As promised, here is my ex-Huskers in the Super Bowl blog. Use this on your friends and fellow Super Bowl party-goers as you likely are watching a game between two teams you have little interest in. Before we start, here’s John Bishop’s all-time favorite Super Bowl trivia question.
Six ex-Huskers have scored in a Super Bowl. Who are they? I’ll drop you a hint, only three are offensive players. The answer awaits at the end of the blog.
You would think a program like Nebraska – whose own revival came about in the Super Bowl era – would have a rich Super Bowl history. While it’s not bad, it also doesn’t compare to other schools with equally rich college football traditions. Perhaps it says more about the NU program and how it develops great college players and emphasizes education over developing pro athletes. Or maybe it’s just tough luck by Huskers who are drafted by non-Super Bowl teams. Players like Bob Brown, John Dutton, Ahman Green, Bob Newton, Cory Schlesinger, Will Shields, Broderick Thomas, Zach Wiegert all played 10 or more NFL seasons and never made it to Super Sunday. And think of NU’s greatest players in this time. Eric Crouch, Turner Gill, Mike Rozier, Johnny Rodgers, Tommie Frazier. They either never made it to pro football or spent very little time in it.
But for those who never spent time on football’s grandest stage, there are the Roger Craigs, Tom Rathman’s, Russ Hochsteins, John Parrella’s and Mick Tingelhoff’s of the world. Combined, they have 16 Super Bowl appearances and 8 Super Bowl rings. The most decorated ex-Huskers in Super Bowl history. So here it is, the most complete (and likely useless) ex-Huskers in the Super Bowl information page on the internet.
The First Ones:
It might haunt you to know that of the first ex-Huskers to participate in the Super Bowl, one is one of the more villanous individuals in Nebraska football history. Yes, former NU defensive back and Missouri head coach Warren Powers played on special teams as a reserve DB in Super Bowl II with the Oakland Raiders. But it was actually All-AFL defensive back Kent McCloughan who saw more playing time as the Raiders lost to Vince Lombardi’s last Green Bay team, 33-14.
The First Winners:
Heard of the Ex-Cub factor? It was a theory first published by Mike Royko of the Chicago Tribune in an interview with freelance journalist and Cub fan Ron Berler. It said that the team with the most ex-Cubs on its roster would lose the World Series. Well, there could be a correlation to an ex-Husker factor when it comes to the Super Bowl. The first eight ex-Huskers to participate on a Super Bowl team all lost. Finally, in 1976, linebackers Monte Johnson, Ric Bonness and backup QB Dave Humm won on John Madden’s only Super Bowl team. But they had to beat four-time Super runner-up (I can’t say “loser”) Mick Tingelhoff and the Minnesota Vikings to do it.
The Ex-Husker Factor:
Speaking of an “ex-Husker factor”, if you wanted to be a negative nelly, you could make a case for it. By my count, teams with the most ex-Huskers on the roster are 10-21 on Super Bowl Sunday. That means the odds are against Arizona (and Ralph Brown) this weekend.
The Most Games:
Mick Tingelhoff’s stellar 17 year career with the Vikings included all four Viking Super Sundays. And even though they lost all four games, it doesn’t diminish from his six Pro Bowls and 240 game consecutive games played streak. Some “ooh” and “aahh” about Brett Favre’s streak, but even Favre didn’t get hit on every single play like the big center from Lexington.
The ‘Super’ Star:
Of course, it’s Roger Craig. Nobody even comes close. A three-time champion. Scored three touchdowns in 1985 against Miami (would have been MVP had it not been for some guy named Montana). If there was such as thing as fantasy football in the mid-80’s, Craig would have had a 31 point day with over 120 total yards that afternoon. Craig was also the first NFL player to utter the phrase “three-peat” in 1990 as the 49ers were evicerating the Broncos. But it was his fumble one year later that doomed the Niners quest for the first Super-three-peat in the NFC Championship against the Giants.
The Double Champions:
Paul Brown, Jimmy Johnson and Barry Switzer are the only head coaches to lead teams to both a college national championship and a Super Bowl championship. The list of ex-Husker players to win both a national title while in Lincoln and a Super Bowl title in the NFL include LB Monte Johnson, LB Willie Harper, DB Tyrone Williams, DB Tony Veland and DE Grant Wistrom. CB Ralph Brown has a chance to do it Sunday with the Arizona Cardinals.
The Small College Stars:
Many might recall Buffalo’s Don Beebe knocking the ball out of Leon Lett’s hands as he was showboating towards the end zone at the end of Dallas’s 52-10 beatdown of the Bills in Super Bowl XXVII. Beebe is also one of at least four small college Nebraska players to play in the Super Bowl. The first was guard Randy Rasmussen of St. Paul, Nebraska. The Kearney State grad helped Joe Namath back up his “guarantee” in Super Bowl III. Former UNO great (and black pro quarterback pioneer) Marlon Briscoe got two rings with the Dolphins in 1972 and 1973. And fellow Maverick Chris Cooper played for Bill Callahan’s Oakland Raiders in Super Bowl XXXVII. Wayne State was represented by backup TE Byron Chamberlain in Denver’s two Super Bowl titles.
