Super Bowl players can be found anywhere. How else to explain that Rutgers -- yes, Rutgers -- has the most players on Super Bowl LI rosters with five? That's more than double any other Big Ten school and one ahead of Alabama (which has four on its main roster, five if you count the practice squad), LSU and Stanford.
The Scarlet Knights had four players in the Super Bowl two years ago when the New England Patriots last made the game. Rutgers does have a winning record in eight of the past 11 seasons, though it went 4-8 in 2016.
Still, this recent trend of Super Bowl talent is an unusual development for a program with virtually no history of putting NFL players into the biggest game. For the Super Bowl's first 48 years, Rutgers had 24 player appearances. To put that in perspective, Grambling and Tennessee State had more.
Now the Scarlet Knights have nine appearances in the past three Super Bowls. That jumps them into a tie for 55th all-time and ahead of schools such as Virginia Tech, West Virginia and Washington State.
Miami remains No. 1 for all-time Super Bowl player appearances (118) during the 51-year history of the game. UCLA stayed third and moved within six appearances of cross-town rival USC, which is No. 2.
Michigan moved out of a tie with Penn State for sole possession of fourth place. Texas A&M joined the top 20 by jumping Arizona State and Michigan State.
Tennessee State remains the best small-school producer of Super Bowl appearances (32). That's more than eight Power Five schools possess all-time.
Speaking of small schools, say hello to Monmouth, California (Pa.) and Southeastern Louisiana. They're joining the Super Bowl Appearances Club in 2017 for the first time.
In the Super Bowl's 51-year history: 64 percent of player appearances come from the Power Five conferences as they're currently comprised, 16 percent come from the remaining Football Bowl Subdivision schools, and 20 percent come from lower-level colleges, such as those in the Football Championship Subdivision, NCAA Divisions II and III, NAIA and junior college.
There's more than one path to reach the Super Bowl. Ask Rutgers players.
College player appearances across 51 Super Bowls
|T34||San Diego State||52|
|San Jose State||26|
|South Carolina State||18|
|South Dakota State||16|
|West Texas A&M||15|
|Long Beach State||12|
|North Dakota State||12|
|William & Mary||12|
|T121||Fort Valley State||11|
T130 (9): Central Michigan, Kutztown, Northern Arizona, Northern Colorado, Prairie View
T135 (8): Alabama State, Arkansas State, Colgate, Montana State, New Mexico State, South Florida, Stephen F. Austin, Weber State, Western Carolina, Wichita State, Yale, Brown, Youngstown State, Bethune-Cookman, Connecticut
T150 (7): Biship, Boston University, Bowling Green, Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo, Chadron State, Cornell, Eastern Kentucky, Miami (OH), New Hampshire, North Dakota, Sacramento State, UMass, Villanova, Abeline Christian, Delaware, North Carolina A&T
T166 (6): Angelo State, Aurora, Ball State, Cal State-Fullerton, Central State, Hofstra, McNeese State, Montana, North Alabama, Northern Illinois, Northern Iowa, Rhode Island, Tampa, Virginia Union, Western Michigan, South Dakota
T182 (5): Akron, Central Missouri State, Columbia, Concordia-Moorhead, Delaware State, Eastern Washington, Elizabeth City State, Hampton, Idaho State, Jacksonville State, Middle Tennessee, New Mexico Military Institute, Northwestern Missouri State, Ohio, Ouachita Baptist, Richmond, Salem, Sam Houston State, Southern Illinois, Texas State, Towson
T203 (4): Allen, Amherst, Appalachian State, Augustana, Buffalo, California-Riverside, Central Arkansas, Central College, Emporia State, Harvard, Henderson State, Illinois State, Lamar, Langston, Mesa, Mississippi Valley State, Northern Michigan, Princeton, Santa Clara, Savannah State, Tennessee-Chattanooga, Wabash, West Chester, Eastern Illinois, Valdosta State
T228 (3): Albany State, Bucknell, Central Oklahoma, Chowan, Coastal Carolina, Detroit Mercy, Eastern Illinois, Ferris State, Florida Atlantic, Furman, Georgia Southern, Liberty, Los Angeles State, Maine, Marquette, Michigan Tech, Morehead State, Morris Brown, Nebraska-Omaha, New Mexico Highlands, Northeastern, Pittsburg State, Southern Connecticut, Tennessee Tech, The Citadel, U.S. International, UAB, Upper Iowa, Valparaiso, Wayne State, Western Kentucky, Winston-Salem State, Wisconsin Superior
T261 (2): Anderson (Ind.), Ashland, Bloomsburg, Bridgeport, Cal State-Bakersfield, Calgary, Cameron, Carthage, Dartmouth, Elon, Florida International, Gardner-Webb, Henderson JC, Holy Cross, Howard Payne, John Carroll, Kentucky State, Lehigh, Livingstone, Midwestern State, Mississippi College, Missouri Southern, Morningside, Murray State, Nicholls State, North Carolina Central, Philander Smith, Pierce, Regina, Shippensburg, Southern Arkansas, Tennessee-Martin, Tiffin, Trinity (Texas), Trinity Valley CC, Tuskegee, Washburn, Wisconsin-LaCrosse, Yankton, Holy Cross, West Alabama
T302 (1): Arkansas Tech, Assumption, Ausburg, Austin Peay State, Benedictine, Butte JC, Cal Lutheran, Cal State-Chico, Cal State-Hayward, Cal State-Northridge, California-Davis, California (Pa.), Catawba, Clarion, Clark, Coast Guard, College of the Sequoias, Concordia-St. Paul, Connecticut State, Davidson, Dayton, Deakin, Drake, Duquesne, East Central, East Tennessee State, Ferrum, Fort Hays State, Gettysburg, Grand Valley State, Hamline, Harding, Hardin-Simmons, Humboldt State, Indiana (Pa.), Iowa Central, Johnson C. Smith, Kings Point, Lakeland, Lambuth, Lane, Lewis & Clark, Lindenwood, Loyola (La.), Macalester, Manitoba, McGill, Mississippi Delta CC, Mississippi Gulf Coast, Missouri Western State, Monmouth, Morehouse, Mount San Antonio JC, Mount Union, Nebraska-Kearney, New Haven, Northeastern Oklahoma A&M, Northern State, Northwestern Oklahoma State, Oregon Tech, Ottawa (Kan.), Plymouth State, Robert Morris, Samford, San Diego, San Francisco State, Southeast Missouri State, Southeastern Louisiana, Seattle, Shepherd, Sherbrooke, Sonoma State, Southwest Missouri State, Springfield, St. Augustine's, St. Joseph's (Ind.), St. Mary's (Canada), Tarkio, Texas-San Antonio, Trinity (Ill.), Truman State, Tusculum, Union, Virginia Military Institute, Virginia State, Washington (Mo.), West Georgia, West Virginia State, Western Ontario, Western Oregon, Williams, Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Wisconsin-Stevens Point, Wisconsin-Whitewater, Wofford, Wooster