Unless you have been living under a rock, you know that the Cincinnati Bengals are going to the Super Bowl to take on the Los Angeles Rams, and Ohio State’s fingerprints were all over Cincinnati’s AFC Championship Game win over the Kansas City Chiefs.
Not only did Joe Burrow engineer a comeback when the Chiefs took a 21-3 lead in the second quarter, a trio of former Buckeyes on the defensive side of the football made some huge plays for the Bengals. Sam Hubbard had a crucial sack late in the fourth quarter to hold the Chiefs to a game-tying field goal. Eli Apple and Vonn Bell both made huge plays in overtime, with Apple breaking up a pass on Kansas City’s only drive in the extra session and Bell intercepting a Patrick Mahomes pass on the next play.
With the number of Bengals that are former Buckeyes, there is likely to be a huge play by an Ohio State alum in next Sunday’s Super Bowl. Over the years there have been a number of memorable moments where a player that wore the scarlet and gray in college did something that will live forever in Super Bowl lore.
Today’s question: What is your favorite Super Bowl moment by a former Buckeye?
We’d love to hear your choices. Either respond to us on Twitter at @Landgrant33 or leave your choice in the comments.
Brett’s answer: Santonio Holmes’ game-winning catch in Super Bowl XLIII
After a career at Ohio State that saw him rank in the top-10 in a number of receiving categories, Santonio Holmes was taken with the 25th pick in the 2006 NFL Draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers, who were coming off a win over the Seattle Seahawks in the Super Bowl. By Holmes’ third season in the league, he had become a strong compliment to Hines Ward at wide receiver for the Steelers.
Pittsburgh looked to be in control of the Super Bowl at halftime, as James Harrison intercepted a Kurt Warner pass and returned it 100 yards just before half to give the Steelers a 17-7 lead. Pittsburgh would extend the lead to 20-7 before Arizona started their comeback, eventually taking a 23-20 lead with just over two minutes to go when Larry Fitzgerald scored on a 64-yard touchdown pass.
The Steelers didn’t lose their cool though, going on an eight play, 78-yard drive to take the lead with 35 seconds to go. Holmes accounted for all but five yards on that drive, grabbing four passes for 73 yards. The game-winning touchdown catch saw Holmes reach high for the football and get two feet in-bounds near the back corner of the end zone. The play was reviewed, and rightfully ruled a catch. Arizona had 35 seconds left to try and score a touchdown to win the game, but the Cardinals fumbled a couple plays into the drive.
Holmes finished the game with nine catches for 131 yards, earning Super Bowl MVP honors. The wide receiver is the first, and only, Ohio State alum to be named Super Bowl MVP. The game-winning catch by Holmes is one of the most iconic plays in Super Bowl history, not only because of its importance, but also because of how picturesque it was as Holmes was able to get both feet down in-bounds.
Meredith’s answer: Mike Vrabel’s offensive touchdowns in Super Bowls XXXVIII and XXIX
It’s hard to pick a play from a member of the New England Patriots, but we can still pay homage to one of our favorite defensive Buckeyes of his generation. Mike Vrabel, despite being a two-time Big Ten Defensive Lineman of the Year, fell to the third round in the 1997 NFL Draft. After a couple seasons with Pittsburgh, he came to the Pats in 2001 — and that’s when the magic started.
While Vrabel was an anchor on the New England defense during his tenure there from 2001-2008, earning three Super Bowl rings along the way, his biggest Super Bowl moment came on offense. In 2004, in Super Bowl XXXVIII against the Carolina Panthers, Vrabel’s one-yard touchdown catch from Tom Brady would put the Patriots up on the Panthers late in the fourth quarter. It was the first touchdown catch by a defensive player in a Super Bowl since 1986.
Vrabel and Brady would repeat the feat in Super Bowl XXIX the following season against the Philadelphia Eagles with a two-yard touchdown in the third quarter.
In all, Mike Vrabel had 11 touchdowns in his career. It’s definitely not as lovable as a big man touchdown, but it still warms the soul to see someone from the defensive front seven score six.
Looking ahead, despite their lukewarm showing in the NFL Playoffs this year, the Tennessee Titans are a team on the rise in recent seasons under the leadership of Vrabel the coach. It’s possible we could have more great Super Bowl moments from Vrabel in years to come.