Sapakoff: Super Bowl impact — South Carolina vs. Clemson

Former South Carolina quarterback Dan Reeves participated in a record nine Super Bowls as a player, assistant coach and head coach. Photo provided

It’s still early; Super Bowl lore isn’t XLIX games old yet.

Steve Spurrier-coached Gamecocks and Dabo Swinney-recruited Tigers are just getting settled into the NFL.

For now, Clemson has the overall edge over South Carolina in a Super Bowl impact comparison. A total of 24 Tigers have combined to win 32 Super Bowl rings while 12 Gamecocks have earned 13 rings.

But broken down by category, maybe it’s closer than you think.

Dan Reeves, who played quarterback at South Carolina, holds the Super Bowl-record with nine appearances: two as a Dallas Cowboys running back, three as a Cowboys assistant coach and four as a head coach (three with Denver, one with Atlanta). Reeves won one ring as a player, another as an assistant coach.

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick will tie the record Sunday (six Super Bowls as a head coach, three as an assistant).

Two-time Super Bowl champion Jimmy Johnson spent one off-season on the Clemson staff between jobs.

Edge: South Carolina

Highlights include former Clemson assistant coach Clyde Christensen helping the Colts win a Super Bowl. Former Clemson and South Carolina assistant Rich Bisaccia snagged a ring with the Buccaneers. But Charlie Weis rules. A young assistant on the late Joe Morrison’s Gamecock staff in the 1980s, Weis got three rings as New England’s offensive coordinator. And the Patriots haven’t won a Super Bowl since Weis left.

Edge: South Carolina

Clemson: Steve Fuller is the only Clemson quarterback with a Super Bowl ring; he relieved Jim McMahon in Super Bowl XX as the Bears crushed the Patriots, 46-10.

South Carolina: Anthony Wright, by far the Gamecocks’ most successful NFL quarterback, won a ring when the Giants defeated the Patriots in Super Bowl XLII but didn’t take any snaps.

Edge: Clemson

For Clemson, Bill Mathis caught three passes for 20 yards in the Jets’ epic upset of the Colts in Super Bowl III. Terrence Flagler won two rings with the 49ers.

South Carolina highlights: Heisman Trophy winner George Rogers was the forgotten man when Timmy Smith rushed for 204 yards to lead the Redskins to a 42-10 rout of the Broncos in Super Bowl XXII, but still managed five carries for 17 yards. Reeves caught five passes in the Cowboys’ Super Bowl V loss to the Colts and rushed once for seven yards in a Super Bowl VI victory over the Dolphins.

Edge: Even

South Carolina’s Ira Hillary played for the Bengals in their Super Bowl XXIII heartbreaker against San Francisco. Robert Brooks and Sidney Rice both missed Super Bowl wins with knee injuries, Brooks sitting out Green Bay’s Super Bowl XXXI victory over the Patriots and Rice the Seahawks’ Super Bowl XLVIII victory over the Broncos last year.

Clemson’s Dwight Clark caught four passes in San Francisco’s Super Bowl XVI win over Cincinnati and six in a Super Bowl XIX win over Miami. Tony Horne returned four kickoffs for 55 yards in the Rams’ Super Bowl XXXIV win over Tennessee.

Edge: Clemson

South Carolina’s Jay Saldi was on the Dallas roster but missed the Cowboys’ Super Bowl XII victory over Denver and Super Bowl XIII loss to Pittsburgh with injuries.

Clemson had two tight ends in the Steelers’ 1970s Super Bowl dynasty. Bennie Cunningham didn’t play in a Super Bowl XIII victory over Dallas but caught 2 passes for 21 yards in a Super Bowl XIV win over the Rams. John McMakin helped Pittsburgh top Minnesota in Super Bowl IX.

Edge: Clemson

Former South Carolina guard Steve Courson holds the school-record for Super Bowl rings with two (Steelers in XIII and XIV), but Seattle guard Lemuel Jeanpierre is going for a second straight Super Bowl win Sunday. Jamar Nesbit (Summerville High School) was inactive for the Saints when New Orleans upset the Colts in Super Bowl XLIV.

Clemson’s Jeff Bostic was the starting center on the Redskins’ beloved “Hogs” offensive line as Washington won three Super Bowls under Joe Gibbs. Steve Kenney played for the Eagles in their Super Bowl XV loss to Oakland.

Edge: Even.

Lopsided here. South Carolina hasn’t had a defensive lineman play in the Super Bowl. Six Clemson guys have rings, including William “The Refrigerator” Perry, Jim Stuckey and Trevor Pryce.

Perry famously scored a touchdown for Chicago against New England in Super Bowl XX. Stuckey, a Lowcountry resident, played in San Francisco’s first two Super Bowl victories. Pryce played for Denver in back-to-back Super Bowl wins over the Packers and Falcons.

Edge: Clemson.

Same as above, no South Carolina players. Clemson’s Andy Headen (XXI Giants) and Anthony Waters (XLIV Saints) have rings. Levon Kirkland started for Pittsburgh in a Super Bowl XXX loss to Dallas and LeRoy Hill in Seattle’s Super Bowl XL loss to the Steelers.

Edge: Clemson

The most loaded position.

For South Carolina, Brad Edwards (Redskins XXVI) and Emanuel Cook (Ravens XLVII) have rings. Former Gamecock football and baseball star Bobby Bryant lost four Super Bowls with the Vikings. Terry Cousin (Panthers XXXVIII), Sheldon Brown (Eagles XXXIX), former Cross High School standout Rod Wilson (Bears XLI) and Chris Culliver (49ers XLVII) helped their teams get there.

Clemson’s Charlie Waters played in five Super Bowls with the Dallas Cowboys and won two rings. Six other Tigers played on winning teams, most recently Seattle’s Byron Maxwell (Fort Dorchester High School), aiming for back-to-back Super Bowl wins Sunday.

Edge: Clemson

South Carolina’s Max Runager punted for the Eagles (36.7 average) in a Super Bowl XVI loss to the Raiders and for the 49ers (32.7) in a Super Bowl XIX victory over Miami.

Clemson’s Chris Gardocki, who holds the school record for most NFL games played at 244, averaged 48.7 yards on six punts for Pittsburgh in a Super Bowl XL victory over Seattle.

Edge: Even

Houston Texans owner Bob McNair, a South Carolina grad, presided over the hosting of Super Bowl XXXVIII at Reliant Stadium.

Edge: South Carolina

Follow Gene Sapakoff on Twitter @sapakoff