IOWA CITY, Iowa – The biggest week in football is here; whether you’re watching for the love of the sport or the infamous commercials, Super Bowl LII promises to be the most-watched sporting event of the year, following suit from years prior.
Hawkeye fans can expect to see a few familiar names in the mix. Former University of Iowa right and left tackle, Cole Croston, along with teammates James Ferentz and Riley McCarron, will be representing the New England Patriots in Sunday’s game—all of whom can trace their roots back to Iowa City.
“I’m very excited to just be a part of such a historical event,” Croston said. “It’s very cool that Minneapolis is so close to my hometown of Sioux City/Sergeant Bluff, as well.”
Croston originally joined the Hawkeye family as a walk-on, redshirting his freshman year in 2012, following in his father’s footsteps, who was an impressive three-year letterman at Iowa (1984-86).
The Iowa native graduated from the University of Iowa with a degree in finance after collecting 18 starts at right and left tackle in his final two seasons with the Hawkeyes.
Croston finished his time in the NCAA after earning accolades from the Big Ten conference.
“The biggest difference, for me, is having so much free time once I’m done with ‘work,’” Croston said. “In college, I had class to go to or I had to study for a test, but now I have a lot of free time once I’m done at football.”
The six-foot-five offensive lineman was signed by the New England Patriots as a rookie free agent on May 5th of 2017.
Croston has seen limited playing time in his first season in the NFL, but that hasn’t discouraged him. The team has practice and meetings throughout the day, making his job as a professional football player a regular 10-hour shift.
“A huge motivator for me is that I never want to let my teammates down,” Croston said. “I try to push myself to the limit in everything I do.”
Super Bowl LII will feature the AFC champion New England Patriots and the NFC champion Philadelphia Eagles. This year’s Super Bowl marks the Patriots seventh appearance it the Super Bowl since 2002, including two victories in the last four years; a 28-24 win over the Seattle Seahawks in 2014 and again in 2016, winning 34-28 over the Atlanta Falcons.
“We are one of the last two teams still playing football in the NFL.” Croston said. “It’s an incredible opportunity and only one team can be Super Bowl Champion.”
Croston, as previously mentioned, will be joined by teammates, Riley McCarron and James Ferentz, who are also products of Iowa.
McCarron, a wide receiver, was signed by the Patriots to the practice squad as a free agent on September 22nd of last year, while Ferentz, and offensive lineman, is a veteran in the NFL, with two seasons under his belt with the Denver Broncos. Super Bowl LII will be Ferentz’s second chance at a Super Bowl title.
“Coach Kirk Ferentz not only taught us how to be better football players,” Croston said, “but also better men in life. The things I have learned at Iowa have put me in a position ahead of others and has allowed me to be successful.”
Super Bowl LII will air Sunday, February 4th at 5:30 PM central-time on NBC, with Justin Timberlake headlining the halftime show.