SPOKANE, Wash. — Three former standout football players at Eastern Washington University are headed to Super Bowl LIII with the Los Angeles Rams.
Samson Ebukam was an All-America defensive end at EWU. The Los Angeles Rams picked him in the fourth round with the 125th pick overall in the NFL draft on April 29, 2017. He is now a starting linebacker for the Rams.
EWU standout Cooper Kupp was drafted 69th overall when the Rams picked him in the third round. Kupp is now a wide receiver for the Rams.
Kupp missed the remainder of the season starting in November after being diagnosed with a torn ACL suffered in a game against the Seahawks. He did not play during the Rams' winning game over the Saints on Sunday.
Kupp became the 17th player in school history to be drafted when he signed a four-year contract worth $3.8 million with the Rams. Ebukam was the 18th player in school history to be drafted.
The only other duo in school history to both be drafted came in 1987 when offensive tackle Ed Simmons was picked in the sixth round by Washington and Craig Richardson was chosen in the 11th round by Kansas City. Simmons went on to play 11 years as a "Hog" for the Redskins, helping them win the 1992 Super Bowl.
Kupp set many Football Championship Subdivision records during his college career, including the record for most total receptions (428), most receiving yards (6,464) and most receiving touchdowns (73).
Aaron Neary, a center on the Rams practice squad, played the same position at EWU.
The Rams will face the New England Patriots on Feb. 3 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.
At 32, Sean McVay of the Rams (15-3) will be the youngest Super Bowl coach. He'll be going against 66-year-old Bill Belichick, who is taking the Patriots (13-5) to their third straight title game, fourth in the last five years and ninth since 2002.
It seems like many Inland Northwest residents are rooting for the Rams, too. KREM launched an informal poll during its morning shows on Monday and 60 percent of those voted said they wanted the Rams to win the Super Bowl as of 8 a.m.
On Monday, the NFL also announced that the Rams will play the Cincinnati Bengals in the 2019 London Games. The official dates and kickoff times for the games will be announced in the spring as part of the full NFL schedule release.
Some New Orleans Saints fans are doing more than grieving after the controversial loss to the Rams Sunday.
Tens of thousands of internet users have signed an online petition to NFL commissioner Rodger Goodell for a rematch of the NFC Championship game. As of Monday morning, the Change.org petition started by Terry Cassreino had received more than 47,000 signatures.
The Saints' season ended in a 26-23 overtime loss to the Rams after a disputed non-call. "Cheated," "robbed" and "stolen" were the words spoken most by Saints fans outside the stadium after the game.