University of Michigan alum Tom Brady added to his Super Bowl hardware collection Sunday night, leading New England on the comeback of all comebacks, 34-28 in overtime against Atlanta in Houston. The Patriots trailed 28-3 in the third quarter before Brady got to work on winning his fourth Super Bowl MVP in seven appearances.
Brady is the biggest name among former Michigan greats to help their teams win a Super Bowl title, but what about other stand-out performers who once played for the Wolverines? There have been 66 former Wolverines who have been with organizations that reached Super Bowls either as a player (including injured reserve and practice squad) or coach.
Current Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh led San Francisco to Super Bowl XLVII against older brother John and the Baltimore Ravens after the 2012 season. He was a near-Hail Mary pass away from getting the Indianapolis Colts to Super Bowl XXX as a quarterback.
Here are Land of 10’s Top 5 Super Bowl performances by a Michigan player not named Tom Brady. See what you think, then vote below.
1. Desmond Howard (Green Bay vs. New England, Super Bowl XXXI)
Howard added a Super Bowl MVP award to his Heisman Trophy as he totaled 244 yards on 10 kickoff/punt returns in Green Bay’s 35-21 win against the Patriots. He set a then-Super Bowl record with a 99-yard kickoff return with 3:10 left in the third quarter that proved to be the final points of the game. It answered a New England touchdown that cut favored Green Bay’s lead to 6 points. Howard also had punt returns of 32 and 34 yards that gave the Packers good field position and led to 10 more points.
2. Ty Law (New England vs. St. Louis, Super Bowl XXXVI)
As stunning as Brady’s second half comeback against Atlanta for his fifth Super Bowl win was, New England’s first Super Bowl victory was a drawn-out shocker. The Patriot beat the Rams — dubbed “The Greatest Show on Turf” — 20-17 and Law was a big reason why. His 47-yard interception return for a touchdown in the second quarter gave New England a 7-3 lead against quarterback Kurt Warner and the high-powered St. Louis offense. Law led the Patriots with 8 tackles and 2 pass breakups in the game.
3. Lamarr Woodley (Pittsburgh vs. Arizona, Super Bowl XLIII)
Everyone remembers Ben Roethlisberger’s game-winning touchdown pass to Santonio Holmes, but Woodley had a monster game for the Steelers’ defense in the 27-23 victory. Woodley had 4 tackles, 2 sacks and a pass breakup … and his strip-sack of Warner sealed Pittsburgh’s victory.
4. Mario Manningham (NYG vs. New England, Super Bowl XLVI)
No team has been the kryptonite to Brady’s Super Bowl Superman like the Giants. They’re the only team to beat New England in a Super Bowl in the Belichick-Brady era, and they have done so twice. In the second of those victories, Manningham’s 38-yard reception from Eli Manning was the start of a game-winning drive. The Giants got the ball at their own 12-yard line with 3:46 left in regulation. Manningham’s sideline toe-tapping got them out to midfield on one play. Manningham caught two more passes for 18 yards as the Giants drove 88 yards in 9 plays, scoring the go-ahead points of a 21-17 victory on a 6-yard touchdown run by Ahmad Bradshaw. Manningham finished with 5 catches for 73 yards.
5. Mike Bass (Washington vs. Miami, Super Bowl VII)
This one is on the all-time blooper reel, the famous, ahem, pass attempt by Dolphins’ K Garo Yepremian. Miami was about to cement its 17-0 perfect season when Yepremian lined up a 42-yard field goal attempt with 2:38 remaining in the fourth quarter. The Dolphins led 14-0 but the kick was blocked. Yepremian picked up the loose ball and tried to throw a pass downfield. The ball instead slipped out of his right hand, and then bounced into the air, at which point Yepremian tried to catch it.
Instead, he popped it back into the air, allowing Bass to corral the ball and go 49 yards for a touchdown that gave Washington some hope late in the game. It wasn’t enough, however, as Miami held on for the 14-7 win.
VOTE: Best Super Bowl performance by a Wolverine not named Tom Brady