As the New England Patriots won the Super Bowl for the fifth time in Franchise history tonight, in a stunning 34-28 rally against the Atlanta Falcons in overtime, another Virginia football alumnus has earned a ring of his own.
Chris Long, one of the Hoos’ all-time great defensive linemen and a University of Virginia icon, is the latest Cavalier to win football’s world championship.
Long, who played in Charlottesville from 2004-07, was a unanimous first-team All-American his fourth year. He won the Ted Hendricks Award as the best defensive end in the country and was third in the nation with 14 sacks, including one simply known as The Safety.
The son of Hall-of-Fame defensive end and current Fox analyst Howie Long, Long is one of 23 Virginia players to have their jersey retired, an honor that he received on his senior day against Virginia Tech.
Long was drafted by the Rams with the second overall pick in 2008 when they were still located in St. Louis. He signed a one-year deal with the Patriots last March, almost exactly a month after being released by the Rams. He recorded 35 combined tackles in all 16 regular season games for New England this year.
Along with Ralph Sampson, he’s the only Virginia athlete to have a sandwich named after him at Littlejohn’s.
Former Cavaliers have been on Super Bowl teams in 16 of the last 18 years, and have won 20 rings in total dating back to Super Bowl I.
Congratulations and Wahoowa, Chris!