This Sunday, February 3, the Los Angeles Rams and the New England Patriots face off in the NFL’s 53rd Super Bowl. Throughout a half-century of championship football, Ohio has had its share of connections to arguably the biggest sports event of the year in the United States.
This year’s Super Bowl will feature three players who hail from the state of Ohio: Rams long-snapper Jake McQuaide, Patriots defensive back Nate Ebner, and Patriots defensive end John Simon. They’re just three of the hundreds of Ohioans who’ve been a part of this American tradition.
The Wilson Football Factory in Ada, Ohio, is the football-making hub of the NFL. Over 130 employees hand-sew each ball for every NFL game, including the Super Bowl. The factory makes up to 4,000 footballs each day and has crafted every Super Bowl game ball.
A worker inspects the footballs at the Wilson Football Factory in Ada. Photo: Sports Illustrated
Bill Belichick, head coach of the New England Patriots, coached the Cleveland Browns from 1991 to 1995. During that time, he compiled a 36-44 record and earned a playoff win in 1994.
56 former Ohio State Buckeyes have played in the Super Bowl. Cumulatively, they’ve won 38 Super Bowl rings.
Alliance, Ohio, native Len Dawson quarterbacked the Kansas City Chiefs in the first Super Bowl. He later won the 1970 Super Bowl and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1987.
Dawson smokes a cigarette with a bottle of Fresca during Super Bowl I in 1967.
The Cincinnati Bengals played in Super Bowls XVI and XXIII, but lost both games to the San Francisco 49ers.
In Super Bowl III, halfback Matt Snell of the New York Jets became the first former Ohio State Buckeye to score a touchdown in the Super Bowl. The Jets won that day, and Snell’s touchdown was the only one his team scored.
Matt Snell accepts a handoff from Joe Namath during Super Bowl III. Snell helped lead the Jets to a 16-7 upset win over the Colts on Jan. 12, 1969. Photo: AP
Santonio Holmes, wide receiver for the Pittsburgh Steelers, became the only former Buckeye to ever win Super Bowl MVP in 2009 during Super Bowl XLIII.