Big Ten's Super Bowl connections

Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

As we inch closer toward Super Bowl XLIII, it's time to look at the Big Ten connections for the Pittsburgh Steelers and Arizona Cardinals.

Michigan has the most connections with seven players on the active roster for the matchup, including Steelers starting linebackers LaMarr Woodley and Larry Foote and Cardinals reserve wideout and punt returner Steve Breaston. Penn State and Minnesota also are well represented.


  • Safety Tyrone Carter -- attended Minnesota

  • Fullback Carey Davis* -- attended Illinois

  • Guard Trai Essex -- attended Northwestern

  • Linebacker Larry Foote* -- attended Michigan

  • Wide receiver Santonio Holmes* -- attended Ohio State

  • Tight end Sean McHugh -- attended Penn State

  • Nose tackle Scott Paxson -- attended Penn State

  • Running back Gary Russell -- attended Minnesota

  • Tight end Matt Spaeth -- attended Minnesota

  • Linebacker Lamarr Woodley* -- attended Michigan

  • Linebacker Mike Humpal (injured reserve) -- attended Iowa

  • Running back Rashard Mendenhall (injured reserve) -- attended Illinois

  • Update: Defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau -- attended Ohio State and played cornerback

  • Wide receivers coach Randy Fichtner -- attended Purdue and served as a graduate assistant for both the Boilermakers and Michigan

  • Running backs coach Kirby Wilson -- Played his final two seasons at Illinois


  • Defensive tackle Alan Branch -- attended Michigan

  • Wide receiver Steve Breaston -- attended Michigan

  • Tackle Levi Brown* -- attended Penn State

  • Linebacker Victor Hobson -- attended Michigan

  • Long snapper Nathan Hodel -- attended Illinois

  • Defensive end Kenny Iwebema -- attended Iowa

  • Defensive end Chike Okeafor* -- attended Purdue

  • Kicker Neil Rackers* -- attended Illinois

  • Tight end Jerame Tuman -- attended Michigan

  • Defensive tackle Gabe Watson -- attended Michigan

  • Defensive line coach Ron Aiken -- coached Iowa's defensive line from 1999-2006, earned AFCA Division I Assistant Coach of the Year honors in 2002

  • Defensive backs coach Teryl Austin -- coached defensive backs at Michigan from 1999-2002 and served as a graduate assistant at Penn State from 1991-92

  • Linebackers coach Bill Davis -- Served as a graduate assistant at Michigan State

* -- starter