A Look at Ohio State's Super Bowl History Ahead of Super Bowl LIII

By Dan Hope on February 3, 2019 at 7:45 am
Santonio Holmes, Ohio State's only Super Bowl MVP

Charles LeClaire – USA TODAY Sports

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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.

Buckeyes Who Have Played in Super Bowl
Player Years (Teams)
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.

Multiple championships

Already including Ebner, a total of eight former Ohio State players have won multiple Super Bowls, as you can see in the table below:

Buckeyes Who Have Won Multiple Super Bowls
Player Position Teams (Years)
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:

Buckeyes Who Have Won Super Bowls and National Championships
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.

Well-represented

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:

Super Bowls With Three or More Buckeyes
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.

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