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Broncos, Seahawks Both Have New Jersey Connections

By By Mike Wilkening
|  Tuesday, Jan 28, 2014  |  Updated 2:59 AM EDT
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2014 NFL Playoffs

The Broncos' Knowshon Moreno, left, played prep football in New Jersey and Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll was an assistant and head coach for the New York Jets in the 90s.

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People watch the Super Bowl for many different reasons.

Cold, cruel math leaves most fans without their favorite team in the big game. After all, 30 of 32 NFL clubs will also be watching Super Bowl XLVIII on TV.

So why block off several hours Sunday to tune into the Super Bowl? Some will just watch for the commercials. Others will attend Super Bowl parties to eat and drink to the content of their hearts; there’s something about Super Bowl Sunday that makes so many raise their guacamole game.

The action on the field is also an appeal. Super Bowl XLVIII looks to be a compelling matchup, with both the Broncos and Seahawks standing out all season. Fans of high-level football might just lock themselves in a quiet room and focus on the game, leaving the halftime show and the nachos for others.

However, many football fans will have a foot in both worlds on Super Bowl Sunday. They will relish the skilled play on the field and toast a memorable commercial when they see it. Many fans will want to root for someone, even if their team has long been eliminated from playoff contention.

For New York and New Jersey residents looking for pull for players with local connections, the Broncos have you covered with multiple key players with Garden State ties.

Broncos tailback Knowshon Moreno starred at Middletown South High School in Middletown, rushing for 128 touchdowns in a prolific prep career. The 26-year-old Moreno later starred at Georgia before the Broncos drafted him No. 12 overall in 2009. 

The Broncos’ other first-round pick in 2009, defensive end Robert Ayers, was born in Jersey City. Ayers, 28, is an important part of Denver’s defensive line rotation. He had a sack in the Broncos’ AFC title-game win against New England.

Ayers isn’t the only Broncos defensive lineman from New Jersey. Starting defensive end Shaun Phillips was a standout at Willingboro High School before starring at Purdue. The 32-year-old led Denver with 10 sacks during the regular season and is the team's top pas-rush threat heading into Super Bowl XLVIII.

Another Broncos defensive starter, free safety Mike Adams, played prep football at Passaic County Technical Institute in Wayne. The 32-year-old Adams played on the school’s 1998 state championship team.

The Broncos’ local connections don’t end there. Head coach John Fox was the Giants’ defensive coordinator from 1997 through 2001. Assistant secondary coach Sam Garnes played for both the Giants (1997-2001) and Jets (2002-2003). He also played prep football at Dewitt Clinton High School in the Bronx and coached at Emerson High School in Emerson, N.J.

The Seahawks also have some local ties. Coach Pete Carroll was the Jets’ defensive coordinator from 1990-1993 and their head coach in 1994. Defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, meanwhile, was born in Orange, N.J., and played high school football in Morristown, according to the Seahawks.

No matter who wins the first Super Bowl in New Jersey, the state will have a little connection to the champion.

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