Buckeyes Have Long Super Bowl History

Jake Ballard will line up in his first Super Bowl today when his New York Giants take on New England, but he's far from the first former Ohio State player to perform on pro football's biggest stage. The Buckeyes have a long legacy in the Super Bowl, including providing some of the best performers in recent seasons.

One might not call Ohio State's impact on the Super Bowl prodigious, but things have stepped up in the past couple of years.

If this season's performances are any indication, the Buckeyes could have a new chapter written in that history.

Jake Ballard is expected to line up for the New York Giants tonight in Super Bowl XLVI against the New England Patriots, and Ballard could very well be an impact player for Big Blue

After all, the tight end who lettered at OSU from 2006-09 had the game-winning touchdown catch Nov. 6 as the Giants beat the Patriots in the regular-season matchup between these two squads.

On the whole, Ballard caught 38 passes for 604 yards and four touchdowns during the regular season and has added three more grabs in the playoffs while serving as the team's best pass-catching option at the position.

He's joined on the Giants' roster by Jim Cordle, another OSU letter winner who graduated in 2009. For more on the journey the two former OSU teammates have taken to get to the Super Bowl, click here for BSB's interviews with the two.

In addition, former OSU linebacker Pepper Johnson is on staff for New England as its defensive line coach.

Last year, Ohio State was well-represented with four players on the active rosters when Green Bay beat Pittsburgh, 31-25. A.J. Hawk had the biggest impact, registering five tackles and deflecting a pass for the Packers, while Ryan Pickett had two tackles and Ryan Pickett had another stop for the champions. On the other side, defensive back Will Allen played for the Steelers.

The record for most Buckeyes in the game was set in 2000, when five former OSU players were on the rosters for the St. Louis Rams and Tennessee Titans met.

In recent years, such players as Santonio Holmes and Mike Vrabel have helped increase the impact Ohio State has had on the country's biggest sporting event.

Holmes, then with the Steelers, was the MVP three seasons ago when Pittsburgh beat the Arizona Cardinals thanks to Holmes' spectacular catch in the final minute. One of the most memorable in Super Bowl history, Holmes' grab capped a day in which he had nine catches for 131 yards, the most ever for a former OSU player in the Super Bowl.

Vrabel is now an Ohio State assistant, but the linebacker's claim to fame in the Super Bowl actually came on the offensive side. The OSU letter winner from 1993-96 lined up as an extra tight end and caught touchdown passes in both Super Bowl XXXVII in the Patriots' win against Carolina and Super Bowl XXXIX in the Pats' triumph against Philadelphia.

Vrabel is still the Buckeye with the most Super Bowl rings, winning three during his Patriots career. He also is tied with defensive lineman Jim Marshall with the most appearances among Buckeyes in the Super Bowl with four. Marshall went 0-4, though, suiting up for the Minnesota Vikings.

In all, this will be the 34th Super Bowl of 46with an Ohio State player involved on an active roster. The most on one team came in 1997 when four former Buckeyes were on the New England Patriots squad that fell to Green Bay in Super Bowl XXXI.

Holmes' performance in 2009 served as the best for an OSU wideout in Super Bowl history, but it didn't take long for the best rushing performance. Suiting up for the victorious New York Jets in their famous Super Bowl III upset of the Baltimore Colts, Matt Snell ran for 121 yards and a score. That edged the performance of Colts' rusher Tom Matte, another Buckeye who had 116 rushing yards on the day on only 11 carries.

Meanwhile, only two Ohio State quarterbacks have reached a Super Bowl – Mike Tomczak and Joe Germaine. Neither Tomczak (1986, Chicago; 1996, Pittsburgh) nor Germaine (2000, St. Louis) threw a pass.

What follows is a list of all former Buckeyes to play in the Super Bowl.

