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#MACtion in the NFL Playoffs

Which MAC alumni are positioning themselves for a Super Bowl run?

Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

17 weeks of regular season football are in the books and the field is set for the tournament to decide the winner of the 50th Super Bowl in San Francisco. Will there be massive amounts of #MACtion in the NFL postseason? Absolutely.


#1 Denver Broncos

The AFC West champs don't have any MAC players on the roster, but RBs coach Eric Studesville spent time at Kent in 1995-96 as a secondary coach while DBs coach Joe Woods spent time at EMU, Kent State, and WMU in his coaching career.

#2 New England Patriots

The defending Super Bowl champions feature a lot Golden Flashes on the roster with one of Tom Brady's go-to receivers in Julian Edelman before missing the last seven games due to injury, as well as defensive lineman Ishmaa'ily Kitchen and offensive lineman Josh Kline, who started 13 games this season. On the reserve/PUP list for most of the season is the former Bowling Green defensive tackle Chris Jones, the 2012 MAC Defensive Player of the Year, while Rashaan Melvin, the corner from Northern Illinois who is second all-time in pass breakups in program history, is on the team's practice squad.

The coaching staff also has MAC ties as cornerbacks coach Josh Boyer spent 2002 and 2003 as a graduate assistant for the Flashes while director of player personnel Nick Caserio also was a GA at Central Michigan in 2001.

#3 Cincinnati Bengals

Former Ball State quarterback Keith Wenning represents the only MAC player on the Bengals roster, but offensive line coach Paul Alexander was an assistant coach for the Chippewas from 1987 to 1991, the last time CMU finished above .500 in five straight seasons.

Former Miami receiver and corner Brayden Coombs is also the co-special teams coordinator for Cincinnati and defensive backs coach Vance Joseph held an assistant post for the Falcons from 2005-2010 while quarterbacks coach Ken Zampese was an assistant in Oxford in 1998, where the Red and White went 10-1 in Randy Walker's last season.

#4 Houston Texans

The AFC South champions boast some #MACtion with Miami offensive guard Brandon Brooks starting for the Texans for 14 games this season while Greg Mancz, the rookie center from Toledo, is on the reserve/injured list.

Special teams coordinator Bob Ligashesky spent most of the 90's in the MAC as he coached up LBs and special teams at BG from 1991 to 1999, while OL coach Mike Devlin was responsible for the line play at Toledo in 2004-05. Tim Kelly, the Texan's offensive quality control, was a graduate assistant at Ball State in 2011.

#5 Kansas City Chiefs

Former Chip and 14-game starter Eric Fisher, fellow CMU alum and LB Frank Zombo, and ex-Zip OL Jarrod Pughsley are on the Chiefs active roster, while Akron linebacker Justin March, who had four tackles in the preseason opener before tearing his meniscus, is on the injured/reserved list and NIU receiver Da'Ron Brown found his way onto the practice squad.

#6 Pittsburgh Steelers

Perhaps the most #MACtion-y team in the league, the Steelers feature Miami's Ben Roethlisberger and CMU's Antonio Brown on offense, while Kent State's James Harrison, Ohio's Mike Mitchell, and Chippewa L.T. Walton contribute on defense. Brown has had an incredible season at receiver with 136 receptions for 1,834 yards and 10 touchdowns while Mitchell has been a bright spot in the secondary with 80 tackles, three interceptions, two forced fumbles, and two fumble recoveries.

Also on the roster in former UMass TE Rob Blanchflower, Toledo QB Bruce Gradkowski, Kent State DL-now-fullback Roosevelt Nix, and Bowling Green kicker Shaun Suisham, who are all on the reserve/injured list.


#1 Carolina Panthers

No #MACtion on Carolina's roster. =/ But secondary coach Steve Wilks served as an assistant at BG in 2003 and OL coach John Matsko was a Kent State fullback 1970-72 (where he was teammates with Nick Saban, Jack Lambert, and Gary Pinkel, and won the MAC in '72) and coached at Miami 1974-75 and 1977, where he picked up three more conference titles. Defensive line coach Eric Washington spent 2001-03 at the same position at Ohio.

#2 Arizona Cardinals

Linebacker Gabe Martin, a former Falcon and three-time All-MAC selection, is on the Cards' practice squad as the team's only MAC representative as offensive line coach Harold Goodwin had stints at both Eastern and Central Michigan in the late 90's and early 2000's, and defensive coordinator James Bettcher spent 2010 at Ball State. Strength and conditioning coach Buddy Morris made a stop at Buffalo in 2006 as he was named the Director of Sports Performance.

#3 Minnesota Vikings

Toledo graduate and three-time all-conference center Zac Kerin is the only player from the MAC on the Vikings roster but special teams coordinator Mike Priefer spent 2000-01 coaching up the DTs as well as the special teams for NIU.

#4 Washington Redskins

No players from the MAC on the roster for Washington, but former 'Hawks receiver Sean McVay serves as the 'Skins offensive coordinator.

#5 Green Bay Packers

There's a lot of #MACtion on Green Bay's roster with Buffalo's James Starks, EMU's T.J. Lang, and Miami's Quinten Rollins all earning starts this season at running back, offensive guard, and corner respectively. Starks posted a career-best 993 yards from scrimmage and 5 scores this season, Lang started 15 games, and Rollins had two picks, including one for a score, against the Rams this season.

In addition, linebackers Jayrone Elliott (Toledo) and Andy Mulumba (Eastern Michigan) are also on the active roster.

On the coaching staff is offensive quality control coach and former Akron QB Luke Getsy, who coached up the wide receivers at WMU in 2013 after leading the Zips to their first MAC title in 2005 and broke 24 school records. Also having MAC ties is defensive coordinator Dom Capers, who holds a masters' degree from Kent State after serving as a GA from 1972-1974. DL coach Mike Trgovac was an assistant at Ball State during the 1986-88 seasons while former RedHawk DB Ron Zook mans the special teams coordinator post.

#6 Seattle Seahawks

Former Chip running back Thomas Rawls was having a stellar rookie season with 830 rushing yards and four touchdowns prior to having a season-ending injury, leaving ex-Bull OL Kristjan Sokoli as the only MAC player left on the active roster. On the practice squad is Drew Nowak, who is in his fourth year out of Western Michigan where he was the MAC Defensive Player of the Year in 2011.

Assistant OL coach Pat Ruel served as the offensive coordinator at NIU from 1985-87 while former RedHawk Sherman Smith, who is 11th all-time in rushing at Miami and picked up three conference titles in addition to a 33-1-1 record, is responsible for coaching up running backs.