By the numbers | Former Hawkeyes are Super Bowl bound

Brush up on Iowa’s history of having players in the Super Bowl ahead of the Rams-Bengals battle for the Lombardi Trophy next weekend.


Dec 13, 2021; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Los Angeles Rams offensive tackle AJ Jackson (68) and linebacker Von Miller (40) against the Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium. (Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports)

Robert Read, Pregame Editor

No matter the result of Super Bowl LVI, two former Hawkeyes will soon be champions.

The AFC’s Cincinnati Bengals will play the NFC’s Los Angeles Rams at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles on Super Bowl Sunday. Three former Iowa football players will have a chance to suit up in the final game of the NFL season — while one former Hawkeye will be in street clothes on the sideline, nursing an injury. Offensive tackle Alaric Jackson and defensive back Jake Gervase are both on Los Angeles’ active roster, while defensive tackle Mike Daniels is currently on Cincinnati’s practice squad and offensive tackle Riley Reiff is on injured reserve.

Either a Rams or Bengals win next weekend will result in two players who used to play inside Kinnick Stadium being fitted for a Super Bowl ring. Brush up on Iowa’s history of having players in the Super Bowl ahead of what will likely be one of the most watched events of 2022.

4 — First-time Super Bowl participants among former Hawkeyes

Jackson, Gervase, Daniels, and Reiff are all making their Super Bowl debuts in Los Angeles.

Gervase and Jackson are both former undrafted free agents who have spent their entire professional careers with the Rams. Gervase, who played at Iowa from 2014-18, led Iowa in tackles as a senior and picked off seven passes in his college career before joining the Rams in 2019. Jackson, a four-year starter at left tackle for Iowa, is in his rookie NFL season. The 6-foot-7, 285-pounder has made four appearances for the Rams this season.

Daniels, a former Pro Bowler with the Green Bay Packers, has spent the past two seasons with the Bengals — the third professional team of his 10-year career. The former fourth-round draft pick has appeared in three games for Cincinnati this season. The 6-foot, 310-pounder led Iowa in tackles for loss and sacks in his junior and senior seasons. Daniels will be joined on the Bengals’ sideline by Reiff — his former Iowa teammates and a former first-round draft pick who is in his 10th year in the NFL. The former first-team All-Big Ten performer, who has spent time with the Detroit Lions and Minnesota Vikings, was placed on injured reserve on Dec. 16 to end his first year with the Bengals.

As a bonus, Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow — a Heisman Trophy winner at LSU and the first-overall pick by Cincinnati in 2020 — was born in Ames, Iowa.

RELATED: Hawks in the NFL | Super Bowl edition

57 — Former Hawkeyes who have made Super Bowl appearances

Going into the 2021 season, 53 former Hawkeyes had appeared on football’s biggest stage, per the Iowa football media guide. Add four more onto that after Sunday.

Iowa’s Super Bowl history spans decades. Bob Jeter, who won MVP of the 1959 Rose Bowl for his 194-yard rushing performance, started at cornerback in Super Bowls I and II for the Green Bay Packers. In last year’s Super Bowl (LV), offensive tackle Tristan Wirfs started at right tackle as a rookie for the world-champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers, while defensive lineman/linebacker Anthony Nelson also won a ring. Wirfs (then 22 years old) is the second-youngest former Iowa player to play in a Super Bowl, only behind offensive tackle Bryan Bulaga (21) for the Green Bay Packers in 2011.

James Ferentz, the son of Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz, has won two Super Bowls — one with Tom Brady as his quarterback and the other with Peyton Manning under center.

Minnesota Vikings outside linebacker Wally Hilgenberg and safety Paul Krause (the NFL’s all-time leader in interceptions) both started four Super Bowls — all losses — the most of any former Hawkeye.

A former Hawkeye has appeared in the Super Bowl in 17 of the last 18 years.

The most memorable performance in that timeframe may have come from hard-hitting safety and former NFL Defensive Player of the Year Bob Sanders. The former Hawkeye recorded three tackles, a forced fumble, and an interception in the Indianapolis Colts’ 29-17 win over the Chicago Bears in Super Bowl XLI. The Athletic regards Sanders’ performance as the greatest ever by a former Hawkeye in the Super Bowl, just ahead of Tim Dwight’s in Super Bowl XXXIII.

As a member of the Falcons, Dwight returned a kickoff 94 yards for a touchdown in a 34-19 loss to the Broncos. The former Hawkeye wide receiver and return specialist tallied 210 kickoff return yards in that game, the second-most ever in a Super Bowl.

11 — NFL franchises Iowa alums have won Super Bowls with so far

Over the span of 55 Super Bowls, 24 former Iowa players have earned the Lombardi Trophy for 17 different Super Bowl-winning teams. Eleven franchises have won Super Bowls with at least one Hawkeye on the roster.

Sunday will mark 12.

The Rams have never won a Super Bowl with an Iowa alum on the roster. The Bengals have never won a Super Bowl at all. Five former Hawkeyes have won Super Bowl rings with the New England Patriots. No franchise has made more champions out of Iowa players than the Patriots.

Super Bowl LVI kicks off at 5:50 p.m. on Sunday. The game will air on NBC with Al Michaels giving play-by-play and Cris Collinsworth providing commentary.