The Most Travelled:
Apparantly wherever John Parrella went, a Super Bowl was sure to follow. Parrella appears on three Super Bowl rosters with three different teams: the Bills in XXVIII, the Chargers in XXIX and finally with the Raiders in XXXVII.
DB – Warren Powers (Oakland, II)
DB – Kent McCloughan (Oakland, II)
**G – Randy Rasmussen (Jets, III) – Kearney State
LB – John Kirby (Vikings, IV)
C – Mick Tingelhoff (Vikings, IV, VIII, IX, XI)
**WR/QB – Marlin Briscoe (Dolphins, VII, VIII) – UNO
DB – Pat Fischer (Redskins, VII)
DL – Ron McDole (Redskins, VII)
DB – Ted Vactor (Redskins, VII)
DB – Joe Blahak (Vikings, IX)
LB – Rik Bonness (Raiders, XI)
QB – Dave Humm (Raiders, XI, XVIII)
LB – Monte Johnson (Raiders, XI)
C – Doug Dumler (Vikings, XI)
LB – George Andrews (Rams, XIV)
QB – Vince Ferragamo (Rams, XIV)
RB – I.M. Hipp (Raiders, XV)
LB – Bob Nelson (Raiders, XV, XVIII)
LB – Ray Phillips (Eagles, XV)
LB – Willie Harper (49ers, XVI)
NT – Rod Horn (Bengals, XVI)
DE – Bill Barnett (Dolphins, XVII, XIX)
RB – Andra Franklin (Dolphins, XVII, XIX)
RB – Rick Berns (Raiders, XVIII)
RB – Roger Craig (49ers, XIX, XXIII, XXIV)
DT – Henry Waechter (Bears, XX)
WR – Irving Fryar (Patriots, XX)
DT – Toby Williams (Patriots, XX)
OL – Keith Bishop (Broncos, XXI, XXII)
DB – Brian Davis (Redskins, XXII)
LB – Mike Knox (Broncos, XXII)
LB – Marc Munford (Broncos, XXII)
WR – Shane Swanson (Broncos, XXII)
RB – Doug DuBose (49ers, XXIII)
RB – Tom Rathman (49ers, XXIII, XXIV)
DE – Jim Skow (Bengals, XXIII)
TE – Jamie Williams (49ers, XXIV)
DT – Kent Wells (Giants, XXV)
**WR – Don Beebe (Bills, XXV, XXVI, XXVII, XXVIII – Packers, XXXI, XXXII) – Chadron State
DT – Danny Noonan (Cowboys, XXVII)
DT – John Parrella (Bills, XXVIII – Chargers, XXIX – Raiders XXXVII)
TE – Nate Turner (Bills, XXVIII)
LB – Donta Jones (Steelers, XXX)
G – Brendan Stai (Steelers, XXX)
RB – Calvin Jones (Packers, XXXI)
DB – Tyrone Williams (Packers, XXXI, XXXII)
DE – Neil Smith (Broncos, XXXII, XXXIII)
DB – Tony Veland (Broncos, XXXII)
**TE – Byron Chamberlain (Broncos, XXXII, XXXIII) – Wayne State
DB – Michael Booker (Falcons, XXXIII)
DE – Grant Wistrom (Rams, XXXIV, XXXVI – Seahawks XL)
LB – Doug Colman (Titans, XXXIV)
DB – Ralph Brown (Giants, XXXV, Cardinals XLIII)
DT – Christian Peter (Giants, XXXV)
OL – Russ Hochstein (Patriots XXXVIII, XXXIX, XLII)
**DT – Chris Cooper (Raiders, XXXVII) – UNO
DB – Eric Johnson (Raiders, XXXVII)
C – Adam Treu (Raiders, XXXVII)
DB – Mike Minter (Panthers, XXXVIII)
DE – Mike Rucker (Panthers, XXXVIII)
K – Josh Brown (Seahawks, XL)
DB – Mike Brown (Bears, XLI)
DT – LeKevin Smith (Patriots, XLII)
The Super Answer
Only six ex-Huskers have scored in a Super Bowl. I hinted that only three were offensive. Pretty easy if you think about it. There’s Roger Craig and Tom Rathman of the 49ers. And Irving Fryar scored the only touchdown for New England in their 46-10 loss to Chicago in Super Bowl XX.
Now comes the tough part. There are two defensive and one special teams player. Just three years ago, Josh Brown kicked a PAT and field goal for Seattle in Super Bowl XL. Do you remember Bill Callahan’s Super Bowl? Sure, he’d like to forget it, but LB Eric Johnson might have a fond memory of his blocked punt return for a score for the Raiders in their loss to Tampa in Super Bowl XXXVII.
And here’s the kicker……many football fans remember the great Chicago Bears 46 defense of Buddy Ryan, but not many remember that former Husker Henry Waechter sacked New England’s Steve Grogan in the end zone to finish the dominating defensive performance in the Superdome in 1986.