Three former Ohio State players are set to take the field in the Super Bowl on Sunday night, and when the game is over, at least one of them will be celebrating an NFL championship.
New England Patriots defensive end John Simon and special teamer Nate Ebner and Los Angeles Rams long snapper Jake McQuaide are all former Buckeyes, marking the 83rd, 84th and 85th time that Ohio State will be represented in the biggest football game of the year.
While we await Sunday night’s game between the Patriots and Rams, which will kick off at 6:30 p.m. at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta and will be televised by CBS, let’s take a closer look at some of Ohio State’s history in the Super Bowl by the numbers and by some of the most memorable moments involving Buckeyes.
|JIM TYRER||1967, 1970 (Kansas City Chiefs)|
|BOB VOGEL||1969, 1971 (Baltimore Colts)|
|MATT SNELL||1969 (New York Jets)|
|TOM MATTE||1969 (Baltimore Colts)|
|JIM MARSHALL||1970, 1974, 1975, 1977 (Minnesota Vikings)|
|PAUL WARFIELD||1972, 1973, 1974 (Miami Dolphins)|
|JACK TATUM||1977 (Oakland Raiders)|
|LEONARD WILLIS||1977 (Minnesota Vikings)|
|MORRIS BRADSHAW||1977, 1981 (Oakland Raiders)|
|NEAL COLZIE||1977 (Oakland Raiders)|
|RANDY GRADISHAR||1978 (Denver Broncos)|
|BOB BRUDZINSKI||1980 (Los Angeles Rams), 1983, 1985 (Miami Dolphins)|
|DOUG FRANCE||1980 (Los Angeles Rams)|
|ARCHIE GRIFFIN||1982 (Cincinnati Bengals)|
|RAY GRIFFIN||1982 (Cincinnati Bengals)|
|PETE JOHNSON||1982 (Cincinnati Bengals), 1985 (Miami Dolphins)|
|TOM OROSZ||1983 (Miami Dolphins)|
|JOHN FRANK||1985, 1989 (San Francisco 49ers)|
|SHAUN GAYLE||1986 (Chicago Bears)|
|MIKE TOMCZAK||1986 (Chicago Bears), 1996 (Pittsburgh Steelers)|
|PEPPER JOHNSON||1987, 1991 (New York Giants)|
|WILLIAM ROBERTS||1987, 1991 (New York Giants), 1997 (New England Patriots)|
|JIM LACHEY||1992 (Washington Redskins)|
|JOE STAYSNIAK||1992 (Buffalo Bills)|
|KEITH BYARS||1997 (New England Patriots)|
|TERRY GLENN||1997 (New England Patriots)|
|TOM TUPA||1997 (New England Patriots), 2003 (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)|
|TITO PAUL||1999 (Denver Broncos)|
|WILLIAM WHITE||1999 (Atlanta Falcons)|
|ORLANDO PACE||2000 (St. Louis Rams), 2002 (St. Louis Rams)|
|JOE GERMAINE||2000 (St. Louis Rams)|
|LORENZO STYLES||2000 (St. Louis Rams)|
|EDDIE GEORGE||2000 (Tennessee Titans)|
|CHRIS SANDERS||2000 (Tennessee Titans)|
|JOE MONTGOMERY||2001 (New York Giants)|
|MIKE VRABEL||2002, 2004, 2005, 2008 (New England Patriots)|
|RYAN PICKETT||2002 (St. Louis Rams), 2011 (Green Bay Packers)|
|RICKEY DUDLEY||2003 (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)|
|RODNEY BAILEY||2006 (Seattle Seahawks)|
|TYLER EVERETT||2007 (Chicago Bears)|
|SANTONIO HOLMES||2009 (Pittsburgh Steelers)|
|MALCOLM JENKINS||2010 (New Orleans Saints), 2018 (Philadelphia Eagles)|
|WILL SMITH||2010 (New Orleans Saints)|
|A.J. HAWK||2011 (Green Bay Packers)|
|MATT WILHELM||2011 (Green Bay Packers)|
|WILL ALLEN||2011 (Pittsburgh Steelers)|
|JAKE BALLARD||2012 (New York Giants)|
|JIM CORDLE||2012 (New York Giants)|
|ALEX BOONE||2013 (San Francisco 49ers)|
|TED GINN||2013 (San Francisco 49ers), 2016 (Carolina Panthers)|
|LARRY GRANT||2013 (San Francisco 49ers)|
|DONTE WHITNER||2013 (San Francisco 49ers)|
|NATE EBNER||2015, 2017, 2019 (New England Patriots)|
|BRADLEY ROBY||2016 (Denver Broncos)|
|COREY "PHILLY" BROWN||2016 (Carolina Panthers)|
|KURT COLEMAN||2016 (Carolina Panthers)|
|ANDREW NORWELL||2016 (Carolina Panthers)|
|JAKE MCQUAIDE||2019 (Los Angeles Rams)|
|JOHN SIMON||2019 (New England Patriots)|
|Winning players/years in bold|
(Author’s note: For the purposes of this article, Super Bowl participants are defined as players who were on the active 53-man rosters of teams who played in the Super Bowl, even if they did not actually play a snap in the game. Players who were on injured reserve or on practice squads are not included.)
