Both Mississippi college and native players are eligible for today’s purposes. We’ll begin where great football teams start – at the quarterback. Eli Manning wins over Brett Favre as our starter. It’s not as difficult as you might think. Manning was a part of two Super Bowls. He won two Super Bowls and won two Super Bowl MVPs. Manning beat Tom Brady both times. That’s a win! Favre threw slightly more in his Super Bowls but lost one and won one. He was not the Super Bowl MVP. We will have one running back and three wide receivers on this all-star team. Walter Payton is my favorite football player, and he played for many bad teams throughout his career before finally getting his Super Bowl chance in SB XX. Payton, who was the NFL’s most prolific rusher at the time he retired, ran for 61 yard in the Chicago Bears’ 46-10 defeat of New England. However, he was famously denied the chance to score a touchdown because Mike Ditka chose to allow William Perry, a defensive lineman, to score from the one yard line. Maybe one day, Ditka will be forgiven. But not today. Jerry Rice is the wide receivers group and remains undoubtedly the most productive receiver in Super Bowl history. He is undoubtedly the greatest Super Bowl player at his position. Three of the four greatest receiving performances in history are attributed to the former Mississippi Valley State star. This is how it looked: Three games, three wins, 28 catches. 512 yards. Seven touchdowns. One MVP. (Could have been three). Many older fans will remember Lance “Bambi”, Alworth of Brookhaven, as the greatest American Football League receiver. He played most of his remarkable career with the San Diego Chargers. He scored the first touchdown in Super Bowl VI as a Dallas Cowboys player at the age of 31, in a victory over the Miami Dolphins. His running back Duane Tom, his teammate, said, “How can they call Super Bowl football’s final game if it is played every year?” This question remains valid. Back to receivers. Deion Branch is my third receiver. He played two seasons at Jones Junior College, Ellisville. Branch caught 11 Brady passes and gained 133 yards for the New England Patriots victory over the Philadelphia Eagles on February 6, 2005. Branch was named the game’s MVP. Our tight end? Our tight end? In 1990, Walls was a young backup on the 49ers’ depth chart. He caught a nine-yard pass by MVP Joe Montana in the Niners’ 55-10 win over Denver. Our left tackle is Jackie Slater, a Jackson native and former Jackson State great. He is one of the most outstanding offensive linemen in professional football history. Slater, who is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, was a great player for many Los Angeles Rams teams over his 20-year career, but only one Super Bowl appearance, a 31-19 defeat to the Pittsburgh Steelers. It just shows how difficult it can be to make this team and get to the Super Bowl. Our other tackle is Michael Oher, whose story inspired “The Blind Side”, a movie. The Ole Miss legend played in two Super Bowls for the Baltimore Ravens, and the Carolina Panthers. Guards? Floyd “Pork Chop” Womack is one. It’s hard to leave Pork Chop out of the team. He was also a good player. In 2006, the great Mississippi State native from Cleveland played for the Seattle Seahawks. The team lost 21-10 to Pittsburgh. Literary license is being granted for the other choice of guard. Gene Hickerson, an ex-Ole Miss legend and Pro Football Hall of Famer, is my partner. He never played in the Super Bowl. However, he did play in three NFL championship games. He was able to block three running backs for the Cleveland Browns, including Jimmy Brown. Leroy Kelly, who was the replacement for Brown, was once asked about his lessons from Brown. Kelly replied, “I learned to follow Gene Hickerson’s butt wherever he went.” Kent Hull is, of course. Greenwood native and Mississippi State legend, Hull was a key player in the Buffalo Bills’ four consecutive Super Bowls. He didn’t win any, but he did get to four and is one the most successful centers in the history. We’ll be playing a three-man defensive front, as we have more outstanding linebackers than defense linemen. Our defensive ends are Verlon “Dirty” Biggs from Moss Point, Jackson State, and L.C. Greenwood of Canton is flanked by tackle Fletcher Cox from Yazoo State and Mississippi State. Greenwood, who was criminally and somehow never made it to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in the end, left behind four Super Bowl rings with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Roger Staubach was also known as Roger, the Dodger. However, Greenwood sacked him three more times in Super Bowl X. Dirty Biggs was a Super Bowl player for the Washington Redskins and New York Jets. Cox is still active and was a six-time Pro Bowler. He was also a Super Bowl Champion with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2018. You can also be thrown at us by the linebackers. D.D. Lewis, a former Mississippi State star who holds the Dallas Cowboys record of playing in 27 post-season matches, five Super Bowls, is still the most active. He is one of eight NFL players who has played in as many Super Bowls. You have to choose between Larry Grantham (Crystal Springs (Ole Miss), Johnie Cooks(Leland Mississippi State), Patrick Willis, Ole Miss), Jamie Collins, McCall Creek (Southern Miss), and K.J. Wright (Olive Branch in Mississippi State) will be filling the three remaining spots. It is better to play all of them. They are all great and each had their Super Bowl moments. Grantham could easily have been named Super Bowl III MVP, an honor that Joe Namath won in a defensive-dominated game. Willie Brown (Raiders cornerback, Yazoo City) leads the charge in the secondary. The sport’s most famous (and replayed) play is his pass interception for a touchdown of 75 yards in Super Bowl VI. Malcolm Butler of Vicksburg is responsible for another memorable moment in the Super Bowl. He saved New England’s win over Seattle with his game-saving intercept. Brady was so impressed by Butler’s play that he gave Butler his MVP award-winning truck. There is no way that I will let Leslie Frazier go from this team. He was one of the best-known corners in the game, and he sustained a life-threatening injury during the Bears’ victory over New England in Super Bowl XX. Mike Ditka was able to save his life by allowing him to return a punt in the final minutes of the game. There are many options for fourth defensive back. But this is an old-school nomination to Jim Marsalis (Pascagoula), a man who helped the Kansas City Chiefs win 23-7 against Minnesota in Super Bowl IV. Punter? Ray Guy wins over Jerrel Wilson (Southern Miss’s great punter), who set a Super Bowl record with his punting during KC’s Super Bowl IV win. Al Davis, Oakland Raiders Hall of Famer, famously selected Guy as his first round draft pick. He believed Guy would help them win the Super Bowl. Guy’s punting was a key factor in three Raiders wins. Placekicker? Madison Central’s Stephen “Beaver”, Gostkowski kicked six Super Bowls with the New England Patriots, including three wins. While you can disagree with the selections, don’t forget this: The Mississippi Super Bowlers team could play with any state and beat most, if any.