TUCSON--A pair of former Arizona Wildcats will square off from opposing starting middle linebacker positions in Super Bowl XLII in Glendale next month, plus a third former Cat will see action for the NFC Champions.
Tedy Bruschi of the New England Patriots and Antonio Pierce of the New York Giants each led their teams in regular season tackles, with 92 and 102, respectively. They'll join Giants backup safety Michael Johnson to give UA players 41 total appearances in the Super Bowl over the years. Johnson had 25 tackles this season, his rookie year.
Bruschi's success with New England -- and the unbeaten Patriots' dominance in recent years -- gives him a fifth Super Bowl appearance, tying him with former offensive lineman Glenn Parker (Buffalo Bills and Giants) for the most world championship game trips by a former Wildcat. Bruschi leads in another category, with three Super Bowl victories with the Pats.
A former Wildcat has appeared in every Super Bowl since 1999 starting with Jose Portilla (OL) of the Falcons, Joe Salave'a (DT) of the Titans in 2000, Edwin Mulitalo (OL) and Chris McAlister (CB) of the Ravens and Parker (NYG) in 2001; Bruschi and?Trung Canidate (RB) and Brandon Manumaleuna (TE) of the Rams in 2002, Frank Middleton (OL) of the Raiders in 2003, Bruschi in 2004, Bruschi and Josh Miller (New England P) in 2005, Joe Tafoya (DE) of the Seahawks in 2006, and Lance Briggs (LB) of Chicago last year.
Super Bowl XLII kicks off at?University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale on Sunday, Feb. 3.