The National Football League’s (NFL) 2021-2022 regular season ended this past Sunday. Here is a summary of how all of the Jewish players performed throughout the season
The first Jewish Quarterback since the 1950s, Josh Rosen, plays for the Atlanta Falcons. The Falcons are the fifth team Rosen has played for since being drafted 10th overall in 2018. This season he only played three games, against the Buccaneers, Cowboys and Patriots, all of whom finished in the top two seeds of their respective divisions. The Falcons lost those three games, and Rosen finished off his short season with only 19 yards.
Rosen’s Father is Jewish and his mother is Quaker. Rosen had a Bar Mitzvah, and even though he grew up influenced by different religions, he still identifies as Jewish.
Michael Dunn, who is a Guard for the Cleveland Browns, finished his second season in the NFL. Dunn played in 14 games and was on the field for 128 offensive snaps. He recorded five yards, one penalty, and two sacks.
Nate Ebner won the super-bowl three times when he was on the New England Patriots and now he plays for the New York Giants. He is a safety and played a career low of 6 games this season. He has been on Injury Reserve for most of the season after suffering a knee injury back in November. In the six games he played, Ebner had two solo tackles. Ebner spent time in Sunday Hebrew school as a child in addition to observing Jewish holidays like Chanukah and Passover.
Anthony Firkser is a tight end of the Tennessee Titans. He played 15 games this season recording 291 yards, 34 receptions, and averaged 8.6 yards per reception. He scored two touchdowns in the last two games of the season.
Firkser and his family attended Temple Shaari Emeth, where they have celebrated many Bar and Bat Mitzvahs. In addition, Firkser grew up celebrating the main Jewish Holidays. Prior to joining the NFL, Firkser participated in the 2013 Maccabiah basketball tournament in Israel.
Alexander “Ali” Marpet, who is an offensive lineman for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, was a crucial component to the Buccaneers super-bowl championship last season. It was because of Marpet’s impressive play on the offensive line that prevented legendary quarterback Tom Brady from facing any sacks during the entire season. This year he played a full 16 game season and was on the field for 1036 offensive snaps, which is 29th in the league. Marpet recorded three offensive line penalties. Marpet went on a Birthright trip in 2014 and grew up hosting Shabbat meals with friends and family.
Greg Joseph is a kicker for the Minnesota Vikings. This season, he made 86.84% of his field goal attempts. Of his 50+ yard field goal attempts, Joseph made 7/9 of them, the longest being 55 yards. Joseph attempted 40 extra points and made 36 of them (90%). In total, Joseph recorded 135 points throughout the season.
One of Joseph’s most impressive plays during the regular season happened on November 21st. The Vikings were tied with the Green Bay Packers, a division rival. With two seconds left in regulation, the Vikings had the opportunity to kick a field goal in order to seal the game. Under immense pressure, Joseph came out and successfully kicked a 29-yard field goal, closing out the game with a win. Joseph was later hoisted in the air and carried off the field by his teammates.
In his first season in the NFL playing for the Cleveland Browns, Joseph took a photo with Cleveland’s Chabad Rabbi after putting a mezuzah on his doorpost. Joseph told the Jewish Telegraph Agency that his “whole upbringing [was] pretty based around religion and sports.” Joseph went to shul every Saturday with his family and attended Donna Klein Jewish Academy Day School.
In 2019, not only were there Jewish players that made it to the super-bowl, but one became the super-bowl MVP. Julian Edelman, a Jewish wide receiver for the New England Patriots won the award after a stellar performance in the super-bowl. Edelman earned his third championship that day by completing 10 receiving passes and recording 141 yards. Edelman has since retired and talks regarding his hall of fame eligibility have already begun.
Although Greg Joseph, Nate Ebner, Michael Dunn, and Josh Rosen’s seasons have all come to an end, Firkser and Marpet are taking the next step with the Titans and with the Buccaneers into the postseason. Both will have the opportunity to follow in Edelman’s footsteps and become the second Jewish super-bowl MVP.