USC Trojans in the Super Bowl

As the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Seattle Seahawks square off in Super Bowl XL on February 5, two of Troy's favorite sons, Pittsburgh strong safety Troy Polamalu and Seattle middle linebacker Lofa Tatupu, figure to be major impact players in the game, which will be played at Ford Field in Detroit.

Both were dominant All-American players under Pete Carroll at USC, and it didn't take long for either to become important factors on their respective defenses.

Polamalu was a consensus NFL All-Pro in 2005 and was selected to his second-career Pro Bowl. Tatupu, whose father Mosi played in Super Bowl XX, immediately stepped in as a rookie starter and led the Seahawks in tackles during the regular season. He will also have the rare opportunity of trying to win a national championship and a Super Bowl in consecutive seasons.

Their presence on the field continues a proud Trojan tradition. To date, 61 former Trojan players have been on the roster of teams matched in the Super Bowl. Of those, three (San Francisco's Ronnie Lott and Pittsburgh's Gerry Mullins and Lynn Swann) had the distinction of playing for four Super Bowl winners. New England's Willie McGinest has played in four Super Bowls, winning three, and Minnesota's Ron Yary also started four Super Bowls for the Vikings, but unfortunately found himself on the losing side each time.

Two Trojans have earned Super Bowl MVP honors as part of their Hall of Fame careers. Pittsburgh's Lynn Swann in Super Bowl X and the Raiders' Marcus Allen in Super Bowl XVIII both set single-game yardage records. Only two times in the game's history (Super Bowl III and Super Bowl XXXIII), did neither team feature at least one Trojan player on the roster.

The Super Bowl has been filled throughout its history with spectacular plays and memorable performances. It is no surprise that many Trojan greats were responsible for many of those Super Bowl moments. Here's a look back at some of the highlights of Trojans in the Super Bowl.

Super Bowl IGreen Bay Packers 35, Kansas City Chiefs 10
In what was then known as the AFL-NFL Championship, it was a homecoming for a pair of Trojans who suited up for the historic game, which was played at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. With only 17 yards on six carries, Kansas City rookie running back Mike Garrett was unable to recreate his Heisman-winning heroics against the Packers' defense, which was led by free safety Willie Wood, who recorded the first interception in Super Bowl history, which he returned 50 yards to set up a touchdown in Green Bay's win.

Super Bowl IIGreen Bay Packers 33, Oakland Raiders 14
While Wood once again lined up in the Packers' defensive backfield, a big surprise in the game was Ben Wilson, who had signed as a free agent earlier in the year. The starting fullback for Green Bay, Big Ben was the game's leading rusher with 62 yards on 17 carries. The 1962 Trojan team captain became the first USC player to win both a national championship and a Super Bowl.

Super Bowl IVKansas City Chiefs 23, Minnesota Vikings 7
In the last clash before the AFL-NFL merger, Mike Garrett scored the Chiefs' first touchdown on a five-yard run midway through the second quarter to key Kansas City's victory over the Vikings, who featured right tackle Ron Yary and left guard Jim Vellone in their starting lineup.

Super Bowl VBaltimore Colts 16, Dallas Cowboys 13
In a mistake-filled game, left outside linebacker Ray May had a solid performance with seven total tackles (six solo) in the Colts' victory.

Super Bowl XPittsburgh Steelers 21, Dallas Cowboys 17
Wide receiver Lynn Swann was the first Trojan to be named Super Bowl MVP, catching four passes for 161 yards, including the game-clinching 64-yard scoring pass with just over three minutes remaining.

Super Bowl XIOakland Raiders 32, Minnesota Vikings 14
Fittingly played at the Rose Bowl, Super Bowl XI featured an all-time high nine Trojans in uniform, including a record five starters. Raiders running back Clarence Davis turned in the third-best single-game rushing performance in Super Bowl history up to that point, rushing 16 times for 137 yards. Leading the way for him was right tackle John Vella, while linebacker Willie Hall helped lead the Raiders' defense. Quarterback Mike Rae, running back Manfred Moore and defensive back Charles Phillips all saw reserve action for the Silver-and-Black. Contending with the ferocious Raiders defense was Ron Yary, starting his fourth Super Bowl at right tackle, bookending with fellow Trojan Steve Riley at left tackle.

Super Bowl XIIIPittsburgh Steelers 35, Dallas Cowboys 31
While Gerry Mullins started his third Super Bowl at right guard, Swann had a team-high seven catches for 124 yards, including his soaring 18-yard touchdown catch in the fourth quarter that remains a staple of NFL Films highlights. Backup rookie cornerback Dennis Thurman recovered a key onside kick for the Cowboys to spark their furious fourth quarter comeback that fell just short of victory.

