This Sunday’s Super Bowl LVIII will be a win-win for Harvard football fans, regardless of the outcome.
For the first time ever, an alum will be on both sides of the field. Fullback Kyle Juszczyk ’13 will play in his second Super Bowl with the San Francisco 49ers, and defensive lineman Truman Jones ’22 will cap his rookie season with the Kansas City Chiefs.
“Like any parent, so to speak, we’re so proud of these guys and happy for them,” said Tim Murphy, Thomas Stephenson Family Head Coach for Harvard Football. “Getting from the Ivy League or FCS to the NFL is a steep climb. To see them — through their incredible ability and even more incredible character — climb that Mount Everest is something we are extraordinarily proud of.”
Juszczyk arrived in Cambridge in 2009 from Cloverleaf High School in Ohio and orchestrated a memorable career with the Crimson. He played both tight end and H-back, becoming a two-time FCS All-American and earning All-Ivy League honors three times over his four years.
“I had a special time there. I was in coach Murphy’s room every day and got that one-on-one time with him,” Juszczyk said. “He instilled a culture, toughness, and discipline in us. Coach’s personality was reflected upon us as players, and we emulated that.”
Juszczyk was selected in the fourth round by the Baltimore Ravens in the 2013 NFL draft and moved to San Francisco four years later. He has garnered eight NFL Pro Bowl selections in his career, and was recently named First Team All-Pro.
“We were lucky to get a kid like that,” said Murphy, who recently announced his retirement after a 30-year career as the winningest coach in Ivy League history. “We felt he had the skill set, size, weight, and projection to be an H-back in our offense. He had the athleticism where you can play him at tight end or fullback. The 49ers put him everywhere, and that’s exactly who he was at Harvard.”
Jones’ career had a similar upward trajectory. The graduate of the Westminster School in Atlanta had a slow start in his first year but became the Crimson’s 148th team captain as a senior in 2022 as well as a First-Team All-Ivy League selection. The biomedical engineering concentrator also earned College Sports Communicators Academic All-America and Academic All-Ivy honors.
“A lot of things I learned at Harvard have got me to this point,” Jones said. “I’m still just getting started. Bringing that hard work and attitude will keep me in the league.”
Murphy said Jones’ consistency in the classroom and on the field was a major part of his success at Harvard and a key to earning a spot with the Chiefs as an undrafted free agent.
“Coach Murphy was a monumental figure in getting me to Harvard and keeping me there,” said Jones. “He gave me an opportunity as a young man to grow into the person that I am today.”
Murphy notes that while Juszczyk and Jones will be on opposing sides Sunday, they share a critical personal trait.
“Both are extremely driven in a positive way,” he said. “Their work ethic, attention to detail, their ability to process and get better on a weekly, monthly, and yearly basis is exceptional.”
Juszczyk agreed. “The fact that we have two Harvard players in this year’s Super Bowl speaks to the program that we have. When you hear the name Harvard, you think about the academics. But we really do have a great football program and athletic program too. We’re able to churn out talent and put guys in the biggest game and on the biggest stage.”