When Cedar Creek football coach Tim Watson watches the Super Bowl, his mind will take him back to a time when he was drafted ahead of one of the participating quarterbacks.

Watson, 42, is considered one of the up-and-coming young coaches in South Jersey, having taken a Cedar Creek team to three championship games and one title in the program's first six years.

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, 39, is considered an old but still highly productive performer.

It's amazing how the perceptions are different when talking about two players who were in the same 2000 NFL draft class.

A defensive tackle, Watson, who began his career at Maryland and finished at Rowan, was selected in the sixth round, the 185th overall choice by the Seattle Seahawks.

Brady was also selected in the sixth round, the 199th choice by New England out of the University of Michigan.

Over the years, Watson has had a lot of fun with the fact that he was selected 14 spots ahead of a player who many consider the greatest quarterback of all time.

"I was drafted before that dude, and he has made out a little better than I have," Watson quipped. "It is amazing how long it has been, and he is still getting it done."

Watson said he didn't have contact with Seattle before the draft and thought he was going to be selected by the Baltimore Ravens. Rex Ryan, at the time an assistant with Baltimore, worked Watson out at Rowan before the draft.

"Baltimore called a couple of minutes [before he was selected] and said they were going to draft me," Watson said.

The only problem was that Seattle had the pick ahead of Baltimore and used it to draft Watson. He lasted less than two years with Seattle and never got into a regular-season game because of a freak preseason injury.

During a pass-rushing drill in his first training camp, there was a hook that stuck out of the practice sled.

"We were doing a pass-rushing drill, and I planted my inside foot and slipped and fell on the hook," he said.

The hook ripped off two inches of cartilage in his left knee. Because of the injury, Watson never played a regular-season game. He was placed on injured reserve as a rookie and released during his second season because of his career-ending injury.

A lawsuit against Seattle was unsuccessful. Still, he harbors no resentment.

"I root for them a little bit and had friends play there while I was there," he said. "And I appreciate the opportunity they gave me."

The good news is that Watson says the knee feels good today. He said that it took nearly five years for the swelling to subside.

Watson has moved on, having experienced great success as Cedar Creek's football coach, where he is 49-16 since starting the program in 2011. He also may not be the best athlete in his family, and that's fine with him.

That distinction may go to his daughter, Kylee, a 6-foot-3 freshman at Mainland, his alma mater. Kylee Watson has been mentioned as one of the better freshmen basketball players in the country.

Watson played basketball at Mainland, and his wife, Courtney, is also a Mainland graduate who played basketball at the University of Delaware.

He says his daughter has already received several Division I offers.

"It's been a lot of fun following her career," said Watson, who also coaches the travel basketball team for his 11-year-old son, Hunter.

Watson is a history teacher at Cedar Creek, and when he is talking to his students he'll sometimes slip in the story about being drafted ahead of Brady.

"I will sometimes use that as an ice-breaker," he said laughing.

That is some ice-breaker.

It's not something Watson dwells on, but every time he sees Brady dissecting yet another defense, it's a reminder that they will always remain connected by the unlikeliest of NFL drafts.

@sjnard