Super Experience: NWU Alum's Career Has Taken Him To Four Super Bowls
Nebraska Wesleyan University alum Jason Licht describes his job in simplistic terms.
“I’m either on the road scouting players or I’m watching film,” Licht said recently from Indianapolis, Ind., where he was preparing for Super Bowl XLVI.
Another Super Bowl appearance for the New England Patriots is the ultimate proof that Licht’s hard work and dedication are anything but simplistic.
Licht is the Director of Pro Personnel for the New England Patriots. He’s responsible for finding hidden talent, evaluating every player in the league, preparing scouting reports on every opponent, evaluating the Patriots, and preparing evaluations for the NFL draft. He’s helped the team land their share of draft gems.
“I feel like an invaluable member of this organization,” Licht said of the Patriots. “And it’s nice to feel like your contributions have led to a successful team.”
Licht — who graduated from NWU in 1994 — already dons one Super Bowl ring from the Patriots win in February 2002. But the Patriots aren’t the only team to benefit from Licht’s talents.
He re-joined the Patriots personnel department in 2009 after previously spending four seasons (1999-2002) with New England. In 2008, he served as personnel executive for the NFC Champion Arizona Cardinals after spending five seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles. While at Philadelphia the Eagles reached the NFC Championship Game three times and won the 2004 NFC Championship, representing their conference against the Patriots in Super Bowl XXXIX. That means Licht has been part of four Super Bowl teams. Last month he was a finalist for the general manager job with the Chicago Bears.
A career in the NFL wasn’t in Licht’s original plans as he worked on his undergraduate degree. Licht began his academic career at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln where he played football for three seasons.
“I faced reality that I was always going to be a back up,” he recalled of his Husker football days. “I wanted to play football, so I transferred to Wesleyan.”
Licht was an all-conference defensive tackle at Nebraska Wesleyan in 1993 and 1994 under coach Jim Svoboda. While at NWU, he studied biology with the intention of becoming a pediatrician.
“I thought I wanted to be a pediatrician but my heart wasn’t really in it,” he said.
An internship with the Miami Dolphins soon helped him discover a passion for scouting.
“That’s where I really discovered my skills,” he said. “I got it in my blood.”
That internship led to a full-time job, first as an assistant in the college and pro personnel departments, and then as offensive assistant/quality control coach.
Licht credits his Nebraska Wesleyan experience for his drive and determination.
“Nebraska Wesleyan challenged me and gave me the structure and people skills that I need to do my job today,” he said. “I had a wonderful experience.”