A Mon-Valley presence: Super Bowl memories recalled
The Monongahela Valley has had a substantial and interesting representation in the Super Bowl over the years. New Eagle native Joe Montana and Monessen's Sam Havrilak are usually the first of many names that come up in a conversation and deservedly so.
Montana won four Super Bowls in as many games with the San Francisco 49ers and was selected the Most Valuable Player in three of those games. His 127.8 quarterback efficiency rating is still the best and the Ringgold High School graduate completed 68 percent of his passes (83 of 122) for 1,142 yards and 11 touchdowns, which both remain Super Bowl career records heading into tonight. Remarkably he never threw an interception in those 122 attempts.
In Baltimore's 16-13 win over Dallas in Super Bowl V, Monessen's Sam Havrilak was the first player ever in Super Bowl history to complete a pass (25 yards), catch a pass (two for 27 yards), and take a hand-off (one rush for three yards.)
Fairhope's Dale Hamer was a head linesman in Super Bowls XVII and XXII and an alternate referee in Super Bowl XXVI. Just as Havrilak, Hamer also owns the distinction of achieving a Super Bowl first.
On that Super Sunday (XVII) when Washington defeated Miami 27-17, Hamer and back judge Dick Hantak became the first two individuals to ever wear triple digit numbers in a Super Bowl. Both were fifth-year officials at the time and wore numbers 104 (Hamer) and 105 respectively.
Another interesting moment for Hamer in that game happened as the officiating crew was lined up to take the field at the Los Angeles Coliseum. Hamer's uncle, the late Jim Hamer, was an NFL referee for 13 years from 1947-1960.
Dale Hamer said his uncle's name was never mentioned to him by anyone during his first five years as an NFL official. That was until Nick Skorich, the supervisor of NFL officials at the time and former head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles and Cleveland Browns, approached him right before the referees took the field.
"Nick slapped me on the behind and said Dale your uncle would be proud of you tonight," Hamer said.
That following spring at the officials' annual clinic, Hamer mentioned to Skorich how touched he was when he said that about his uncle before the Super Bowl and that no one had ever brought his uncle's name up before.
"Nick replied that was because my uncle was a tough SOB and people wanted to see how I would do and if I'd be my own man. He then said congratulations I passed the test. I'll never forget that." Skorich passed away in 2004.
Monessen's Bill Malinchak (WR/special teams) and Van Voorhis' Myron Pottios (middle linebacker) were both important players on the Washington Redskins' Super Bowl VII team.
Monessen's Doug Crusan was a starting offensive tackle for the Miami Dolphins and played in three consecutive Super Bowls, including the 1972 perfect team that defeated Washington in Super Bowl VII.
Monongahela's Fred Cox was the Minnesota Vikings' starting placekicker and played in all four of the Vikings' super Bowl setbacks in the 1970s.
Though sidelined by an ankle injury, Ringgold's Anthony Peterson was a member of San Francisco's Super Bowl XXIX championship team.
Another Ringgold High School graduate, quarterback Scott Zolak from Rostraver Township, was a backup on New England's team, which lost to Green Bay in Super Bowl XXXI.
Donora's Bill Urbanik was the defensive line coach for Cincinnati, which lost Super Bowl XXIII to Montana and San Francisco.
In the past nine years only three different teams have represented the American Football Conference in the Super Bowl. Those three teams are New England, Pittsburgh and Indianapolis.
Tonight the Patriots will make their fourth appearance over this nine-year span. New England won consecutive Super Bowls following the 2003 and 2004 seasons while losing to their opponent tonight, the New York Giants, following the 2007 season.
The Pittsburgh Steelers won the Super Bowl following the 2005 and 2008 seasons before losing to Green Bay following the 2010 season.
Indianapolis won the Super Bowl after the 2006 season and lost in the big game to New Orleans after the 2009 campaign.