It went from "none" to 3 of 12 Northwestern University Wildcat
alumni who played for teams that made the Superbowl and got a
winner's Ring and over the History of Pro Football, the NU Wildcats
even have a better record in the AFL and NFL Championships. Here's the full
story, including a list of NU Alums who have played in the NFL/AFL
Championship games since 1933
There was a dubious Northwestern record that finally ended in 2006.
Here at Purple Reign we called it the "Curse of the Wildcats" but originally
it was called
the "Wildcat Factor" in some west coast newspapers, a story thread started by a
comment from long time NU fan Jim [the Haze] Bendat, that "no team with a
Northwestern Alumnus on its active roster had ever won the Super Bowl."
Jim was right then, and through the 2005 season, ten NU Alums had made it to the big
game, playing in fifteen of them, and all but one a loss for their respective
Three other Alums are listed by NU as playing for Super Bowl teams, but
were injured and did not play in the games. It doesn't matter, their
teams also lost.
Finally, the 2006 Super Bowl marked the end of the curse, as former Wildcats'
Trai Essex (Pittsburg) and Kevin Bentley (Seattle) were on the field
for that game. Essex' team won that night and the "curse" was over.
The worse player record in the "super game" is held by Steve Tasker [left], who played
losing efforts with the Buffalo Bills. NU Alums Steve Craig and Jim Lash played
on the Viking team that lost to Pittsburgh in 1975.
But the Cats are not without wins in NFL Championship games.
NU's Otto Graham [below] played in an NU record 6 NFL Championships for
the Cleveland Browns, 1950-1955, and won 3. New York Giant [and NU]
great Ray Wietecha played in
5 NFL Championships 1956-1952, including the 1958 game with Baltimore, called the greatest
game ever played.
Over in the AFL, Houston Oiler Mark Johnson played in the first AFL
Championship, a win over the Chargers. If you run down the lists below,
you'll find that a Northwestern alum has been present, and
participating in many of the great Pro Football Championship games
in the past.
We don't have records of the Canadian League, although several
NU Alums have also played in that league's Grey Cup Championship game.
To start off, here are the 13 Wildcats who were eligible to play in the Super Bowl and
their game information:
1967-Started at CB in 35-10 loss to Green Bay in Super Bowl I.
As for the Curse:
Steelers won in 2006 with a former Wildcat on their roster, although
Trai Essex was actually inactive for the game, which starts the
argument about whether you
be active for the "curse" to officially be broken. Meanwhile, Matt
Ulrich was active in 2007 for Indianapolis' win over Chicago. Barry
Cofield played for the 2008 Giants, winners over New England, Essex won
again in 2009, and Zach Streif played in theSaint's win over Indy in
2010 Below is a listing of the Northwestern
Players who played in the old League Championships, prior to the start
of the Super Bowl in
1967 [following the 1966 season].
The Oldest League, the NFL, only lists
Conference Championship results from 1933 on, the AFL started in 1960
merged into the NFL for the 1971 Super Bowl. I'm sure some NU Alums
played on NFL Championship teams prior to 1933 - that's our next
By the way, Northwestern Alums have a 16-17 record in the NFL Championship games, 2-3 in
the AFL. We added up each player's won-loss record, even if two Cats played in the same