Starting at Defensive End from Boise State...

The Super Bowl. The hype. The blitz of media attention. The worldwide television audience. All eyes will be on Boise State's Kimo von Oelhoffen tomorrow in Super Bowl 40. After 12 seasons in the NFL, von Oelhoffen has reached the pinnacle of success.

It was years before national top 15 rankings and talk of BCS Bowls for Boise State. Months before a run at a second Division I-AA National Championship for the Broncos. But in 1994, Kimo von Oelhoffen became another in a long line of National Football League players from the Boise State Broncos.

Boise State's Kimo von Oelhoffen (6-4, 299) is set to start at defensive end in Super Bowl 40 for the Pittsburgh Steelers tomorrow in Detroit. Kimo, who celebrated his 35th birthday January 30th, will fulfill a dream that most professional football players never get to realize--playing in the Super Bowl.

Von Oelhoffen, a 12-year veteran in the National Football League playing with both the Cincinnati Bengals and the Steelers, was one of two Steelers selected by head coach Bill Cowher to speak prior to Pittsburgh's game with Denver in the American Football Conference Championship. Von Oelhoffen played six seasons for the Bengals before coming to Pittsburgh in 2000. He had played eight seasons in the NFL before finally playing in a playoff game. Kimo was a sixth-round draft selection in 1994 and played four seasons at Cincinnati under Defensive Coordinator Dick LeBeau so when LeBeau went to Pittsburgh, he quickly brought Von Oelhoffen to the Steelers. He had played defensive tackle for the Bengals, but the Steelers saw him as a good fit as a defensive end in the Steelers' 3-4 defense. Kimo, who brings in $1.5 million per year base salary with a cap of $2.645 million, has been a starter ever since.

Von Oelhoffen is part of a rugged Steelers defensive line that is considered one of the league's best. Earlier this season, they had the NFL's longest streak of 24 games (dating back to last year) not allowing a 100-yard rusher until Indianapolis' Edgerrin James achieved the feat on November 28th. Von Oelhoffen has 321 tackles (including 235 solo), 25.5 sacks, 11 pass deflections, four forced fumbles and seven fumble recoveries in his career.

Defensive ends in a 3-4 system are not supposed to lead their teams in sacks, yet von Oelhoffen did it in 2003 with eight. He was the first Steeler defensive lineman to lead the team in sacks since Keith Willis did it in 1985. 2003 was Kimo's best and most aggressive season in a year that also saw him make 40 tackles. Lines in 3-4 defenses work almost anonymously. Their jobs are to attract double-teams and allow the four linebackers for the Steelers to make the tackles. That's one reason so many Pro Bowl linebackers passed through Pittsburgh during its 22 years playing the 3-4. Kimo's the wily veteran of the group. ...He's really good at shedding guys, getting off guys and making the plays," said Steelers offensive guard Alan Faneca.

Jerome Bettis, the fifth-leading rusher in NFL history, has to go against the Steeler line in practice and had this to say, "In training camp we have the damndest time," Bettis said. "We just go at it, go at it, go at it. You know it gets us better having to go up against a defensive line like that. I think that's why our run game has developed the way it has the last couple of years." "These guys dominate their position," Bettis said. "They cause offensive lines to double those guys to get any movement and that's when the linebackers take over. If you do want to get some movement on the center, you have to get a guard to help the center. If you do want to move that tackle, you have to commit something to it so it creates a problem."

Kimo co-owns an establishment called Kimo's Sports Bar in Richland, Washington (where von Oelhoffen has an offseason home), about 3 1/2 hours from Seattle. Even though it is located in the heart of Seahawks country, its patrons will be rooting for Kimo and the Steelers. Kimo's wife, Tondi, is a native of Washington. The two have three young daughters. In addition to owning the bar, he also is co-owner of Vono Construction in Walla Walla, where he attended junior college.

31 schools have players starting in Super Bowl 40, including Boise State. Colorado State, Florida and Florida State have three each, while Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Georgia, Michigan, Nebraska, North Carolina, Penn State, Texas, USC and Washington State have two each.

