The popular trend of the football offseason will be the rebound of the Big Ten.
Ohio State won the national championship, and Jim Harbaugh is bringing hope to Michigan. Penn State is on the rise, and Michigan State and Wisconsin hope to maintain stability.
Here’s another one to add to the Big Ten’s brag sheet: No matter what, the Big Ten will have a Super Bowl-winning quarterback for the second consecutive season.
For the first time in Super Bowl history, two quarterbacks from the Big Ten will start for both teams. Certainly, a single conference has produced both Super Bowl starting quarterbacks before with Fran Tarkenton/Ken Stabler and Peyton Manning/Rex Grossman representing the SEC and and John Elway/Chris Chandler representing the Pac-10, but the meeting of Michigan’s Tom Brady and Wisconsin’s Russell Wilson is a first for the Big Ten.
Overall, this is a nice year for Big Ten representation in the Super Bowl. Six Wisconsin players are on Super Bowl rosters, more than any other school. Rutgers has four players on Super Bowl rosters, as many as Alabama, UCLA and Texas A&M and more than USC, Texas, Florida or Florida State.
No conference produced more players on this year's Super Bowl rosters — the active and reserve — than the Big Ten with 27, followed by the Pac-12 with 25 and SEC with 22.
Once again, Athlon Sports looked at each college and high school of players on active Super Bowl rosters and injured reserve and mapped each point.
Here’s a look at what we found.
The maps are interactive. Zoom in and out to check different areas and find names of each player. The Patriots are marked in red, and the Seahawks are marked in green.
Where the Patriots and Seahawks went to college
• After Wisconsin’s six players on Super Bowl rosters, six schools landed four players on Super Bowl rosters — Alabama, Michigan, Oregon, Rutgers, Texas A&M and UCLA.
• Seven schools produced three players on Super Bowl rosters: Cal, Illinois, LSU, Oregon, Purdue, TCU and USC.
• Three power conferences have separated themselves with the Big Ten (27), Pac-12 (25 and SEC (22) setting pace over the other leagues in their current alignments. The ACC (12) as less than half of the representation of the Pac-12, and the Big 12 (nine) has only two more than Conference USA and Mountain West (six each).
• While the Big Ten cornered the market on quarterbacks, the Pac-12 produced most of the rest of the offensive skill position star power — Arizona’s Rob Gronkowski, Cal’s Marshawn Lynch and Shane Vereen, Stanford’s Doug Baldwin, Washington’s Jermaine Kearse.
Where the Patriots and Seahawks went to high school
• The big three states for football are simply a big one in this Super Bowl. The Patriots and Seahawks have a combined 25 players from the state of California, just one fewer than Texas (15) and Florida (nine) combined.
• A bit of a surprise — the fourth-most represented state is Illinois with eight, including Patriots starting defensive end Rob Ninkovich (New Lenox Lincoln-Way Central) and starting tight end Michael Hoomanawanui (Bloomington Central Catholic).
• The most productive single region for the Super Bowl, by a wide margin, was the Los Angeles metro area. Southern California graduates include: Seahawks corner Richard Sherman, linebacker Bobby Wagner and defensive tackle Brandon Mebane and Patriots cornerback Patrick Chung and center Ryan Wendell.
• Compton (Calif.) Dominguez is the only school with two players in the Super Bowl with Seahawks star cornerback Richard Sherman and reserve safety Jeron Johnson.
• Five players in the Super Bowl did not play high school football in the lower 48, including Patriots offensive lineman Sebastian Vollmer (Nuess, Germany), Seahawks center Max Unger (Hawaii), tight end Luke Willson (Ontario), punter Jon Ryan (Regina, Saskatchewan) and defensive tackle Jesse Williams (Brisbane, Australia).