A Look Back At Penn State’s Super Bowl Success
Former Nittany Lions have participated in 43 of the last 47 Super Bowls, and this year will be no exception with rookie Jordan Hill and Michael Robinson playing for the Seattle Seahawks. Both former Penn Staters will compete for the Lombardi Trophy on February 2 against the Denver Broncos.
Penn State has a rich history in the Super Bowl, as 35 Nittany Lions have won at least one championship, while many won multiple Super Bowls.
With the big game looming close, we decided to take a look back at some of the more memorable Super Bowl wins that included Nittany Lions in the history of the NFL’s championship.
Penn State’s success in the biggest event in American sports goes back to the first Super Bowl in 1967, when recent Hall of Fame inductee Dave Robinson played for the Green Bay Packers and coach Vince Lombardi. To take the team into the Super Bowl, Robinson pressured Cowboys quarterback Don Meredith into throwing an interception to prevent a touchdown that would have tied the game in the NFL Championship.
Super Bowl I (1967): Dave Robinson (Green Bay Packers), Harrison “Hatch” Rosdahl (Kansas City Chiefs)
In Robinson’s first Super Bowl, which at that point in time pitted the NFL Champion Packers against the AFL Champion Kansas City Chiefs, he forced quarterback Len Dawson into throwing the first interception of the game, which was returned by Willie Wood for 50 yards to put the team in scoring position. The Packers went on to win 35-10.
Super Bowl II (1968): Dave Robinson (Green Bay Packers)
In Robinson’s second Super Bowl appearance he had two tackles, five assists, a fumble recovery, and a defended pass in the team’s 33-14 win over the Oakland Raiders.
Super Bowl III (1969): Ralph Baker (New York Jets), Glenn Ressler (Baltimore Colts)
Super Bowl V (1971): Glenn Ressler (Baltimore Colts)
Super Bowl VII (1973): Bruce Bannon (IRL) (Miami Dolphins)
Super Bowl VIII (1974): Bruce Bannon (Miami Dolphins)
Super Bowl IX (1975): Franco Harris, Jack Ham (Pittsburgh Steelers)
Two of Penn State’s other Hall of Famers — Franco Harris and Jack Ham — were essential to the Pittsburgh Steelers’ miraculous run of four Super Bowl wins in a six year period. Harris is the only Penn Stater to ever be named Super Bowl MVP. During the Steeler’s 16-6 Super Bowl IX win over the Minnesota Vikings in 1975, Harris ran for 158 yards — which is still a Super Bowl record for fullbacks — on 34 carries with a touchdown.
Super Bowl X (1976): Franco Harris, Jack Ham (Pittsburgh Steelers)
The next season, the Steelers won their second consecutive championship with a 21-17 victory over the Dallas Cowboys. Harris posted an 82 rushing yards and 27 receiving yards. Ham had five tackles and assisted on five more.
Super Bowl XI (1977): Dave Rowe, Ted Kwalick (Oakland Raiders)
Super Bowl XII (1978): Tom Rafferty (Dallas Cowboys)
Super Bowl XIII (1979): Franco Harris, Jack Ham (Pittsburgh Steelers), Tom Rafferty (Dallas Cowboys)
After missing the Super Bowl for two years in a row, the Steelers rebounded the following season and defeated the Cowboys again by the same margin, 35-31, in Super Bowl XIII. Franco Harris scored the only rushing touchdown of the game, while Ham had seven tackles, three assists, and a pass defended.
Super Bowl XIV (1980): Franco Harris, Jack Ham, Matt Bahr (Pittsburgh Steelers)
The Steelers went on to make the big game in consecutive years yet again. Ham and Harris were joined by rookie placekicker and Penn Stater Matt Bahr, who made a 41-yard field goal for the first score of the game against the Los Angeles Rams. The play was set up by a 32-yard pass from Terry Bradshaw to Franco Harris. Harris scored two touchdowns in the game, both of which came from the one-yard line, in the Steelers’ 31-17 victory.
Super Bowl XV (1981): Chris Bahr, Matt Millen (Oakland Raiders), Bob Torrey (IRL) (Philadelphia Eagles)
Matt Millen was also a part of four Super Bowl wins, although his rings came with three different teams. As a rookie at linebacker, Millen and the Raiders went to Super Bowl XV as a wild-card team and defeated the Philadelphia Eagles, 27-10. Chris Bahr — a placekicker, brother of Matt Bahr, and the son of Penn State legend Walter Bahr — missed a 45-yard field goal early in the game, but responded with a 46-yard field goal in the third quarter and a 35-yard field goal in the fourth quarter.
