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Buffalo Bills connections to Super Bowl XLII

Patriots and Eagles combine to employ 11 former players and coaches

When the New England Patriots (15-3) take on the Philadelphia Eagles (15-3) at 6:30 p.m. Sunday in Super Bowl XLII at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minn., the annual league championship will feature players and coaches with ties to the Buffalo Bills.

The Philadelphia Eagles feature linebacker Nigel Bradham, cornerback Ronald Darby, and safety Corey Graham as current players who suited up for the Bills. Additionally, left tackle Jason Peters was a two-time Pro Bowler in Buffalo. He is currently on the reserve/injured list.

The Eagles’ offensive and defensive coordinators, Frank Reich and Jim Schwartz, also have strong ties to Buffalo.

Reich was a backup quarterback when the Bills made it to four straight Super Bowls in the 1990s. Reich is best remembered for his playoff heroics, when he relieved an injured Jim Kelly and orchestrated the greatest comeback in NFL playoff history as the Bills rallied from a 35-3 deficit to defeat the Houston Oilers 41-38 in a 1993 Wild Card playoff game.

Schwartz held the same defensive coordinator title in 2014 as the Bills led the league in sacks (54) thanks to Schwartz’s aggressive 4-3 scheme. The Bills finished fourth overall in total defense and were third in turnovers forced with Schwartz leading the defense. Under Schwartz, the Bills allowed the second-fewest points in the NFL (16.9 points per game), and limited opponents to a league-best 33.2 percent third-down conversion rate.

Additionally, Philadelphia’s senior football advisor, Tom Donahoe, served as Buffalo’s general manager from 2001-05. The Bills went 31-49 during Donahoe’s time.

The Patriots feature defensive lineman Alan Branch, running back Mike Gillislee, cornerback Stephon Gilmore, wide receiver Chris Hogan, and defensive end Eric Lee.

Whichever team you’re rooting for on Super Sunday, several former Bills are guaranteed to be celebrating at the end of the game.