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Wyckoff Native Chris Hogan’s Strong Performance Leads Patriots to Super Bowl

Tom Brady (12) and Chris Hogan (15)  (Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports)

Tom Brady (12) and Chris Hogan (15) (Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports)

The AFC Championship. Pittsburgh Steelers vs. New England Patriots. A chance to advance to the Super Bowl, something the Patriots are very familiar with.

With New England’s high powered offense, you think that the majority of the yards and touchdowns would go to Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola, or LaGarrette Blount. However, an unthinkable source lit up the Pittsburgh Steelers secondary. That source was Chris Hogan.

Hogan earned the nickname “7/11,” from teammates throughout his NFL career, notably from Reggie Bush on the HBO series Hard Knocks with the Miami Dolphins in 2012. How did he earn this nickname, you ask? Just like 7-Eleven, Hogan is ALWAYS OPEN. Hogan lit up the stat sheets in Sunday’s victory over the Steelers in the AFC Championship Game with 9 receptions for 180 yards and 2 touchdowns, a franchise record for most receiving yards in a postseason game.

“They call him 7-11 because he’s always open,” said Patriots tight end Martellus Bennett. “…he clocked in today and he made sure the store stayed open.”

His first touchdown came in the first quarter, where he was essentially standing alone on his own island in the end zone. His second touchdown was even more impressive, as the running back Dion Lewis tossed the football back to quarterback Tom Brady on a flea flicker, who threw the ball down the field to Hogan. Hogan ran a slant route with about three to five steps on the Steelers safety Mike Mitchell for 34 yards, scoring another touchdown with ease.

“He’s been incredible,” said Brady. “…He’s made big plays for us all season, he made big plays in the biggest game of the year for us.”

The most impressive thing is that Hogan matched Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones’ statistics. An identical 9-180-2 line. Now that is impressive. With his performance on Sunday night, Hogan has added his name to the list of Patriots’ folklore.

“It has been a long journey,” said Hogan. “…but I’ve worked really hard to get to this point, and I just couldn’t be happier that I get to be a part of this team, this whole thing.”

Hogan, a native of Wyckoff, NJ, graduated from Ramapo High School, where he played both football and lacrosse. Hogan was named to first-team All-New Jersey in his junior and senior years in lacrosse, as well as all-state first-team in football in his senior season.

Hogan enrolled at Penn State University, where he would play three seasons of lacrosse. After suffering a high ankle sprain in his sophomore season, Hogan still had a year left of academic eligibility after graduating from Penn State. From there, Hogan chose to play football at Monmouth University, where he started at both receiver and cornerback. In his lone season, Hogan had 12 receptions for 147 yards and three touchdowns, as well as 28 tackles and three receptions.

Hogan would then pursue an NFL career, going undrafted in 2011. Hogan spent his first season and a half on the practice squads of the San Francisco 49ers, New York Giants, and Miami Dolphins, where each team cut him after brief stints. The Buffalo Bills signed Hogan to their practice squad in 2012 and he would be a mainstay until 2015. During his time in Buffalo, Hogan had 87 receptions for 959 receiving yards and six touchdowns.

In 2016, Hogan signed a three year, $12 million contract with the Patriots. Hogan saw the opportunity to play with a consistently great quarterback in Brady, and, more importantly, win. In his first season, Hogan posted 38 receptions for 680 yards and four touchdowns. Not only that, but Hogan leads the entire NFL in yards per catch (18.7 yards/catch). Hogan was nothing short of tremendous this season, but he saved even more explosiveness for the postseason.

In his first career postseason game, Hogan had four receptions for 95 yards in the Divisional Round against the Houston Texans. He then one-upped himself against the Steelers on Sunday night. Now Hogan has the opportunity to add another star on his resume, and that’s a Lombardi Trophy, which he looks to win in two weeks at Super Bowl LI in Houston.

“I’m just happy to take advantage of this opportunity, you know, to be a part of this team,” said Hogan. “…We’ve grinded throughout this entire year, this is what we worked for and this is what we wanted to get to….We’ll enjoy this and get back to work, because we’ve got one more.”

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Scott Rogust
General Editor and New York Giants Lead Writer.
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