Schools that do not have a starter in Sunday's Super Bowl include Arizona, Arkansas, California, Iowa, Kansas State, Louisville, Maryland, Miami of Florida, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Oregon, Oregon State, Purdue, Texas Tech, Tennessee, UCLA, Virginia Tech and Wisconsin.

This year marks the second consecutive Super Bowl that at least one Boise State player has appeared. Bronco All-Time safety Quintin Mikell played for the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl 39. To give an idea what kind of achievement that is, only 35 schools had players in both Super Bowl 39 and 40. Among the schools that did not have at least one player in both games: Alabama, Arizona State, Arkansas, Louisville, Miami of Florida, Michigan State, Missouri, Oklahoma, Oregon, Oregon State, Penn State, Texas, Texas Tech, Washington State and West Virginia.


The Unofficial Starting Lineups for Sunday:




Split End: Antwaan Randle-El, Indiana

Tight End: Heath Miller, Virginia

Right Tackle: Max Starks, Florida

Right Guard: Kendall Simmons, Auburn

Center: Jeff Hartings, Penn State

Left Guard: Alan Faneca, LSU

Left Tackle: Marvel Smith, Arizona State

Flanker: Hines Ward, Georgia

Quarteback: Ben Roethlisberger, Miami (OH)

Fullback: Dan Kreider, New Hampshire

Running Back: Willie Parker, North Carolina



Right Defensive End: Kimo von Oelhoffen, Boise State

Nose Tackle: Casey Hampton, Texas

Left Defensive End: Aaron Smith, Colorado State

Right Outside Linebacker: Joey Porter, Colorado State

Right Inside Linebacker: Larry Foote, Michigan

Left Inside Linebacker: James Farrior, Virginia

Left Outside Linebacker: Clark Haggans, Colorado State

Right Cornerback: Deshea Townsend, Alabama

Left Cornerback: Ike Taylor, Louisiana-Lafayette

Strong Safety: Troy Polamalu, USC

Free Safety: Chris Hope, Florida State


Kicker: Jeff Reed, North Carolina

Punter: Chris Gardocki, Clemson





Quarterback: Matt Hasselbeck, Boston College

Left Tackle: Walter Jones, Florida State

Left Guard: Steve Hutchinson, Michigan

Center: Robbie Tobeck, Washington State

Right Guard: Chris Gray, Auburn

Right Tackle: Sean Locklear, North Carolina State

Fullback: Mack Strong, Georgia

Running Back: Shaun Alexander, Alabama

Tight End: Jerramy Stevens, Washington

Wide Receiver: Darrell Jackson, Florida

Wide Receiver: Joe Jurevicius, Penn State



Left End: Bryce Fisher, Air Force

Left Tackle: Rocky Bernard, Texas A & M

Right Tackle: Chartric Darby, South Carolina State

Right End: Grant Wistrom, Nebraska

Strong Linebacker: D.D. Lewis, Texas

Middle Linebacker: Lofa Tatupu, USC

Weak Linebacker: Leroy Hill, Clemson

Left Cornerback: Andre Dyson, Utah

Right Cornerback: Marcus Trufant, Washington State

Free Safety: Marquand Manuel, Florida

Strong Safety: Michael Boulware, Florida State


Kicker: Josh Brown, Nebraska

Punter: Tom Rouen, Colorado



Here is the breakdown of schools that have at least one player starting Sunday:

Air Force 1

Alabama 2

Arizona State 1

Auburn 2

Boise State 1

Boston College 1

Clemson 2

Colorado 1

Colorado State 3

Florida 3

Florida State 3

Georgia 2

Indiana 1

Louisiana-Lafayette 1


Miami (OH) 1

Michigan 2

Michigan State 1

Nebraska 2

New Hampshire 1

North Carolina 2

North Carolina State 1

Penn State 2

South Carolina State 1

Texas 2

Texas A & M 1


Utah 1

Virginia 1

Washington 1

Washington State 2


The following teams had former players in both Super Bowl 39 & 40:




Boise State

Boston College





Colorado State

Eastern Michigan


Florida State




Kansas State




Notre Dame

Ohio State



South Carolina




Texas A & M





Virginia Tech









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