As a college football fan, the Super Bowl is great because you never have to be disappointed your favorite team isn’t playing. A bonus as a Penn State fan is cheering on former players in the most watched American television broadcast each year; or least, almost every year. Sunday, February 3rd, 2012 will be the 47th Super Bowl, and the 42nd in which a Penn State representative will be on the sidelines.
Over the next five days leading up to the big game, a lot of attention will be paid to Novarro Bowman and his quest for a ring, and rightfully so. However, Victory Bell Ring is going a slightly different direction, with a look to the past. We will be ranking the best performances by a former Penn State football player in the Super Bowl. Rankings will be released two per day, starting with the 10th and 9th and finishing with the 2nd and 1st. Feel free to bookmark this page, we will update the links at the bottom as the new rankings are released.
About The List
- The rankings were compiled by a committee of one, therefore they are indisputable.
- The player’s performance must have ended in a winning effort. Contrary to the current design of Penn State’s jersey, I still believe the name on the front means more than the name on the back. If your team didn’t win you didn’t win, and your efforts will not be recognized on this list.
- The era in which the game was played will be considered. The 2012 Super Bowl, for example, had 20% more offensive plays than the 1972 Super Bowl; offensive and defensive statistics have been inflated as a result.
- There are no rules prohibiting one player from appearing more than one time, or two players from the same team appearing on the list individually or collectively. However, this was a statistic-based ranking, so apologies in advance to the eight offensive linemen on the list.
- The overall impact their statistics had on the outcome of the game matter. For example, if you had three tackles for a loss on third down in the 2nd half a close game, it will compare favorably to a 40 yard catch in garbage time of a blowout. I reviewed the play-by-play of every Super Bowl, ever. While I recognize statistics don’t tell the whole story, it is the best I could do without watching footage of every game.
We hope you find our list entertaining and historically accurate, if not we welcome any and all comments here or on the individual ranking page. To kick things off, here are some quick honorable mentions that I came across through researching this list. These don’t necessarily follow the rules, and the top ten will have more in-depth analysis.
Dave Robinson – Linebacker, 1967, Green Bay Packers: Robinson anchored the Green Bay defensive line with four tackles, one for a loss, in Super Bowl 1. Just for good measure, he two tackles, a pass deflection, and a fumble recovery in Super Bowl 2.
Bahr Brothers – Kicker, 1980 (Matt – Pittsburgh Steelers) & 1981 (Chris – Oakland Raiders): Fun fact that Matt (1-1 FG, 4-4 PAT) won the Super Bowl the year before Chris (2-3 FG, 3-3 PAT) won. Before proud papa Archie Manning, Walter Bahr (National Soccer Hall of Fame inductee) had some pretty good years.
Pete Kugler – Defensive Line, 1982, 1989, 1990, San Francisco 49ers: Kugler may be a victim of a statistical based analysis, but I had to mention the three-time Super Bowl champion contributed a total of two tackles. Not a bad ratio
1994 Team – Kim Herring, Defensive Back, 2001, Baltimore Ravens, Joe Jurevicious, Wide Receiver, 2003, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Jurevicious put up good numbers (4 catches, 78 yards) in a game dominated by defensive touchdowns. Herring had an interception and pass deflection in a winning effort against former ’94 teammate Kerry Collins.
09. Matt Millen
08. Franco Harris
07. Matt Millen
06. Matt Suhey
05. Franco Harris
04. Jack Ham
03. Franco Harris
02. Matt Bahr
01. Franco Harris