Alabama’s success over the past decade has led from time to time to speculation about how the Crimson Tide would fare against an NFL team. But Alabama is going to be a winner in Super Bowl LIII on Feb. 3, and the Tide won’t have to become the NFL’s 33rd franchise to do so.
Alabama has at least one former player on the active roster of each of the 12 teams in the NFL’s postseason, which starts on Saturday with the first half of the four-game Wild-Card Weekend. That makes the Tide the only college program guaranteed to have a winning player in the NFL’s championship game on Feb. 3 in Atlanta.
Only one other college is guaranteed to have a former player at Super Bowl LIII, based on the current active rosters of the 12 playoff teams — Texas Tech, which has one alumnus on each of the teams competing on the AFC side of the bracket.
Alabama also has the most former players on the NFL playoff rosters with 20. Ohio State ranks second with 18 on eight teams. Southern Cal has 14 alumni on seven teams, and LSU and Miami (Fla.) have 12 apiece on eight teams.
The Baltimore Ravens have six of Alabama’s players, and the New Orleans Saints have six of Ohio State’s players. Three other colleges have four alumni apiece on a single playoff team — Boise State on the Dallas Cowboys, Clemson on the Houston Texans and SMU on the Saints.
Behind Alabama, Texas has the widest spread of alumni with 11 on nine teams, including five of the six AFC competitors. Clemson, Miami (Fla.) and Ohio State also have former players on five of the AFC teams, while Florida State, Indiana and LSU have alumni on five of the six NFC teams.
Every SEC member has at least three alumni on NFL playoff rosters, with 115 of the 636 postseason players coming from the conference. That’s 18.1 percent of the postseason players.
The Alabama Game of the Week is the Los Angeles Chargers-Baltimore Ravens contest. The teams have 14 players from state high schools and colleges on their active rosters.
The schedule for the NFL playoffs includes (with all times CST and with point spreads from vegasinsider.com):
Saturday, Jan. 5
· AFC: Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans (-1.5), 3:35 p.m. (ESPN, ABC)
· NFC: Seattle Seahawks at Dallas Cowboys (-1.5), 7:15 p.m. (FOX)
Sunday, Jan. 6
· AFC: Los Angeles Chargers at Baltimore Ravens (-2.5), 12:05 p.m. (CBS)
· NFC: Philadelphia Eagles at Chicago Bears (-6), 3:40 p.m. (FOX)
Saturday, Jan. 12
· AFC: Ravens, Chargers or Colts at Kansas City Chiefs, 3:35 p.m. (NBC)
· NFC: Bears, Cowboys or Seahawks at Los Angeles Rams, 7:15 p.m. (FOX)
Sunday, Jan. 13
· AFC: Texans, Ravens or Chargers at New England Patriots, 12:05 p.m. (CBS)
· NFC: Cowboys, Seahawks or Eagles at New Orleans Saints, 3:40 p.m. (FOX)
Sunday, Jan. 20
· NFC: Championship game, 2:05 p.m. (FOX)
· AFC: Championship game, 5:40 p.m. (CBS)
NFL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
Sunday, Feb. 3
· Super Bowl LIII: NFC champion vs. AFC champion at Atlanta, 5:30 p.m. (CBS)
Mark Inabinett is a sports reporter for Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter at @AMarkG1.