The NU Wildcat Super Bowl "Curse"

Its been one of those "givens" in Pro Football - "The Curse of the Wildcats." When you come down to the last game of the year, the team with a former NU Wildcat is going to lose. This year, however, the curse gets broken - we hope. [Updated with a couple more names]

There's a dubious Northwestern record that will end this year.
Over the 40 years of the "Super Bowl," only nine Wildcat Football alums, have made it to the final game of the NFL season, but up until this year, none has played on a Super Bowl winner.

Of this select group, two are members of teams that will play in this year's game:
  • Trai Essex, a reserve lineman for Pittsburgh, probably won't dress unless there is a practice injury prior to the game. This is a normal practice for the Steelers.
  • Kevin Bentley is a big part of the Seahawk's defense and spent a lot of time chasing the quarterback last week. He'll get to try his technique on Big Ben.
Looking at the seven other Cats who have played in the NFL's "big game:"
  • Darryl Ashmore - Oakland Raiders 1998-2002 - Was on IR for the loss to Tampa Bay 2002.
  • Bob Christian - Atlanta Falcons 1997-2003 - on the team that lost to Denver 34-19 in 1999 [1998 season]
  • Steve Craig - Minnesota Vikings 1974-78 - on teams that lost to Pittsburgh 16-6 in 1975 and Oakland 32-14 in 1977.
  • Napoleon Harris - Oakland Raiders 2002-04 - on the team that lost to Tampa Bay 48-21 in 2003.
  • Jim Lash - Minnesota Vikings 1973-76 - on the same teams with Steve Craig., plus the 1973 team that lost in 1974 to Miami 24-7.
  • Fred Williamson - Kansas City Chiefs 1965-67 - was in the first Super Bowl - the loss to Green Bay 35-10 in 1967.
  • Steve Tasker - Buffalo Bills 1986-97 - a record 4 Super Bowl losses to: New York 20-19, Washington 37-24, and Dallas twice 52-17 and 30-13
Now, I'm not sure that all these alumni actually played in the games listed, but the NU Media Guide lists them as being on the respective teams during their team's Super Bowl appearance season. Finding the actual team rosters on the internet is pretty tricky, but the official box scores are on the NFL's Super Bowl XL site.

One thing is almost certain, barring a tie, or some other "act of the football gods," one former Cat will be wearing a Super Bowl ring in 2006.

Maybe now NFL coaches will no longer be afraid to draft NU players?
[Based on Page 164 of the Northwestern Football Media Guide and thanks to the sharp eyed Louis V for catching the two guys I missed early in the morning before my eyes actually work]


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