The Seahawks' win in Super Bowl XLVIII on Sunday night boosted not just professional football in the Pacific Northwest but also college football in the Midwest.
Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson became the latest former Big Ten quarterback to hoist the Lombardi Trophy, something ex-Big Ten signal callers have been doing a lot of in recent years. Big Ten quarterbacks have won five of the last 13 Super Bowls, more than alums of any other conference.
Wilson was just the most recent. After a sterling senior year at Wisconsin, he headed to Seattle and now has a Super Bowl title in just his second season as a pro. Wilson wasn't especially prolific in Sunday's big game, but he did throw for 206 yards and a pair of touchdowns, adding 26 more yards on the ground. It's not the 3,175 passing yards and 33 touchdowns he threw for in his senior year as a Badger, but those didn't come with a Super Bowl win, either.
Wilson marks the fifth Super Bowl-winning quarterback in 13 years to hail from a Big Ten school. Of course, three of those rings belong to ex-Michigan quarterback Tom Brady, who led the New England Patriots to three Super Bowl wins in the 2000s. The other? Drew Brees, the former Purdue Boilermaker who grabbed a Super Bowl win leading the Saints.
The Big Ten ranks first in the last 13 years with five wins by former QBs, but all-time they place second, not behind the SEC but behind the Pac-12. The Big Ten has produced eight Super Bowl wins for former QBs, the not-so-recent ones being a pair of Purdue products in Bob Griese, who won two with the Dolphins, and Len Dawson, who led the Chiefs to a win in Super Bowl IV. The Pac-12 ranks first with nine wins, though they tend to come in bunches. UCLA alum Troy Aikman won three with the Cowboys, and Stanford men John Elway and Jim Plunkett each won a pair with the Broncos and Raiders, respectively. The other two belong to Aaron Rodgers of the Packers (he went to California) and Mark Rypien, the Washington State product who won a Super Bowl with the Redskins.
Coming in third among the conferences is the SEC with seven, and fourth place on this list belongs to Conference USA, which boasts five Super Bowl wins for its quarterbacks (though four of those belong to Louisiana Tech product Terry Bradshaw, who played for the Bulldogs in the late 60s, when they were a D-II school playing in the Gulf States Conference). Notre Dame also has five wins, four coming from Joe Montana.