With the NFL playoffs beginning on Saturday, 80 former student-athletes from current Big Ten schools appear on the active rosters of playoff teams. The Big Ten is one of two conferences to have every school with at least two players on playoff rosters and eight Big Ten schools feature six or more standouts taking the field during the postseason.
Only 13 college football programs will feature 10 or more former players in the playoffs, including Ohio State, Iowa and Wisconsin. The Buckeyes lead all Big Ten teams and are third among all schools with 14 former student-athletes taking the field. The Hawkeyes and Badgers are tied for ninth nationally with 10 standouts each. Michigan State will be represented by nine student-athletes, Illinois and Nebraska each have seven players on playoff rosters, while Michigan and Penn State check in with six each. Purdue will have five players in the postseason, while Indiana, Minnesota and Northwestern each have two.
New England leads all playoff squads with 11 former Big Ten standouts on the active roster, including Pro Bowl quarterback Tom Brady (Michigan). San Francisco features 10 Big Ten players, including two Pro Bowlers in linebacker NaVorro Bowman (Penn State) and safety Donte Whitner (Ohio State). Cincinnati and Houston each have nine Big Ten standouts on their rosters, including Texans' Pro Bowl defensive end J.J. Watt (Wisconsin).