The eyes of the football world will be on Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif., on Sunday evening as Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers square off with Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl 50.
There's a clear Maryland connection in the game, with former Terps tight end Vernon Davis and nose tackle Darius Kilgo on the Broncos roster. But there's another Maryland Super Bowl connection that runs a little bit deeper and a little bit more behind the scenes.
Maryland coach DJ Durkin was born on Jan. 15, 1978, which happened to be Super Bowl Sunday. The Dallas Cowboys beat Denver, 27-10, in Super Bowl XII at the Superdome in New Orleans, La., behind a staunch defensive effort.
One of the Most Valuable Players of that game? Maryland great Randy White, who shared the award with fellow defensive lineman Harvey Martin and led a dominant performance by the Cowboys defense, which forced eight Broncos turnovers. It was also White's birthday.
At Maryland, White, a Delaware native, solidified himself as one of the best defensive linemen in the school's history. In 1974, he won the Outland and Lombardi trophies, was the ACC Player of the Year and was a unanimous selection as a first-team All-American. He was the Delaware Athlete of the Year, and the Philadelphia Sportswriters Association Amateur Athlete of the Year. His number, 94, is retired at Maryland.
In 14 seasons in the NFL, White was a nine-time All-Pro and nine-time Pro Bowl selection. He had 52 career sacks and was selected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1994. And on the same day White was dominating an overmatched Denver offense back in 1978, a young defensive mind that would eventually take over White's alma mater was born.