In the calendar year of 2015, the University of Florida accomplished quite an impressive feat. Between New Year’s Day and New Year’s Eve, various Gator alumni participated on the teams that lifted the championship trophies for the NFL, NBA FIFA World Cup. Dominique Easley won Super Bowl 49 with the New England Patriots in February, David Lee and Marreese Speights won the NBA Finals with the Golden State Warriors in June and Abby Wambach won the FIFA World Cup with Team USA in July.
But that hat trick was somewhat marred by two facts. First, the Gator alum on the Super Bowl championship team (Easley) was on the injured reserve list and wasn’t even active for most of the season. And second, UF wasn’t even the first school to do it; between January 1st and December 31st of 1991, North Carolina saw alumni Lawrence Taylor (NFL- New York Giants), April Heinrichs and Mia Hamm (FIFA Women’s World Cup-USA) and Michael Jordan (NBA- Chicago Bulls) hoist their respective championship trophies.
Now, though, UF has achieved a feat that it can claim all to itself. Read the next two paragraphs carefully…
The University of Florida has become the first school to have alumni win an NBA Final, FIFA Women’s World Cup and Super Bowl in the same season. In addition to Wambach with Team USA and Speights and Lee with the Warriors, three Gator football alumni helped lead the Denver Broncos to a 24-10 victory over the Carolina Panthers: linebacker Lerentee McCray, offensive lineman Max Garcia and receiver Andre (Bubba) Caldwell.
Note that I’ve distinguished this feat as occurrences in the “same season” as opposed to the same “calendar year.” The difference is that the calendar year in which the bulk of the season was played is what’s being taken into account, as opposed to the calendar year in which the trophy was actually hoisted. For example, the 2014-2015 NBA season spanned from October 28, 2014 through June of 2015. Five and a half months of the 2014-15 NBA season were played in 2015, versus two months plus three days in 2014. The overwhelming majority of that season was played in 2015. And although the recently concluded NFL season stretched into February of 2016, the entire regular season minus one game was played in 2015. So Super Bowl 50 will be attributed to the 2015 NFL season, the way the Giants’ shocking upset over the Patriots in Super Bowl 42 served as a disappointing ending to the Patriots’ 2007 season.
Once you’ve thought it through, it’s not really that farfetched an achievement. Every school in America had a chance to pull it off in every fourth year since the inception of the Women’s World Cup (although Norway, Germany and Japan winning some of them probably did more to kill schools’ shots to do it than anything else) but none did. Until UF just did.