Jan. 20, 2013
BERKELEY - Cal's string of 11 consecutive seasons with at least one former player on a Super Bowl roster came to an end Sunday when each of the two teams with at least one Golden Bear on the roster were defeated in the AFC and NFC Championship Games, respectively.
The San Francisco 49ers came back from a 17-0 deficit for a 28-24 road victory over an Atlanta Falcons' squad featuring former Cal players Tony Gonzalez and Thomas DeCoud in the NFC Championship Game. In the AFC Championship Game, a New England Patriots' squad that featured former Cal player Shane Vereen led 13-7 over Baltimore before falling, 28-13, when the Ravens scored all 21 of the game's second-half points.
Gonzalez had eight receptions for 78 yards, including a 10-yard touchdown reception from Matt Ryan with 0:25 remaining in the first half to give the Falcons a 24-14 lead going into the break. Gonzalez hasn't made an official announcement yet but has indicated that he is likely to retire in the offseason after a 16-year NFL career. He ranks among the NFL's all-time leaders in regular-season receptions (1242, 2nd), touchdown catches (103, 6th) and receiving yards (14278, 7th) in 254 regular-season games and 236 starts, having missed only two contests in 16 NFL campaigns and two starts over the last 15 seasons with Kansas City (1997-2008) and Atlanta (2009-12). DeCoud had a team-high-tying eight tackles for the Falcons.
Vereen had four rushes for 16 yards and two receptions for 22 against the Ravens. He was coming off a breakout game the previous Sunday when he tied a franchise playoff record with three touchdowns and finished with 124 all purpose yards in his first career NFL postseason game in a 41-28 win over Houston.
A total of 13 former Cal players started the playoffs on an NFL roster, with 10 on teams that were eliminated prior to Sunday. Four former Cal players - Ryan Longwell, Marshawn Lynch, Brandon Mebane and Cameron Morrah - were on a Seattle squad that was defeated by Atlanta in the Divisional Round.
Justin Forsett was on a Houston squad that fell to New England in the Divisional Round.
A total of 36 former Cal players (second among Pac-12 teams) spent time on an NFL roster during the 2012 season.