Not two…not three…not four…
No, I’m not talking about the amount of NBA championships LeBron James predicted when he arrived in Miami in 2010. I’m talking about the amount of former players representing the Badgers in this year’s Super Bowl this Sunday in New York.
Including Darrell Bevell, the offensive coordinator for Seattle, UW-Madison has five of its former players in the biggest sporting event in the country. Something only Tennessee can say they have outdone.
Joining the easily-recognizable Montee Ball and Russell Wilson are safety Chris Maragos and linebacker O’Brien Schofield.
Wisconsin, you say? How can that be?
Let’s start with the ideology of Wisconsin’s offense. The tough-nosed, smash mouth football always displayed in Madison still remains ideal for NFL teams, particularly with running the ball. Russell Wilson has Marshawn Lynch, whom just this year alone ran for over 1,200 yards and 12 touchdowns, allowing Wilson and Seattle’s offense to have the lowest average of passing attempts in the NFL.
Sounds a lot like Wisconsin, doesn’t it?
Across the mountains, while Payton still runs the show in Denver, running the ball has still been featured in his offense this year. Denver ranked 15th overall in total rushing, with over 1,800 yards and 16 touchdowns. While much of that came for Knowshon Moreno, Montee Ball has steadily improved throughout the season and playoffs, and has become a more integral part of the Broncos offense.
Takeaway from all this: NFL teams like the way Wisconsin runs their offense, hence the reason for the success of Ball and Wilson.
Don’t get me wrong, other offenses, such as the spread or triple option, have their advantages and disadvantages as well, and can easily amount to success on the college stage. Just look at Auburn this year, or even Ohio State. Both had great success this year running a very powerful, yet very un-NFLish offense.
But when it comes to productivity in the NFL, look no further than right here in Madison. The pro-style, running-first mentality is still a priority when the calendar turns to January. New England, Seattle, and even Denver needed the running game in each of their victories in the playoffs.
I have always believed there is no better place for a running back/tight end/quarterback to go besides UW-Madison. With Russell Wilson and Montee Ball on offense at the Super Bowl, it only makes that argument even stronger.
So yes, Auburn and Ohio State fans; go have fun with your slightly more exciting offense than us Badgers. I’ll take what we have over them any day.
As I look to enjoy this Super Bowl with Wisconsin pride, there’s only one question that remains on my mind, however, besides who will win.
How did we NOT win the 2012 Rose Bowl?
By Eric Jacobson