt in the 2015 CFP semifinal at the Cotton Bowl against Michigan State Spartans cornerback Demetrious Cox (7) at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Dec 31, 2015; Arlington, TX, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide cornerback Cyrus Jones (5) returns a punt in the 2015 CFP semifinal at the Cotton Bowl against Michigan State Spartans cornerback Demetrious Cox (7) at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Cyrus Jones – Cornerback, New England Patriots

Cyrus is a considerable longshot to be the most impactful former Tide player. After losing his punt return role during the season, Cyrus’ best chance to see the field is in the secondary.

If he gets in the game, he will have an opportunity at glory. It only takes one play and Tide fans remember that Cyrus is dynamic once he gets a firm hold on the ball.

Check out Cyrus’ highlights as a Tider:

It is impossible for many Alabama fans to root against any of the four former Tide players. The best scenario would be for each of them to make big impacts in Super Bowl 51.

It is also hard to not pull the most for the biggest longshot. Just imagine, Cyrus getting on the field, picking off Matt Ryan and taking to the house. Whichever team you are rooting for on Sunday, most Tide fans would relish Cyrus making a big play.

Bring on Super Bowl 51, sit back and enjoy when two former Alabama Crimson Tide players win a Super Bowl. And see which former Crimson Tide player has the greatest impact in Super Bowl 51.

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