Super Bowl I (1967) – OT Jim Tyrer, Kansas City Chiefs
Super Bowl III (1969) – RB Tom Matte, Baltimore Colts; RB Matt Snell, New York Jets; OT Bob Vogel, Baltimore
Super Bowl IV (1970) – DE Jim Marshall, Minnesota Vikings; OT Jim Tyrer, Kansas City Chiefs
Super Bowl V (1971) – OT Bob Vogel, Baltimore Colts
Super Bowl VI (1972) – WR Paul Warfield, Miami Dolphins Super Bowl VII (1973) – WR Paul Warfield, Miami Dolphins
Super Bowl VIII (1974) – DE Jim Marshall, Minnesota Vikings; WR Paul Warfield, Miami Dolphins
Super Bowl IX (1975) – DE Jim Marshall, Minnesota Vikings
Super Bowl XI (1977) – DB Neal Colzie, Oakland Raiders; DE Jim Marshall, Minnesota Vikings; S Jack Tatum, Oakland Raiders; WR Lenny Willis, Minnesota Vikings
Super Bowl XII (1978) – LB Randy Gradishar, Denver Broncos
Super Bowl XIV (1980) – LB Bob Brudzinski, Los Angeles Rams; OT Doug France, Los Angeles Rams
Super Bowl XV (1981) – WR Morris Bradshaw, Oakland Raiders
Super Bowl XVI (1982) – RB Archie Griffin, Cincinnati Bengals; RB Pete Johnson, Cincinnati Bengals; DB Ray Griffin, Cincinnati Bengals
Super Bowl XVII (1983) – LB Bob Brudzinski, Miami Dolphins; P Tom Orosz, Miami Dolphins
Super Bowl XIX (1985) – LB Bob Brudzinski, Miami Dolphins; TE John Frank, San Francisco 49ers; RB Pete Johnson, Miami Dolphins
Super Bowl XX (1986) – DB Shaun Gayle, Chicago Bears; QB Mike Tomczak, Chicago Bears
Super Bowl XXI (1987) – LB Pepper Johnson, New York Giants; OG William Roberts, New York Giants
Super Bowl XXIII (1989) – TE John Frank, San Francisco 49ers
Super Bowl XXV (1991) – LB Pepper Johnson, New York Giants; OG William Roberts, New York Giants
Super Bowl XXVI (1992) – OT Jim Lachey, Washington Redskins; OT Joe Staysniak, Buffalo Bills
Super Bowl XXX (1996) – QB Mike Tomczak, Pittsburgh Steelers
Super Bowl XXXI (1997) – FB Keith Byars, New England Patriots; WR Terry Glenn, New England Patriots; OG William Roberts, New England Patriots; P Tom Tupa, New England Patriots
Super Bowl XXXIII (1999) – DB Tito Paul, Denver Broncos; DB William White, Atlanta Falcons
Super Bowl XXXIV (2000) – RB Eddie George, Tennessee Titans; QB Joe Germaine, St. Louis Rams; OT Orlando Pace, St. Louis Rams; WR Chris Sanders, Tennessee Titans; LB Lorenzo Styles, St. Louis Rams
Super Bowl XXXV (2001) – RB Joe Montgomery, New York Giants
Super Bowl XXXVI (2002) – OT Orlando Pace, St. Louis Rams; DT Ryan Pickett, St. Louis Rams; LB Mike Vrabel, New England Patriots
Super Bowl XXXVII (2003) – TE Rickey Dudley, Tampa Bay Buccaneers; P Tom Tupa, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Super Bowl XXXVIII (2004) – LB Mike Vrabel, New England Patriots; RB Nick Goings, Carolina Panthers
Super Bowl XXXIX (2005) – LB Mike Vrabel, New England Patriots
Super Bowl XLII (2008) – LB Mike Vrabel, New England Patriots
Super Bowl XLIII (2009) – WR Santonio Holmes, Pittsburgh Steelers
Super Bowl XLIV (2010) – CB Malcolm Jenkins, New Orleans Saints; DE Will Smith, New Orleans Saints
Super Bowl XLV (2011) – Will Allen, Pittsburgh Steelers; A.J. Hawk, Green Bay Packers; Ryan Pickett, Green Bay Packers; Matt Wilhelm, Green Bay Packers

Mike Wachsman assisted with the research of this story.

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