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Former ASU football player reflects on Super Bowl memories

photo of players walking out of stadium after Super Bowl win
January 27, 2015

Winning a Super Bowl is something most football players will never get to experience, but former Arizona State football player Grey Ruegamer has memories of winning two Super Bowls – one hitting closer to home than the other.

During Ruegamer’s second Super Bowl in 2008, with the New York Giants, he played against the New England Patriots at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale – the same stadium Super Bowl XLIX will be played in Feb. 1 between the Seattle Seahawks and the New England Patriots.

Ruegamer won his first Super Bowl title with the Patriots in 2002.

“It was a very cool journey for me personally,” Ruegamer. “We (the Giants) went on the road to beat the Green Bay Packers, one of my former teams, to get to the Super Bowl to play one of my former teams, the New England Patriots, in Arizona where I started everything.”

Coming back to the desert in 2008, Ruegamer said he was the only player on the New York Giants who had played for Arizona State.

“[The Super Bowl] being in Arizona and beating a former team was special,” he said. “Anyone that has left [Arizona] for any amount of time that has come back, if you love the state, once you step off that plane and you see the sunshine, it’s just the vibe of being back in Arizona that’s very unique.”

Ruegamer felt the same unique vibe when he was choosing what college to attend after graduating from Bishop Gorman High School in Las Vegas.

“ASU was a big school, great competition,” Ruegamer said. “My family in Montana and around the country could watch me play on TV, and once you leave Vegas and step foot on ASU’s campus, it sells itself.”

During his four-year stint as a starting offensive lineman for the ASU football team, Ruegamer was a member of the 1996 ASU team that went 11-0 in the regular season and played in the 1997 Rose Bowl against Ohio State. Ruegamer was a two-time All-American, twice earned first-team All-Pac-10 Conference honors and, in 1998, was a semifinalist for the Rotary Lombardi Award.

However, his fondest memories didn’t have to do with any of the honors or awards.

The best part?

“Playing with a ton of great people,” Ruegamer said. “Steve Bush, Jake Plummer, Kyle Murphy, Scott Peters, Pat Tillman, Derek Smith, Derrick Rodgers and more. There were so many good players on those teams, and when we got together we were going to work our butts off, but we knew it was worth it because we wanted something bigger than everyone else told us we could have. We just worked day in, day out, and it was that kind of experience that helped shape an NFL career and everything else moving forward.”

Ruegamer retired in 2009 after 10 years in the NFL, and moved back to the Valley. He now resides in Scottsdale and is in graduate school to get his master’s degree in health and wellness.

Most recently, Ruegamer was a Sun Devil Athletic Hall of Fame inductee for the 2014 induction class.

“I was very humbled, very honored,” he said, “but it’s more a testament to the guys and the coaches I was able to play with at ASU.”

Although Ruegamer says he won’t be at the Super Bowl this year, he’s hoping for a good game and predicting a win by the Patriots.

Written by Samantha Pell, ASU News

Note: Ruegamer will be participating in a roundtable discussion on "How 'violence professionals' use and endure aggression," from 9-11 a.m., Jan. 29, at the ASU Mercado in downtown Phoenix.