When the New England Patriots won Super Bowl XLIX in February, the team’s fourth NFL title in 14 seasons, raucous celebrations broke out along the Charles River in Boston and, somewhat more subdued but no less heartfelt, along the banks of the old Raritan in New Brunswick, where five members of the Patriots—defensive backs Devin McCourty, Logan Ryan, and Duron Harmon; tight end Tim Wright; and coaching assistant Steve Belichick—played for the Scarlet Knights. Winning professional football’s ultimate prize was life-changing for each of them—perhaps eclipsing, but not by much, the indelible years of athletic achievement and personal growth at Rutgers. There have been practical benefits, too. McCourty, a free safety and one of the Patriots’ key defensive players, recently signed a five-year $47.5 million contract.

Dreams of winning the Super Bowl, and the spoils that come with it, have flickered in their heads since they were kids wearing their first set of shoulder pads. Their Super Bowl experience, coupled with their days playing at Rutgers, under former head coach Greg Schiano and current head coach Kyle Flood, have shaped who they are today and prepared them to perform at the zenith of pro sports, the National Football League. — Patrick Monaghan



STEVE BELICHICK SAS’12, Coaching Assistant

“Besides the Rutgers football team and my high school lacrosse team, I’ve really never played for a winner. It was really hard for me because my dad [Patriots’ head coach Bill Belichick] has always had success.”

“I’ve always been hungry for that success because I’ve seen my dad and these guys get it at the hardest level possible. I couldn’t reach it and I felt like I was really working hard.”

“When you’re part of the family and your dad wins the Super Bowl, you feel like you’re part of it, but you’re really not. To be fully part of the team and to win the Super Bowl: to say it changed my life is an understatement. I’ve dreamt about this since I knew what the Super Bowl was. To do it, and to be on the staff and to do it with my father, and to do it with my college teammates, it was just the best feeling in the world.”

“Coach Schiano was a great teacher. Like my dad, he prepared very meticulously. They follow the rules; they do the same thing every week; they live in their routine. So coming from Rutgers, where we had a strict weekly routine … helped those players approach Patriots’ practices like we did at Rutgers.”

“It’s unbelievable. I’ve dreamed of working for my father. My dad has always been my coach. I didn’t spend much time with him as a kid because of how hard he had to work. And to now spend double-digit hours with him every single day is a dream come true. Forget the job and everything like that. Just spending time with my dad is something I never got to do my whole life and I’ve waited 25 years. So it’s really rewarding to be able to contribute to his team and work for him.”




“It’s an amazing feeling: being at Rutgers for four years with Logan and Tim, and with Devin for a year. All of us went through the same thing, the same grind. Seeing how it all came together for us, to be part of a Super Bowl championship team, was just amazing. Sharing it with those guys made it even more amazing, because we’ve been through so much together. And to finally see our hard work pay off was an exciting and memorable feeling.”

“It’s changed my life for the fact that from now on, whenever I’m introduced, people will always refer to me as a Super Bowl champion. It’s something that will never, ever, be taken away from me.”

“Coach Schiano and Coach Flood did a great job preparing us to be professional football players. Coach Schiano taught us how to prepare for different situations, how things might not always go your way. How are you going to react? The idea of the chop as a symbol for Rutgers: just keep chopping.”

“I’m fortunate that Coach Belichick took me in the draft and let me be part of such a great organization—not only with this team, but also with my Rutgers family.”




“Coach Belichick values guys that might be rookies but who are going to handle themselves like veterans as far as doing all the little things. That’s what he really likes about having guys from Rutgers on the roster.”

“Coach Schiano used to have what he called a Pro Day with practice and meetings. He used to always say to us, ‘This is exactly how a regular day in the NFL would be.’ When I got to the league, I realized what he did is exactly how our day goes, every day in New England. I know that prepared us to move to the next level.”

“Rutgers prepared us for off the field (situations) and different things you go through in the NFL. We used to always talk about time management, for example. So when you get to the NFL, you know how to act, you know how to do things, rather than solely being a football player.”

“It was incredible to be in that game and to be playing with a bunch of guys that were so young when I was at Rutgers. (Winning the Super Bowl) was a goal. I don’t think a lot has changed as far as how I am as a person or how I prepare for next year. For me it was like finally getting to the top of a mountain or finally succeeding at something you tried and tried. Since I’ve been here, we’ve been in huge games. We’ve been in a bunch of AFC championship games, we’ve been in the Super Bowl, and we haven short before.”

“That gives me drive and purpose. The goal now is to try to win another one. To go down in history as a guy who won two Super Bowls instead of one.”


LOGAN RYAN  SAS’14, Cornerback

LOGAN RYAN SAS’14, Cornerback

“The seeds of the Super Bowl win go back to the days at Rutgers. Everybody had to fight his own fight, everybody had to find his role on the team. But we all bought in; we know how to be good teammates. I think that comes from that work ethic that we developed from those days in Piscataway.”

“It’s a proud thing to say I stayed home, did it my way. Went to a school like Rutgers and accomplished everything that I could have accomplished. I graduated, I played for one of the greatest teams I was ever a part of, I got drafted and I won a Super Bowl. All those things happened from Rutgers, and they happened because of Rutgers. If I went to another school, I don’t know if it would have worked out this way, so soon. Or what kind of work ethic or work habits I would have, which I definitely developed at Rutgers.”

“It’s a life-changer, for sure. It’s something I’m going to be telling my kids about and bragging about and remembering forever. There’s no greater feeling. It’s not just a year of work; it’s a whole lifetime. And a lot of guys—many, many guys—play this game and don’t get a chance to play that final game, play that Super Bowl. I know a lot of great athletes, a lot of great players who would love to play it. So to play it, and win it my first time, it’s a dream come true.”


TIM WRIGHT  SAS’13, Tight End

TIM WRIGHT SAS’13, Tight end

“Coach Schiano and Coach Flood did a great job of creating a culture where they wanted to deliver different angles of football, not only on the field, but off the field as well: shaping you as a man and shaping you as someone who can be independent and rely on the training you’ve been taught throughout the years to become a successful professional.”

“Being prepared for meetings, being prepared on and off the field. Developing those habits from when you were coming in as an 18-year-old first-year player and when you graduate as a 21-year-old man, you have the courage and confidence to step into the real world—into the NFL—knowing you can be responsible and be successful.”

“It speaks volumes for Rutgers, what we established there and what we’re about in the NFL as Rutgers players.”

“Winning the Super Bowl has given me great perspective on what’s out there to accomplish. If you put your head down and you work hard and do your job day in and day out, when you look up and it’s all over, and you look behind you and see what you paved and what you put into it, it’s the Super Bowl.”

“In our profession, what I do every year is try to win that Super Bowl. So to see the work that you put in and everything that went into it, it’s a great feeling of accomplishment.”