Why it’s fitting that Jonathan Babineaux is in Super Bowl LI, Chris Street remembered and more
The best way to start your day is right here at Landof10.com as we prepare you for everything you need to know about Iowa sports. We’ll share our Hawkeyes Wake-Up Call here with you at 8:30 a.m. (ET) Monday through Friday.
So let’s get to it. Here is your Wake-Up Call for Friday, Feb. 3.
The long-awaited Super Bowl
In his 12th NFL season, former Iowa DL Jonathan Babineaux is finally getting a chance to play in the Super Bowl.
And it couldn’t come at a better time.
Super Bowl LI is being played in Houston and Babineaux grew up just outside of the city. Come Sunday, Babineaux and his Atlanta Falcons will look to beat New England and claim the Lombardi Trophy in his backyard.
“It’s very special, and it makes it even more special being here now,” Babineaux told SB Nation this week. “Being that this is where I started football as a little kid, where I had all my dreams of being in the Super Bowl and now, I have that opportunity to play right here in Houston.”
The Super Bowl seemed a long shot at the beginning of the year. Atlanta was coming off an 8-8 season and would need to find a way to get around Carolina and Cam Newton, who were coming a Super Bowl appearance, just to make it out of the NFC South.
The odds of a defensive lineman getting a shot at a Super Bowl in their 12th year are just as long. The average player lasts just about three years in the NFL.
No, it’s not every day a player finally gets a chance to play in the biggest game of his career this late in it.
In a way, it’s kind of fitting it took so many years for Babineaux to get here. Nothing was ever given to him. He was a fallback recruiting option for the Hawkeyes. He worked his way into an all-conference player and second-round draft pick.
He was never the flashiest Hawkeye. Coach Kirk Ferentz said this week it was hard to remember specific plays from his college days.
His NFL career followed a similar path. He kept grinding, playing year after year in Atlanta, keeping his spot on the roster despite the Falcons bringing in younger players to try to take his job.
Babineaux just keeps going along under the radar. Now, it could lead him to a Super Bowl ring.
“He was a master technician, a truly competitive guy and did it in a quiet and intense way,” Ferentz said. “So for him to go to the Super Bowl there are so many guys in the NFL that never get the chance so happy for him and his entire family. He’s a tremendous young man.”
Remembering Chris Street
Thursday would have been the 45th birthday of Chris Street, the Iowa men’s basketball player who tragically died in a car accident in 1993.
Iowa forward Nicholas Baer took to social media to remember Street on Thursday.
Thank you. Thank you for setting the standard for how I play at Iowa. Thank you for being a… https://t.co/pqvHUFKAbX
— Nicholas Baer (@Nicholas_Baer) February 2, 2017
What is A.J. Epenesa worth to Iowa?
It’s an interesting question and one the Wall Street Journal went about trying to answer.
It turns out a 5-star recruit like Epenesa is worth $465,000 to a program. It’s quite a value, one a player like Epenesa won’t be able to cash in on while in college.
Iowa QB signee Peyton Mansell made a hype video for the 2017 recruiting class, full of highlights of the 22 players who will be joining the team this summer.
Here is the video:
— Aquaman (@MansellPeyton) February 2, 2017