Former BYU Cougar Kyle Van Noy will trip to Houston to play in football’s biggest stage.
HOUSTON – Kyle Van Noy is going to the Super Bowl. It’s an opportunity that many football players dream of, but few come to realize.
Van Noy’s path to the Super Bowl didn’t come easy. After being drafted by the Detroit Lions in the second round for the 2014 NFL draft, injuries caught up to the former BYU star. He was sidelined for the first nine weeks of his rookie season and struggled to catch up. He became a rotational player for the Lions in 2015 before earning a starting role in 2016, but never seemed comfortable. Football wasn’t fun anymore and it affected him on the field.
After seven weeks as a starting linebacker, he was traded to the New England Patriots with a 2017 seventh round pick in exchange for a 2017 sixth round pick – the Lions let him go for next to nothing.
Van Noy’s career has been revitalized during his time in New England. After sitting out the first two weeks he was on his new team, he stepped in as a contributor through tireless work to perfect his understanding of the new system.
“I lived in the facility from six in the morning to nine at night for a solid month. Team no sleep is what I was on, trying to figure out what my position was and learning and consuming all the defense,” said Van Noy.
His early years in Detroit helped him learn what it takes to play at the professional level. This contributed heavily to his newfound success with New England.
“One thing that helped me a lot was my time in Detroit. It may have not helped me in that situation, but I was able to pick things up with the Patriots quickly and pick up concepts with different coverages and routes. Because I put in so many study hours there, it helped me and carried over to here.”
In Van Noy’s first game with the Patriots, he recorded three tackles and a sack. Two weeks later, he recorded his first career interception. His play earned him the praise of Head Coach Bill Belichick and his teammates. Van Noy was just as complimentary of his new coach.
“For Bill Belichick to have faith in me and grab me from Detroit for nothing basically, for what he’s done for me – I’m nothing but happy and feel blessed,” said Van Noy. “The Patriots coaching staff is on it. They are the best of the best. I can’t say enough great things about Bill Belichick and his coaching. I learning something new from him everyday.”
The biggest change, is the way the coaches allow him to be a football player. During his time at BYU, he thrived as a freelancing playmaker on the gridiron. He’s been given similar freedom with the Patriots allowing him to play instinctually rather than worrying about assignments and X’s and O’s.
“To have them say, ‘What do you like doing? What are your strengths, what are your weaknesses?’ and to hear the words, ‘We want you to make plays,” that was way different than what I’ve been used to. It was relieving,” Van Noy said.
Van Noy has continued to thrive during the Patriots playoff run. In his first playoff game against the Houston Texans, Van Noy made his presence known on third down recording a pass deflection, quarterback hurry, and red zone stop to help his team advance to the AFC Conference Championship. In that game agains the Pittsburgh Steelers, he forced a key turnover allowing his team to recover the ball deep in Steelers territory and march in for an easy score.
Van Noy has proven that he belongs in the NFL and has an opportunity to further cement his reputation on Sunday in Houston.