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How Important Is Super Bowl Experience?

>> Back To Countdown To Kickoff: Ravens vs. Texans  

By Joe Platania

Around Super Bowl time last year, much was made of the fact that the Pittsburgh Steelers had about two dozen players who had appeared in a Super Bowl, while the Green Bay Packers had but three.

We all remember the result, right?

This weekend's Divisional Playoff round game between the Texans and Ravens features an interesting matchup in that regard, for the two teams are very similar.

It may seem hard to believe, given the Ravens' status as a constant contender, but only three of them have been in a Super Bowl: linebacker Ray Lewis (2000 Ravens), special teamer Brendan Ayanbadejo (2006 Bears) and wide receiver Anquan Boldin (2008 Cardinals).

For their part, the Texans have but four: quarterback Jake Delhomme (2003 Panthers), cornerback Danieal Manning (2006 Bears), kicker Neil Rackers (2008 Cardinals) and defensive end Antonio Smith (2008 Cardinals).

But that quartet represents a large percentage of the 14 Texans that have played in any postseason games at all. With Houston's players seeing so few opportunities to play for a chance to go to a Super Bowl, that's where coaching comes in.

Head coach Gary Kubiak may be only 49 years old, but he has already been a part of six Super Bowls, three as a player and three as a coach. That's only three short of the all-time leader, Dan Reeves, who has been to nine (two as a player, three as an assistant, four as a head coach).

Special teams coordinator Joe Marciano basically built the units that put the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the big game for the first time before joining Houston, and defensive coordinator Wade Phillips -- interviewing in Tampa Bay this week -- has seen success at his eight other NFL stops before going to Houston.

Posted Jan. 9, 2011