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Feb. 5, 2012
INDIANAPOLIS - A pair of former Penn State standouts, Kareem McKenzie and Jimmy Kennedy played instrumental roles in helping the New York Giants defeat the New England Patriots, 21-17, in Super Bowl XLVI.
The Giants' starting right tackle, McKenzie earned his second Super Bowl ring and Penn State's 51st, having also been a starter when New York beat New England four years ago. Kennedy earned his first Super Bowl ring, becoming the 35th different Nittany Lion to a total of 52 NFL Championship rings.
Bill O'Brien, who was introduced as Penn State's 15th head coach on January 6, was the offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach for the AFC Champion Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI and during the 2011 season. Former Nittany Lion Rich Ohrnberger, a guard, is on the New England, but is on injured reserve.
In addition to O'Brien and the three former players, two members of the Giants' coaching staff - Pat Flaherty and Peter Giunta - are former Penn State assistant coaches and are coached in their second Super Bowl win with the Giants.
For the 41st time in the Super Bowl's 46-game history, at least one Penn State alumnus was a member of one of the teams playing in the NFL Championship game.
"It's a blessing," Kennedy said, a native of Yonkers, N.Y who grew up following the Giants. "I've been working nine years for it, to be in this position, to win a Super Bowl ring, the Lombardi Trophy with my hometown...It's a blessing."
McKenzie helped the Giants gain 396 yards and earn 26 first downs, capped an 88-yard game-winning touchdown drive in the final minutes. McKenzie helped New York rush for 114 yards, including Ahmad Bradshaw's six-yard scoring run with :57 left in the game to give the Giants a 21-17 lead. McKenzie is his 11th season in the NFL and seventh with the Giants. He earned All-Big Ten honors in 2000.
In his first season with the Giants and ninth overall in the NFL, Kennedy was drafted in the first round by the St. Louis Rams in 2003. A four-year starter at Penn State, Kennedy was named the 2002 Big Ten Defensive Lineman of the Year and was a two-time first team All-Big Ten selection.
A member of the Patriots' coaching staff the past five seasons, O'Brien helped New England to a pair of Super Bowls during his tenure. In Super Bowl XLVI, the Patriots gained 349 yards and posted 21 first downs. The quarterbacks coach the past three seasons, O'Brien pupil Tom Brady broke the Super Bowl record of 13 consecutive completions by connecting on 16 straight pass attempts.
Brady was 27 of 41 for 276 yards and two touchdown passes, including one with :08 left in the first half to give New England a 10-9 halftime lead.
O'Brien plans to begin his Penn State duties full-time on Tuesday.
Seven former Nittany Lions playing in the National Football League were on 2011 playoff teams, with at least one Penn Stater on six of the squads vying for the Super Bowl XLVI title. There are 34 former Nittany Lions on NFL rosters, placing Penn State in the Top 15 nationally among schools in producing current NFL players.
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