Former Big Ten Players and Coaches Set to Compete in Super Bowl

Ohio State's Jake Ballard will take the field for New York in the Super Bowl.

Jan. 24, 2012

The Big Ten Conference will be well-represented on Sunday, Feb. 5, in Super Bowl XLVI at Indianapolis’ Lucas Oil Stadium, home of the Big Ten Football Championship Game. Twenty-two former student-athletes and eight coaches with conference connections appear on the rosters of the New England Patriots and New York Giants. The Big Ten and the SEC (23 players) are the only conferences with 20 or more players on the two Super Bowl squads, followed by the ACC (17), Pac-12 (13) and Big East (11). The Big Ten has also produced two of the last three Super Bowl Most Valuable Players in former Purdue quarterback Drew Brees (Super Bowl XLIV Champion New Orleans) and Ohio State wide receiver Santonio Holmes (Super Bowl XLIII Champion Pittsburgh).
Ten of the 12 Big Ten schools will be represented on the Super Bowl rosters, while five will be represented by an assistant coach. Michigan is tied for second among all schools with four players, followed by Michigan State, Penn State and Purdue with three each. Illinois, Iowa and Ohio State will have two former players competing for the title, while Indiana, Nebraska and Wisconsin have one each. Three assistant coaches have ties to Penn State, while two spent time at Iowa and Michigan. Giants and Patriots coaches also have ties to Michigan State and Ohio State.
The Patriots boast eight former Big Ten players from five different schools on their roster. Michigan quarterback Tom Brady and punter Zoltan Mesko, Michigan State quarterback Brian Hoyer and Purdue linebacker Niko Koutouvides, offensive tackle Matt Light and linebacker Rob Ninkovich highlight the active roster, while Iowa linebacker Jeff Tarpinian and Penn State offensive guard Rich Ohrnberger are on the team’s injured reserve list.

Fourteen former Big Ten standouts from nine different schools will compete for the Giants in the Super Bowl. Illinois tackle David Diehl, Indiana tackle James Brewer, Michigan center David Baas and wide receiver Mario Manningham, Michigan State wide receiver Devin Thomas, Ohio State tight end Jake Ballard and center Jim Cordle, Penn State tackle Kareem McKenzie and Wisconsin tight end Travis Beckum will line up on offense for the Giants, while Iowa safety Tyler Sash, Michigan State linebacker Greg Jones, Nebraska defensive back Prince Amukamara and Penn State defensive tackle Jimmy Kennedy check in on the defensive side of the ball. Illinois punter Steve Weatherford will lead New York’s special teams unit.



Eight of the Giants’ and Patriots’ assistant coaches have ties to Big Ten schools, including incoming Penn State head coach and current New England offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien. Patriots’ tight ends coach Brian Ferentz (played at Iowa, son of current Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz), defensive line coach Pepper Johnson (played at Ohio State) and offensive assistant Josh McDaniels (graduate assistant at Michigan State) have also spent time with Big Ten teams. Giants offensive line coach Pat Flaherty (assistant at Iowa and Penn State), secondary and cornerbacks coach Peter Giunta (assistant at Penn State), linebackers coach Jim Herrmann (played and served as an assistant at Michigan) and running backs coach Jerald Ingram (played and served as a graduate assistant at Michigan) each have Big Ten ties.

The complete list of Big Ten players and coaches set to participate in Super Bowl XLVI appears below:
2012 Super Bowl Participants from Big Ten Schools

New England Patriots (8)
Name, Position, School
*Jeff Tarpinian, LB Iowa
Tom Brady, QB, Michigan
Zoltan Mesko, P, Michigan
Brian Hoyer, QB, Michigan State
*Rich Ohrnberger, OG, Penn State
Matt Light, OT, Purdue
Niko Koutouvides, LB, Purdue
Rob Ninkovich, LB, Purdue

Brian Ferentz, Tight Ends (Played at Iowa from 2001-05)
Pepper Johnson, Defensive Line (Played at Ohio State from 1982-85)
Josh McDaniels, Offensive Assistant (Graduate Assistant at Michigan State in 1999)
Bill O’Brien, Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks (Incoming Penn State head coach)

New York Giants (14)
Name, Position, School
David Diehl, OT, Illinois
Steve Weatherford, P, Illinois
James Brewer, OT, Indiana
Tyler Sash, S, Iowa
David Baas, C, Michigan
Mario Manningham, WR, Michigan
Greg Jones, LB, Michigan State
Devin Thomas, WR, Michigan State
Prince Amukamara, DB, Nebraska
Jake Ballard, TE, Ohio State
Jim Cordle, C, Ohio State
Jimmy Kennedy, DT, Penn State
Kareem McKenzie, OT, Penn State
Travis Beckum, TE, Wisconsin

Pat Flaherty, Offensive Line (Assistant at Penn State from 1982-83; Assistant at Iowa in 1999)
Peter Giunta, Secondary/Cornerbacks (Assistant at Penn State from 1981-83)
Jim Herrmann, Linebackers (Played at Michigan from 1980-82; Assistant at Michigan from 1985-2005)
Jerald Ingram, Running Backs (Played at Michigan from 1979-81; Graduate Assistant at Michigan in 1984)

* Injured Reserve