It’s that time of year again! Time for the Super Bowl! The Cleveland Browns are once again spectators and luckily for all of us here in Ohio so are the Pittsburgh Steelers. If we can’t go at least they aren’t either. How about the Buckeyes that are going to the big game? We’ll dig into it… Let’s rumble!
Four former Ohio State Buckeyes will be on the field on Super Sunday and they all will see significant action. Ironically, they all will be on the same sideline and wearing red.
Ted Ginn Jr, Donte Whitner, Alex Boone and Larry Grant will represent THE Ohio State University in the Mercedes-Benz Super Dome in New Orleans, Louisiana as members of the San Francisco 49ers during Super Bowl 47.
The 49ers opponent, the Baltimore Ravens do not have any Buckeyes on their roster. The Ravens only carry four total players from the entire BigTen. They do however have a middle linebacker with 6 children from four different mothers who paid off the families of murder victims after he had his buddies take the rap for him and go to jail who now thinks he is a preacher and is doing God’s work whom the major networks like to prop up as a saint in Ray Lewis. I’m no longer bitter (please hear the sarcasm) about Art Modell moving the Browns to Baltimore in 1995, but I am going to say it’s definitely a reason to root against the Ravens this weekend. Or any weekend. Forever.
Buckeye Super Bowl history
While it’s not exactly “Columbus West”, San Francisco does carry the most Buckeye players on its Super Bowl roster since the 1997 New England Patriots (Keith Byers, Terry Glenn, Tom Tupa, William Roberts) in Super Bowl 31.
The most Buckeyes ever to appear in a Super Bowl are five and that happened twice. The first time was in Super Bowl 11, the Minnesota Vikings (2 Buckeyes: Jim Marshall and Len Willis) took on the Oakland Raiders (3 Buckeyes: Jack Tatum, Neal Colzie and Morris Bradshaw). The second time was in Super Bowl 34 between the Tennessee Titans (2 Buckeyes: Eddie George and Chris Sanders) and the St. Louis Rams (3 Buckeyes: Orlando Pace, Lorenzo Styles and Joe Germain).
Jim Tyrer was the first Buckeye to play in the Super Bowl. Tyrer played tackle for the Kansas City Chiefs against the Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl 1.
The first Buckeye to be on the winning team in the Super Bowl was Matt Snell of the New York Jets. His team, led by Joe Namath’s famous guarantee, beat the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl 3.
Paul Warfield was the only Buckeye member of the Miami Dolphins famous undefeated team of 1972. They won Super Bowl 7 over the Washington Redskins 14-7 and remain the only team to finish an NFL season unbeaten. Warfield also was the only Buckeye alum on the Dolphins team the year before that lost Super Bowl 6 to the Dallas Cowboys 24-3.
As much as it pains me to say it, the most spectacular play made by a Buckeye in the Super Bowl was easily Santonio Holmes game winning touchdown catch for the Steelers in Super Bowl 43. Holmes caught nine passes for 131 yards and a touchdown, including four receptions for 73 yards on their final game-winning drive and was named the game’s Most Valuable Player.
Current Ohio State football radio color commentator and former Buckeye All-American guard Jim Lachey started for “The Hogs” offensive line of the Washington Redskins in their win over the Buffalo Bills in Super Bowl 26.
Last year’s Super Bowl winners the New York Giants featured two former Buckeyes: Jake Ballard and Jim Cordle. Their opponents the New England Patriots did not have a single Buckeye on the team.
The late Jack Tatum holds the title for the most vicious hit in Super Bowl history. His pummeling helmet-to-helmet blast of Minnesota Viking Sammy White in Super Bowl 11 is bone rattling and to this very day is “The Assassin” at his most violent.
The current crop
Let’s take a closer look at and back on the four Buckeyes playing for a coveted Super Bowl ring on Sunday.
Larry Grant: A junior college transfer from City College of San Francisco, Grant came to the Buckeyes in 2006 after being named the JUCO Player of the Year for 2005. At a time when the Buckeyes had just lost linebackers A.J. Hawk, Bobby Carpenter and Anthony Schlegel, Grant was a much needed addition at linebacker.
Wearing number 6, Grant started at linebacker during the Buckeyes 11-1 season in 2007 that ended in the Super Dome in a National Championship Game loss to LSU. He finished the season with 51 tackles and 9.5 tackles for loss.
Larry wears number 54 for the 49ers. Good luck, Larry!
Alex Boone: A USA Today and Parade All-American from St. Ed’s High School in Lakewood (near Cleveland) Ohio, Boone came to Ohio State with high expectations. Many thought he could be the “next Orlando Pace” for the Buckeyes. Those are pretty big shoes to expect anyone to try and fill, if you ask me.
