- Brian Bennett, ESPN Staff Writer
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Fourteen former Big Ten players will soon be the proud owners of new Super Bowl championship rings.
The league had 23 players on the two Super Bowl squads, and several played key roles in the New York Giants' victory against New England. Michigan product Mario Manningham had five catches for 73 yards, including the spectacular 38-yard reception that sparked the game-winning drive. Illinois' Steve Weatherford averaged 40.8 yards on four punts and placed three inside the Patriots' 10-yard line. It was a tough night for Big Ten tight ends, as Ohio State's Jake Ballard and Wisconsin's Travis Beckum each suffered knee injuries during the game. But both won rings.
The entire list of the 14 former Big Ten players who were on the Giants' championship team is as follows:
DB Prince Amukamara (Nebraska)
C David Baas (Michigan)
OT James Brewer (Indiana)
C Jim Cordle (Ohio State)
OT David Diehl (Illinois)
LB Greg Jones (Michigan State)
DT Jimmy Kennedy (Penn State)
OT Kareem McKenzie (Penn State)
S Tyler Sash (Iowa)
WR Devin Thomas (Michigan State)
Several Giants coaches also have Big Ties, including offensive line coach Pat Flaherty (a former assistant at Iowa and Penn State), secondary and cornerbacks coach Peter Giunta (ex-assistant at Penn State), linebackers coach Jim Herrmann (former player and assistant at Michigan), and running backs coach Jerald Ingram (ex-player and graduate assistant at Michigan).
The Patriots had eight former Big Ten players on the roster, led by Tom Brady. While Brady failed to win his fourth title, he did set a Super Bowl record with 16 consecutive completions during the game.
And, of course, Bill O'Brien finished his duties as New England offensive coordinator and can now concentrate on being Penn State's new head coach.