|Former BYU LB Kyle Van Noy now plays for the Patriots (Maddie Meyer, Getty Images).|
There are a lot of people who find it hard to cheer for the New England Patriots, including many BYU Cougars fans. That's despite Kyle Van Noy, one of the most beloved BYU football players ever, being a member of the current Patriots squad.
Well, Van Noy isn't the only Cougar to ever wear that patriotic red, white, and blue uniform. In fact, he's not the first BYU player to wear a Super Bowl ring as a Patriot. In an effort to help those Cougar fans who are having trouble fully enjoying Van Noy's success, here is a comprehensive look at all the BYU-New England Patriots connections past and present.
(Philadelphia Eagles fans, don't worry, a similar list is coming tomorrow for you.)
Editor's Note: Tracking undrafted free agents who sign contracts, but don't make the final cut is impossible to track, so none of those players have been listed.
It can be easy to forget that the Patriots started the season with two former Cougars on their roster. Rookie, undrafted free agent Harvey Langi was getting some playing time until a nasty car accident ended his season just a few weeks after it started.
Kyle Van Noy
The Patriots completed a trade with the Detroit Lions for Kyle Van Noy on October 26, 2016. Since joining the Patriots, Van Noy has won one Super Bowl and will play in a second next Sunday. In the regular season, he has played in 20 games and made 102 tackles, 6.5 sacks, four pass break ups, one interception, and one forced fumble.
When everyone else in the league was shunning Austin Collie, the Patriots gave him two final shots in 2013. He was first signed on October 3, but the Patriots released him a month later on November 5 after he played in four games and started one. The Patriots re-signed Collie on December 5. When all was said and done, Collie played in seven games and made six receptions for 63 yards.
Tight end Spencer Nead was drafted by the Patriots with the 234th pick in the seventh round of the 2003 NFL Draft. However, Nead did not make the opening day roster.
Setema Gali was signed to the Patriots practice squad on December 28, 2001. Just in time for their first Super Bowl run. He was waived on August 13, 2002.
Placekicker Owen Pochman was drafted by the Patriots with the 216th pick in the seventh round of the 2001 NFL Draft. He ended up playing for the New York Giants that season.
The Patriots drafted BYU offensive lineman Jason Andersen in the seventh round of the 1998 NFL Draft with the 211th pick. He spent two and a half seasons with the Patriots, and played in 16 games. The Patriots traded Andersen to the Miami Dolphins in the middle of the 2000 season.
After 11 seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals, and 14 total seasons in the NFL, punter Lee Johnson was signed by the Patriots as a free agent in 1999. He was the teams punter for every game of the next two seasons as well as five games in 2001. He averaged 42.3 yards per punt on 203 punts.
Legendary Cougar quarterback Marc Wilson spent the final two seasons (1989-90) of his 11-year NFL career in New England. In 30 games played, he completed 214 of 415 attempts for 2,631 yards and 9 touchdowns with 16 interceptions.
The Patriots selected BYU defensive back Rodney Rice in the eighth round of the 1989 NFL Draft with the 211th pick. He played in 10 games his rookie season, which was his only season in New England.
Coming on the heels of the 1984 National Championship, Trevor Matich was a hot commodity. New England ended up picking him in the first round of the 1985 NFL Draft with the 28th pick. He played in 26 games with the Patriots over four seasons (1985-88).
Running back Bruce Hansen made the 1987 Patriots Roster as an undrafted free agent. He played in six games and carried the ball 16 times for 44 yards. He also caught one pass for 22 yards. That was his only season in the NFL.
In the 1968 NFL Draft, the Boston Patriots took BYU tackle Max Huber in the 13th round.
In the third year of the franchise's existence, Dick Felt played the first of his five seasons with the Boston Patriots. From 1962-66, Felt played in 52 games and intercepted 12 passes and returned them a total of 199 yards.
The Editor appreciates all feedback. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org