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Wyoming’s Place in Super Bowl History

19 Nov 1995: Dallas Cowboys tight end Jay Novacek (left) and teammate running back Daryl Johnston confer during a game against the Oakland Raiders at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum in Oakland, California. The Cowboys won the game, 34-21.
Stephen Dunn, Getty Images

Although the population of the state is small, champions are made at high altitudes, and Wyoming and UW had made their mark in the history of the big game.

Our picks for the top three:

1. Jay Novachek – the legendary tight end was a Wyoming Cowboy in college and a Dallas Cowboy in the NFL. He was with Dallas through three Superbowl wins. He had 11 seasons in the NFL, 30 touchdowns, 4630 yards, and 522 receptions.

2. Jerry Hill – one of the standouts in NFL of the 60s, Torrington Native Jerry Hill racked up 1388 rushing yards over 288 carries and a Sunbowl victory for the Wyoming Cowboys in the old Skyline Conference before moving to another set of wild horses – the Baltimore Colts, who won Super Bowl V with him on the field. His team and number, 45, are the origin of infamous malt beverage brand “Colt .45,” which was a locally-brewed favorite in Baltimore at the time.

3.  Jim Kiick – A colorful and controversial figure, Jim Kiick was famous for two things: Being an iron man of a running back who could always be counted on for a few more yards, even injured or hurt – and loving to have a good time off the field. He had a standout college career at UW, and went on to play in three consecutive Superbowls as part of a late 60s Miami Dolphins dynasty.  Jim and Dolphins teammate Larry Csonka were dubbed “Butch and Sundance” by teammates and journalists for their hard-drinking, footloose lifestyle.

Although we focused our list on the early days of professional football, there are some prominent Wyoming players in the current NFL –  former Cowboy and current New England Patriot Derek Martin, who earned a Super Bowl ring for each hand as a safety for the Packers, and defensive end Brett Kiesel, who never wore brown and gold, but grew up in Greybull, Wyoming – he’s been to the big game three times with the Pittsburgh Steelers, who have won twice with him on the roster.

We should also mention Curt Gowdy, former owner of KOWB 1290 – the Wyoming native and long time voice of the Boston Red Sox never took the field for a Super Bowl, but he did announce the NFL’s biggest game on 7 occasions  as well as other NFL and MLB events too numerous to count.

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