Many different Buckeyes
As first-time participants in the Super Bowl, Simon and McQuaide become the 58th and 59th different Buckeyes to make it to the big game. Ebner, on the other hand, is participating in his third Super Bowl, making him just the sixth Buckeye to participate in that many Super Bowls.
Two former Ohio State players have played in four Super Bowls: Jim Marshall and Mike Vrabel. Vrabel was victorious in all but one of his Super Bowl trips, all with the Patriots, making him the only Buckeye who has won three Super Bowls; Ebner, who has won in each of his first two Super Bowl appearances with the Patriots (he was on injured reserve for the Patriots’ loss to the Philadelphia Eagles last year), has a chance to match that mark on Sunday.
Vrabel’s first Super Bowl win came in the only previous meeting between the Patriots and Rams in the league championship game; in each of his latter two Super Bowl victories, Vrabel caught touchdown passes even though he played primarily on defense.
Marshall’s Minnesota Vikings were defeated in all four of their Super Bowl appearances.
Paul Warfield made three trips to the Super Bowl with the Miami Dolphins, winning two of them; William Roberts played in two Super Bowls with the New York Giants and one with the Patriots, winning the two with the Giants; Bob Brudzinski played in one Super Bowl with the Rams and two with the Dolphins, losing all three.
Twelve other Buckeyes have participated in two Super Bowls: Jim Tyrer, Bob Vogel, Morris Bradshaw, Pete Johnson, John Frank, Mike Tomczak, Pepper Johnson, Tom Tupa, Orlando Pace, Ryan Pickett, Malcolm Jenkins and Ted Ginn.
Overall, former Ohio State players have been on the winning side of 39 of their 82 Super Bowl appearances going into Sunday’s game. Jenkins became the most recent winner as the only Buckeye to play in last year’s Super Bowl with the Philadelphia Eagles.
Already including Ebner, a total of eight former Ohio State players have won multiple Super Bowls, as you can see in the table below:
|PAUL WARFIELD||WR||Miami Dolphins (1973, 1974)|
|MORRIS BRADSHAW||WR||Oakland Raiders (1977, 1981)|
|JOHN FRANK||TE||San Francisco 49ers (1985, 1989)|
|PEPPER JOHNSON||LB||New York Giants (1987, 1991)|
|WILLIAM ROBERTS||G||New York Giants (1987, 1991)|
|MIKE VRABEL||LB||New England Patriots (2002, 2004, 2005)|
|NATE EBNER||S||New England Patriots (2015, 2017)|
|MALCOLM JENKINS||S||New Orleans Saints (2010); Philadelphia Eagles (2018)|
Additionally, there are 10 former Buckeyes who have won both Super Bowls as NFL players and national championships when they were at Ohio State, which you can see in the following table:
|Player||National Championship Years||Super Bowl Years (Teams)|
|JIM TYRER||1957||1970 (Kansas City Chiefs)|
|MATT SNELL||1961||1969 (New York Jets)|
|BOB VOGEL||1961||1970 (Baltimore Colts)|
|PAUL WARFIELD||1961||1973, 1974 (Miami Dolphins)|
|JACK TATUM||1968, 1970||1977 (Oakland Raiders)|
|MORRIS BRADSHAW||1970||1977, 1981 (Oakland Raiders)|
|SANTONIO HOLMES||2002||2009 (Pittsburgh Steelers)|
|WILL SMITH||2002||2010 (New Orleans Saints)|
|A.J. HAWK||2002||2011 (Green Bay Packers)|
|MATT WILHELM||2002||2011 (Green Bay Packers)|
Together, that makes 16 Buckeyes who have won multiple Super Bowls or national championships with at least one Super Bowl.
Warfield, Tatum, Bradshaw and Vrabel are tied for the most combined Super Bowl and national championship wins among former Ohio State players, with three each.
Ebner, McQuaide and Simon will make this year’s Super Bowl the 11th Super Bowl in which Ohio State has had at least three representatives.
