It seems every year there is a Connecticut connection to the Super Bowl, and this year is no different.
Last year, former Bristol Central star Aaron Hernandez and Plainville native Niko Koutouvides played for the New England Patriots and William Beatty of UConn played for the New York Giants.
When Super Bowl XLVII kicks off Sunday between the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers, Cheshire native Matt Weiss will be on the sidelines as the Ravens' defensive quality-control coach and New Britain native David Reed will take the field as a member of the team's wide receiving corps.
For those who knew Weiss, who was described as a hard worker in an article in the New Haven Register this week, his success in the football world has come as no surprise:
“He wasn’t the most gifted athlete, but he was an extremely hard worker,” said Hopkins football coach Tom Parr, who later pointed out he’s a longtime 49ers fan. “He wanted it and turned himself into a quarterback. This is exciting for all of us, the school, the program. We wish him the best of luck.”
Weiss, 29, began his NFL coaching career with the Ravens in 2009, spending three seasons as head coach John Harbaugh's assistant. In February 2012, he was promoted to defensive quality control.
Weiss also supported the team’s secondary coaches by handling scouting reports for upcoming opponents. He brought four years of experience with him to the Ravens from Stanford University, where he worked under then-Cardinal head coach Jim Harbaugh, John’s younger brother, according to the Baltimore Ravens website.
Among other duties as the head coach’s assistant, Weiss was responsible for breaking down opponents’ tendencies, charting the opponent’s offense during games and running the Ravens’ offensive scout team during practices.
With Stanford, where he served as the team’s defensive and special teams assistant in 2008, he helped the Cardinal defense finish 11th nationally in sacks per game (2.75). He worked with the defense and special teams as a graduate assistant in 2005-07 while earning a master’s degree in liberal arts.
The graduate of the Hopkins School was a quarterback in high school and led his team to its first-ever 12-0 record and the New England Prep School Class C Championship during his senior year. He went on to play for Vanderbilt as their punter from 2001-04.
Reed was activated from the "physically unable to perform list" with five games left in the regular season and played in the playoffs. He provides the Ravens with another threat in the kicking game and adds depth to the receiving corps.
Reed set a Ravens record (since broken) in his rookie season in 2010 for the longest kick return in franchise history, a 103-yard touchdown. After recovering from a knee injury that kept him on the injured list most of this season, Reed made his first NFL reception in a Dec. 16, 2012, game versus Denver. He caught five passes in two games this year.
In Sunday's AFC Championship Game win over New England, Reed played on special teams, a role he will likely serve during the Super Bowl.
Reed went to St. Paul Catholic High School in Bristol his freshman year and lettered in football and basketball. He left St. Paul the following year to attend New Britain High School, then followed his head coach, Jack Cochran, to New London High School, where he was First Team All-Conference and All-State during his senior season.
He went on to attend Pasadena (CA) City College. He was named First Team All-Conference and First Team Junior College Gridwire All-American. Reed was recruited by Utah, Iowa, and Kansas State, and picked Utah.
On Dec. 13, 2010, when he returned the kickoff for his lone professional touchdown against the Houston Texans, Reed's 233 kickoff-return yards were the second-most in franchise history. For his efforts, Reed was named AFC Special Teams Player of the Week.
Reed's brother Jordan also played at New London High School. For the past three years, Jordan Reed has played tight end for the University of Florida and was the Gators' leading receiver. He recently declared his intentions to enter the NFL draft.