If you’re not already drowning in all the hype and red carpet-like glitz associated with the coverage of the once a year happening known as the Super Bowl, batten down the hatches, because it’s about to get a whole lot worse before it gets better.
You would think the news and entertainment media eventually would run out of ideas on how to bring us everything, anything and nothing we, the fans and social media obsessors, would like to know about the National Football League’s celebrated grand finale. You might think or wish that, but deep down, hidden within the most entrenched region of your left brain, you painfully and mortally realize that is not humanly possible.So let us add to all the Super Bowl mania and the dissemination of trivia, all things trivial and facts and fantasy of questionable interest.
Did you know – or even care to know – for example, that 14 players on the rosters of the San Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Ravens, the two teams that will square off for the title of world champions of professional football at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans on Sunday in Super Bowl XLVII (47 for those of you who are Roman-numeral challenged), are from schools in the Big 12 Conference?
Be honest, how many of you pay attention to what school he players are from when the starting lineups are announced by the players themselves in the opening moments of network television broadcasts? Like Baltimore’s soon-to-be-retired All-Pro linebacker Ray Lewis, who introduces himself as “Ray Lewis, linebacker, The ‘U’ (shorthand talk for the University of Miami).” Listen closely on Sunday, and you will know of what I speak.
Anyway, eight members of the NFL National Conference-champion 49ers hail from the Big 12, the second most from any one conference. A breakdown of the San Francisco roster for this year’s Super Bowl shows that the Big 12 is second only to the Big Ten (10) in terms of conference representation. The 49ers player roster includes six each from the Southeastern Conference and the Atlantic Coast Conference, five from the Pac-12 and three from Big East schools.
The San Francisco Big 12 connection is evenly distributed among five different schools, led by Missouri (when the Tigers were still in the Big 12), Texas and Texas Tech, each with two,and one each for Texas A&M and Oklahoma State. The two oldest Big 12 members on the 49ers, both with 12 year of service in the NFL, are former University of Texas offensive lineman Leonard Davis and defensive tackle Justin Smith Leonard Davis, from the University of Missouri.
Davis was a first-round selection (No. 2 player taken overall) of the Arizona Cardinals in 2001. He spent six seasons with the Cardinals, played four in Dallas and one in Detroit before landing with the 49ers this season. Smith also was a first-round pick in the same draft, selected with the fourth overall pick in the opening round by the Cincinnati Bengals. He played seven seasons in Cincinnati, and is in his fifth year with the 49ers.
One of the eight former Big 12 players on the San Francisco roster is a rookie this season: Tony Jerod-Eddie of Texas A&M.
The Big 12 is not as well represented on the roster of the Baltimore Ravens. The SEC, ACC and Pac-12 lead the way with eight each. Six players are from the Big 12, four from the Big Ten and three from Big East schools. Of the players from the Big 12, two are from Texas, and there is one each from Nebraska and Colorado (when both were members of the Big 12), as wqell as Iowa State and Oklahoma State.
Billy Bajema, a former tight end at Oklahoma State, is the most veteran of the Big 12 players on the Ravens’ roster. Ironically, Bajema was a seventh-round selection of San Francisco in the 2005 NFL Draft. He was with the 49ers for four years, then moved to St. Louis for three befre joining Baltimore this season.
For anyone interested in how the former Big 12 players with the 49ers and Ravens breakdown by position, there are five defensive backs (four cornerbacks and a safety), two defensive tackles, two offensive guards, , two receivers (a tight end and a wide receiver), two special-teams kickers (a punter and a placekicker) and one linebacker.