Had the NFC Championship Game been won by the New Orleans Saints, who have a league-high six former Ohio State players on their roster, Super Bowl LIII would have set a record for the most Buckeyes – because no Super Bowl has ever featured more than five players from Ohio State.
That’s happened three times. The first was in 1977, when Tatum, Bradshaw and Neal Colzie helped lead the Oakland Raiders to a victory over Marshall, Leonard Willis and the Minnesota Vikings in Super Bowl XI. The St. Louis Rams’ roster included three Buckeyes in 2000 – Orlando Pace, Joe Germaine and Lorenzo Styles – when they beat Eddie George, Chris Sanders and the Tennessee Titans in Super Bowl XXXIV. And there were five Buckeyes in the big game once again in Super Bowl 50, when Bradley Roby and the Denver Broncos defeated a Carolina Panthers team that included Andrew Norwell, Bradley Roby, Corey “Philly” Brown and Kurt Coleman.
Three other Super Bowls have included four Buckeyes. Keith Byars, Terry Glenn, Tupa and Roberts all played for the Patriots in their loss to the Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl XXXI in 1997. A.J. Hawk, Matt Wilhelm and Pickett played for the Packers in their win over Will Allen and the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XLV in 2011. Alex Boone, Donte Whitner, Larry Grant and Ginn played for the San Francisco 49ers in their loss to the Baltimore Ravens in Super Bowl XLVII in 2013.
The full table of Super Bowls that have included three Buckeyes or more:
|Game||Date||Buckeyes on Winning Team||Buckeyes on Losing Team|
|SUPER BOWL III||Jan. 12, 1969||Matt Snell (New York Jets)||Tom Matte, Bob Vogel (Baltimore Colts)|
|SUPER BOWL XI||Jan. 9, 1977||Morris Bradshaw, Neal Colzie, Jack Tatum (Oakland Raiders)||Jim Marshall, Leonard Willis (Minnesota Vikings)|
|SUPER BOWL XVI||Jan. 24, 1982||None (San Francisco 49ers)||Archie Griffin, Ray Griffin, Pete Johnson (Cincinnati Bengals)|
|SUPER BOWL XIX||Jan. 20, 1985||John Frank (San Francisco 49ers)||Bob Brudzinski, Pete Johnson (Miami Dolphins)|
|SUPER BOWL XXXI||Jan. 26, 1997||None (Green Bay Packers)||Keith Byars, Terry Glenn, Tom Tupa, William Roberts (New England Patriots)|
|SUPER BOWL XXXIV||Jan. 30, 2000||Joe Germaine, Orlando Pace, Lorenzo Styles (St. Louis Rams)||Eddie George, Chris Sanders (Tennessee Titans)|
|SUPER BOWL XXXVI||Feb. 3, 2002||Mike Vrabel (New England Patriots)||Orlando Pace, Ryan Pickett (St. Louis Rams)|
|SUPER BOWL XLV||Feb. 6, 2011||A.J. Hawk, Ryan Pickett, Matt Wilhelm (Green Bay Packers)||Will Allen (Pittsburgh Steelers)|
|SUPER BOWL XLVII||Feb. 3, 2013||None (Baltimore Ravens)||Alex Boone, Ted Ginn, Larry Grant, Donte Whitner (San Francisco 49ers)|
|SUPER BOWL 50||Feb. 7, 2016||Bradley Roby (Denver Broncos)||Corey "Philly" Brown, Kurt Coleman, Ted Ginn, Andrew Norwell (Carolina Panthers)|
|Super Bowl LIII||Feb. 3, 2019||Result TBD – Nate Ebner, John Simon (New England Patriots); Jake McQuaide (Los Angeles Rams)|
50 years ago: Ohio State’s first Super Bowl champion
The first Buckeye ever to win a Super Bowl was Matt Snell, who helped lead the New York Jets to a victory over the Indianapolis Colts in Super Bowl III in 1969. Snell rushed for 121 yards and a touchdown on 30 carries and also caught four passes for 40 yard in the Jets’ win.
Both starting running backs in Super Bowl III hailed from Ohio State, and Tom Matte also had a big game in defeat, rushing for 116 yards on just 11 carries and also catching two passes for 30 yards.
10 years ago: Ohio State’s only Super Bowl MVP
No Buckeye – and arguably, no player – has ever made a bigger play in the Super Bowl than Santonio Holmes, who made a toe-tapping touchdown catch with 35 seconds remaining in the game to propel the Pittsburgh Steelers to a 27-23 win over the Arizona Cardinals in Super Bowl XLIII in 2009.
For the game as a whole, Holmes caught nine passes for 131 yards, and was named Super Bowl MVP in recognition of his performance. He was the first and is still the only former Ohio State player to earn Super Bowl MVP honors.