Boone ended up having a pretty nice career at Ohio State. Alex was a four year starter and twice made All-Big Ten. He anchored the offensive line for 2006’s undefeated championship run and again in 2007 only to have both seasons end with disappointing losses in the National Championship game.
After not being selected in the 2009 NFL draft, Boone was signed as a free agent with the 49ers and made the practice squad. His slip from potential middle round pick to undrafted free agent had a lot to do with an off-field issue on February 1st, 2009 in which Boone was arrested for jumping on the hoods of cars, breaking windows and fleeing the scene while under the influence. It left many to wonder what would become not only of Alex Boone’s football career but his livelihood in general.
In the summer of 2011, Boone spent five days a week under the tutelage of former Buckeye All-American and NFL Pro-Bowler LeCharles Bentley. With LCB’s help, Boone worked his into some playing time at various spots on the 49ers offensive line. After another offseason with Bentley, Boone was given the opportunity to compete for a starting job at the 49ers 2012 training camp. He would win the starting right guard slot and not relinquish the job all season, starting every game and playing every offensive snap.
San Francisco head coach Jim Harbaugh recently credited Boone’s emergence as one of the catalysts for the success of the gamble he made by replacing starting quarterback Alex Smith with Colin Kapernick. “It’s been unbelievable, I’ve come such a long way,” Boone told the NFL Network. “The whole process made me more humble and gave me more understanding of where I’ve come from. I couldn’t be on a better team.”
Alex wears number 75 for the 49ers as he did in his days wearing scarlet and grey. Good luck to Alex Boone!
Donte Whitner: Part of the “Glennville Pipeline” established during the Jim Tressel era, Donte Whitner came to Ohio State as a US Army All-American in 2003. While at Ohio State he appeared in 35 games starting 18 times. He registered 164 tackles with five sacks and thirteen tackles for loss. He caused two fumbles and recovered a blocked punt for a score. He deflected nine passes and had five interceptions for 62 yards in returns and a touchdown.
Donte was selected at number 8 overall in the 2006 NFL draft by the Buffalo Bills. He spent 2006-2010 in Buffalo before leaving as a free agent in 2011. He initially announced on his twitter account that he was going to sign with the Cleveland Browns only to then have the deal fall apart (who was at fault we’ll never know) and see him head west to sign with San Francisco.
Whitner was known as a big hitter at Ohio State and his reputation has followed him to the NFL. After wearing number 9 for the Buckeyes then number 20 for the Bills, Whitner will wear number 31 in the Super Bowl for the 49ers. Good luck, Donte!
Ted Ginn Jr.: We called him the Human Highlight Reel. He was the fastest player maybe in Buckeye history. Highly recruited out of Glenville High School (another in the “Glenville Pipeline” where his father Ted Ginn Sr. is head coach) the 2003 USA Today Defensive Player of the Year, 2003 Parade All-American, 2003 SuperPrep National Defensive Player of the Year and participant in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, Ginn came to Ohio State ready to set the world on fire.
TG2 finished his freshman season with 25 receptions for 359 yards and 2 touchdowns while rushing for 113 yards and 2 touchdowns. He led the nation with 25.6 yards per punt return average, and returned four punts for touchdowns breaking the Big Ten Conference record.
Ginn finished his Ohio State career with 125 receptions for 1,943 yards and 15 touchdowns in 37 games. He rushed for 213 yards, returned 38 kickoffs for 1,012 yards, and gained 900 yards on 64 punt returns, the second highest total in Ohio State history. Overall, he gained 4,068 total yards and scored 26 touchdowns. He set a Big Ten record for most career punt return touchdowns with 6. The highlights were unlimited. TG2 was a threat to go the distance every time he touched the ball.
In the 2007 NFL draft, Ginn was selected 7th overall by the Miami Dolphins. In 2010 he was traded to the 49ers where he has played a key role on special teams in the return game and occasionally at wide receiver.
Ginn wore number 7 at Ohio State and has worn number 19 at Miami and will wear it for the 49ers in the Super Bowl on Sunday. Good luck, TG!
Wrap it up
I’m looking forward to the Super Bowl. Like most of America I look at it as a national holiday. I watch the pregame all day, love the halftime shows (who doesn’t love “Queen B” Beyonce?) and all the pomp and circumstance that go along with it. Selecting who I want to win this year is easy: Not the Baltimore Ravens. Throw in four Buckeyes playing major roles for the 49ers and it’s a no-brainer for me. Have fun and until next week, Go Bucks!
Metallica track of the week
Speaking of San Francisco, you know who else is from the Northern California Bay area? That’s right, Metallica! All of this Super Bowl talk makes me sad that my Browns have never been there. It’s a day that seemingly will never come. Let’s go back to Mexico City 2009 for a ripping performance of The Day That Never Comes!