CAMBRIDGE, Mass.—With the NFL postseason slated to start this Saturday, four former Harvard football players have their sights set on Wild Card Weekend.
Ben Braunecker and the Chicago Bears open up the weekend at Soldier Field, hosting the reigning Super Bowl Champions, the Philadelphia Eagles, in an afternoon matchup. The third-seeded Bears hope to break down the Eagles and make a run at the divisional round after missing out on playoffs last year. An Indiana native and 2016 Harvard graduate, Braunecker has appeared in 15 games this season for the Bears, making three catches for a total of 42 yards, helping the Bears to a 12-4 record and an NFC North Championship.
Closing out the NFC Wild Card slate, Tyler Ott and the Seattle Seahawks travel to Texas to take on Adam Redmond the Dallas Cowboys on Saturday. Ott, a 2014 graduate, has served as the starting long snapper for the Seahawks this season, appearing in all 16 games for a second consecutive year. This marks Ott's second playoff appearance with the Seahawks, with his first coming during their 2016 playoff run. Serving in 10 games this season at center for the Cowboys, Redmond stands to make his first career postseason appearance when he faces off against his former Crimson teammate.
Representing the Crimson in the AFC, Cole Toner and the fifth-seeded Los Angeles Chargers head east to go head-to-head with the Baltimore Ravens in a Sunday matinee meeting. This weekend's matchup marks Toner's first career postseason appearance as well as the Chargers' first playoff appearance since 2013.
While the four former Crimson football players compete for their spot in the Divisional round, five Crimson alum closed out their regular seasons last weekend. Ryan Fitzpatrick and Cameron Brate completed another season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, notching their 14th and fourth season, respectively. Fitzpatrick finished off the season with 164 completions for 2,366 yards and 17 touchdowns while Brate caught six touchdown passes, tying his 2017 numbers. San Francisco 49er Kyle Juszczyk earned his third Pro Bowl nomination following another successful season in the league, logging 30 receptions. In his first season in the pros, Tennessee Titan Anthony Firkser caught 19 receptions for 225 yards and his first career touchdown. A staple on the Minnesota Vikings offensive line, Nick Easton hopes to return next season after suffering from a season-ending injury during preseason action.
This season, Harvard had the best representation in the NFL out of any other Ivy League program.