Super Bowl XIVPittsburgh Steelers 31, Los Angeles Rams 19
Also played at the Rose Bowl, the game featured Gerry Mullins ending his NFL career with a fourth Super Bowl ring. Swann also earned a fourth Super Bowl ring, catching five passes for 79 yards, but suffered a concussion on his 47-yard touchdown reception at the beginning of the third quarter and missed the rest of the game. For the Rams, offensive lineman Bill Bain and tight end Charle Young both saw action as reserves.

Super Bowl XVOakland Raiders 27, Philadelphia Eagles 10
Oakland linebacker Rod Martin turned in an MVP-worthy performance, intercepting a Super Bowl record three passes to lead the Raiders to victory. Bob Chandler started at wide receiver, catching four passes for 77 yards, and reserve linebacker Mario Celotto also saw action. For the Eagles, backup quarterback Rob Hertel did not play.

Super Bowl XVISan Francisco 49ers 26, Cincinnati Bengals 21
Charle Young became the first Trojan to play in Super Bowls with two different teams, and caught one pass for 14 yards for the 49ers. Rookie cornerback Ronnie Lott was also a starter and had three tackles. The Bengals rallied in the second half, as Anthony Munoz fought off 49er defenders from his left tackle position.

Super Bowl XVIIILos Angeles Raiders 38, Washington Redskins 9
In only his second year in the NFL, Marcus Allen electrified the Tampa Stadium crowd with a Super Bowl-record 191 yards on 20 carries. He also scored two touchdowns in the third quarter, including a spectacular 74-yard run from scrimmage, which remains a Super Bowl record. Rod Martin had six tackles, including a sack. Rookie offensive tackle Don Mosebar also saw action in the game for the Raiders.

Super Bowl XXChicago Bears 46, New England Patriots 10
Bears right tackle Keith Van Horne paved the way to victory for Chicago. Matching up with him on the Patriots defense was right inside linebacker Larry McGrew. Mosi Tatupu saw action at running back and special teams, and was a team captain for New England.

Super Bowl XXIVSan Francisco 49ers 55, Denver Broncos 10
Former defensive backfield teammates Ronnie Lott and Dennis Smith led their respective teams to the championship game, with Lott becoming the third Trojan after Mullins and Swann to collect four Super Bowl rings. Broncos reserve tight end Paul Green also played in the game.

Super Bowl XXVIWashington Redskins 37, Buffalo Bills 24
Despite not starting, rookie running back Ricky Ervins led the Redskins in rushing with 72 yards on 13 carries. Bills backup cornerback Chris Hale was also in action.

Super Bowl XXIXSan Francisco 49ers 48, San Diego Chargers 29
The 49ers' winning effort was led on defense by strong safety Tim McDonald, while guard Derrick Deese helped San Francisco roll up nearly 500 offensive yards. That performance came at the expense of the Chargers defense, led by All-Pro linebacker Junior Seau.

Super Bowl XXXIGreen Bay Packers 35, New England Patriots 21
Brian Williams started at right outside linebacker for the victorious Packers and had five tackles and an interception in the fourth quarter, and offensive tackle John Michels and linebacker Lamont Hollinquest both saw action as reserves. Rookie quarterback Kyle Wachholtz was inactive for the game. The Patriots defense was led by right defensive end Willie McGinest, who had six tackles and a sack.

Super Bowl XXXIVSt. Louis Rams 23, Tennessee Titans 16
Playing in his 17th NFL season, perennial All-Pro Bruce Matthews played in his first Super Bowl for the Titans at left guard. The Rams had defensive tackle Matt Willig on the roster, but he did not play in the game.

Super Bowl XXXVINew England Patriots 20, St. Louis Rams 17
Willie McGinest was not listed as a starter, but nevertheless specialized as a pass rusher and recorded four tackles, including a sack in the Patriots' first-ever Super Bowl win.

Super Bowl XXXVIITampa Bay Buccaneers 48, Oakland Raiders 21
The Buccaneers had two Trojans starting, with wide receiver Keyshawn Johnson leading the team in receptions with six catches for 69 yards. Brian Kelly started at left cornerback and had eight tackles.

Super Bowl XXXVIIINew England Patriots 32, Carolina Panthers 29
Willie McGinest was the Patriots starter at right outside linebacker and had a sack. Panthers defensive tackle Matt Willig saw action during rotations, but backup quarterback Rodney Peete did not play in the game.


USCFootball.com Top Stories