Super Bowl XLVI may be in Indianapolis today, but it will definitely have an East Texas flavor.
Aaron Ross, a graduate of John Tyler High School, is a defensive back for the New York Giants, while Malcolm Williams, a former Trinity Valley Community College player, is a defensive back for the New England Patriots.
And Lindale’s own Miranda Lambert and husband Blake Shelton will sing “America The Beautiful” as part of Super Bowl XLVI pregame festivities at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis today.
For Ross, this is his second Super Bowl in his four seasons in the NFL and his fourth overall championship game playing football. While at JT, he helped the Lions to the Class 5A Division II state championship game against Katy.
After placing second in high school, Ross was determined to win it all in college. As a junior at Texas, the Longhorns defeated Southern California, 41-38, in the 2006 Rose Bowl to capture the BCS national championship.
After his senior season, he was a No. 1 draft pick by the New York Giants. As a rookie, the Giants defeated the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII.
Now, he’s ready for his second NFL title game. He does not take it for granted, playing in the championship games.
“It’s great,” Ross said earlier this week in Indianapolis. “I truly have been blessed these last six years, coming from John Tyler to getting to the University of Texas and winning a national championship. Then coming to the NFL and being a part of two Super Bowls, it’s truly a blessing.”
Ross added playing in previous title games and at the University of Texas prepared him for life in the NFL and in the Big Apple.
“Texas has a big crowd,” he said. “There are a lot of media, so it prepares me for the media. (Texas) Coach (Mack) Brown does a tremendous job in bringing the media in and having us prepared for their questions. Playing on a big stage, that’s one of the things you do when you’re playing at UT.”
After Lambert and Shelton sing “America The Beautiful,” Texan Kelly Clarkson will sing the National Anthem.
The performances are scheduled to be televised live on NBC prior to kickoff, which is scheduled for 5:29 p.m.
Lambert and Shelton join Vickie Carr (Super Bowl XI), Ray Charles (Super Bowl XXXV), Mary J. Blige and Marc Anthony (Super Bowl XXXVI), Alicia Keys (Super Bowl XXXIX), Faith Hill (Super Bowl XLIII), Queen Latifah (Super Bowl XLIV) and Lea Michele (Super Bowl XLVI) as the only artists to perform the song at the Super Bowl.
Lambert, 28, and Shelton, were married on May 9, 2011.
Lambert, the Lindale High School graduate, has also been announced as a presenter at the 54th annual Grammy Awards on Feb. 12.
Just five weeks ago, Williams was ready to go to work at Wal-Mart.
Today, he will be playing on football’s biggest stage.
Williams, a graduate of South Grand Prairie High School, was a star at TVCC, but a backup at TCU. But he was taken in the seventh round of the NFL draft last year by the Patriots. His 4.4 time in the 40-yard dash caught the eye of New England coach Bill Belichick.
After high school, he originally committed to Oklahoma, but didn’t qualify. So he headed to Athens.
During the 2007-08 seasons, he was a standout for the Cardinals. As a sophomore he was second in the nation with five interceptions, including two returned for touchdowns.
Then he went to TCU. Although he didn’t start, he was a special teams star. During his senior season when the Horned Frogs won the Rose Bowl, he led the unit with 12 tackles.
During his rookie season, he has been released and resigned four times.
After the fourth time, he was ready for Wal-Mart to support his wife and two daughters.
But on Christmas Eve, the Patriots called again and Williams was asked to re-sign with the practice squad. About a week later, he was added to the active 53-man roster.
Now, he’s ready for the Super Bowl.