Super Bowl XVI (1982): Pete Kugler (IRL) (San Francisco 49ers)
Super Bowl XVII (1983): Larry Kubin, Rich Milot (Washington Redskins), Jimmy Cefalo, Paul Lankford (Miami Dolphins)
Super Bowl XVIII (1984): Chris Bahr, Matt Millen, Jim Romano (Los Angeles Raiders), Larry Kubin, Rich Milot (Washington Redskins)
Super Bowl XIX (1985): Jimmy Cefalo, Paul Lankford (Miami Dolphins)
Super Bowl XX (1986): Mike Hartenstine, Matt Suhey (Chicago Bears), Jon Williams (IRL) (New England Patriots)
Two plays after the New England Patriots fumbled the ball on their own 13-yard line in the first quarter, Suhey ran for an 11-yard touchdown, the first of of the game. On the Bears next series, Suhey had a 24-yard reception from Jim McMahon to set up a touchdown in the Bears eventual 44-10 win.
Super Bowl XXI (1987): Brad Benson (New York Giants), Stan Short (IRL) (Denver Broncos)
Super Bowl XXII (1988): Rich Milot (Washington Redskins)
Super Bowl XXIII (1989): Pete Kugler (San Francisco 49ers)
Super Bowl XXIV (1990): Matt Millen, Pete Kugler (San Francisco 49ers)
Millen joined the San Francisco 49ers in 1989 and was part of the legendary Niners squad that beat the Broncos 55-10 to win the 1990 championship game.
Super Bowl XXV (1991): Matt Bahr, Bob Mrosko (New York Giants), Shane Conlan, Mitch Frerotte (Buffalo Bills)
Matt Bahr returned to the big game in 1991, 11 years after his first Super Bowl win with the Steelers. Bahr had the first score of the game again, this time off a 28-yard field goal. While the Giants were down 19-17, a seven-minute, 63-yard drive led the Giants to the three-yard line. Despite first and goal from the three, the Giants were forced to kick a 21-yard field goal, which was a successful game-winning kick by Bahr for a 20-19 victory.
Super Bowl XXVI (1992): Matt Millen, Andre Collins, Tim Johnson (Washington Redskins), Shane Conlan, Mitch Frerotte (Buffalo Bills)
Millen was deactivated for his final Super Bowl with the Redskins in 1992, which had Penn State linebacker Andre Collins and defensive tackle Tim Johnson starting the game.
Super Bowl XXVII (1993): Shane Conlan, Mitch Frerotte, Keith Goganius (Buffalo Bills)
Super Bowl XXVIII (1994): Keith Goganius (Buffalo Bills)
Super Bowl XXX (1996): Darren Perry, Eric Ravotti (Pittsburgh Steelers)
Super Bowl XXXI (1997): Marco Rivera (Green Bay Packers), Sam Gash, Todd Rucci (New England Patriots)
Super Bowl XXXII (1998): Marco Rivera, Brett Conway (IRL) (Green Bay Packers)
Super Bowl XXXIV (2000): Terry Killens, Mike Archie (IRL) (Tennessee Titans)
Super Bowl XXXV (2001): Sam Gash, Kim Herring (Baltimore Ravens), Kerry Collins, Joe Jurevicius, Brandon Short (New York Giants)
Super Bowl XXXVI (2002): Kim Herring, Tyoka Jackson (St. Louis Rams)
Super Bowl XXXVII (2003): Joe Jurevicius (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
In 2003, receiver Joe Jurevicius led the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in receiving yards in the team’s 48-21 Super Bowl XXXVII win over the Oakland Raiders. On the team’s second possession, Jurevicius had two receptions from Brad Johnson for 11 and 23 yards respectively, which set up a field goal to tie the game at 3-3. In the third quarter, Jurevicius had two more catches for 11 and 33 yards on a touchdown drive that put the Raiders up 27-3.
Super Bowl XXXVIII (2004): Shawn Mayer (New England Patriots)
Super Bowl XXXIX (2005): Justin Kirpeikis (New England Patriots), Eric McCoo (Philadelphia Eagles)
Super Bowl XL (2006): Jeff Hartings (Pittsburgh Steelers), Bobby Engram, Joe Jurevicius (Seattle Seahawks)
Super Bowl XLI (2007): John Gilmore, Robbie Gould (Chicago Bears)
Super Bowl XLII (2008): Jay Alford, Kareem McKenzie (New York Giants), Kyle Brady (New England Patriots)
Super Bowl XLIII (2009): Sean McHugh, Scott Paxson (Pittsburgh Steelers), Levi Brown (Arizona Cardinals)
Super Bowl XLV (2011): Andrew Quarless (Green Bay Packers), Jeremy Kapinos (Pittsburgh Steelers)
Super Bowl XLVII (2013): NaVorro Bowman (San Francisco 49ers)
In a little over a week, Hill and Robinson will look to become the 35th and 36th former Penn State players to win Super Bowls and win the 52nd and 53rd Super Bowl rings as former Nittany Lions. While the Seahawks opened as favorites to win, the Broncos are now favored by 2.5 points. We’ll keep you posted on all coverage related to our Penn Staters in the Super Bowl as the game gets closer.
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About the Author
Students once approved a Wally Triplett statue that Penn State’s bureaucracy prevented from ever coming to fruition.
Rednor is current a junior and the president of Zeta Tau Alpha sorority.
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