Photo by David Stluka/Wisconsin Athletic Communications

Six Reasons to Watch the Big Game

Super Bowl XLIX is basically a #BadgerReunion, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

(Disclaimer: We know. It’s way too soon to bring up the Packers’ loss. [PLEASE DON’T STOP READING.] Trust us, Wisconsinites. We’re right there with you. Stupid Seahawks. Is that even a real bird? Oh, your QB had AmFam AND Levi’s commercials? Cute. Ain’t no Discount Double-Check …)

It happened. It’s over. The Packers will not be playing in the Super Bowl this weekend, to the dismay of all Wisconsin. But that’s no reason to sit, grumble, and refuse to watch anything other than the Puppy Bowl. (Though, for the record, we’re in full support of puppies.)

Let us not, fellow UW fans, overlook the one thing that really matters as we head towards Super Bowl XLIX: There are six former Badgers in the Big Game. Six. That makes the University of Wisconsin the most represented college in the 2015 Super Bowl.

So even if you’ve painted your house green and gold and named your cats Lombardi and Lambeau, can you find it in your heart to root for Russell Wilson, 2011 quarterback of the Wisconsin Badgers? And if you’ve memorized the exact measurements of proper football inflation in an attempt to crack Deflate-Gate, couldn’t you cheer on James White, former Badger running back and 2010’s Big Ten Freshman of the Year?

Allow us to refresh your memory. Give it up for your 2015 Super Badger Bowl starting lineup:

Patriots

James White

Running Back, 2010-2013

White was easily a fan-favorite during his Badger years, inspiring some students to sneak in numerous packages of white printer paper, which resulted in a “White Out” of sections J through P each time he made a play. He ended his Wisconsin career ranked fourth in all-time rushing yards (4,015) and third in rushing touchdowns (45, just one less than Melvin Gordon). White was a fourth-round draft pick in 2014 for the New England Patriots.

Jonathan Casillas

Linebacker, 2005-2008

Casillas joined the NFL as a free agent in 2009, and has played for the New Orleans Saints, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and, currently, the New England Patriots. This season, just before the trade deadline, the Patriots scored Casillas from the ailing Tampa Bay Buccaneers and made him a key player for their defense.

Seahawks

Russell Wilson

Quarterback, 2011

Though he was only at Wisconsin for one season, Wilson made quite an impact. To name just a few of his records from 2011:

  • NCAA record for passer efficiency, 191.8
  • NCAA record for consecutive games with a TD pass, 37
  • School record for single-season passing yards, 3,175
  • Tied school record for total TDs, 40

Wilson was a third-round draft pick for the Seahawks in 2012, and he was named the NFL Rookie of the Year after debuting as the starting quarterback. This will be Wilson’s second consecutive Super Bowl appearance.

O’Brien Schofield

Defensive End, 2006–09

Redshirted in 2005, Schofield earned his first letter in 2007. His first career start was in the 2008 Outback Bowl, where he had a season high of three tackles and one forced fumble. In the 2008 season, Schofield started in all thirteen games. He ended his UW career in 2009 with 24.5 tackles-for-loss, ranking second-best for one season at the UW. As a fourth-round draft pick in 2010, Schofield made his NFL debut with the Arizona Cardinals. In 2013, he moved to Seattle, where he made his first Super Bowl debut.

David Gilreath

Wide Receiver, 2007–10

Who here remembers the 2010 opening kick-off return against The Ohio State? That was David Gilreath. In fact, he holds the Big Ten record for kickoff return yards in a game, at 135. He also had the second-longest touchdown run in Badger history (90 yards). Gilreath made his NFL debut in 2012 with the Pittsburgh Steelers, before moving to the Seahawks in 2014.

Mike Taylor

Linebacker, 2009–12

An Ashwaubenon native, Taylor is a Wisconsin man through and through. He started for the Badgers in 2009 and was named to the Big Ten All-Freshman Team. In his final season, he had a season high of 15 tackles, which set him on the watch list for the Lombardi Award. This is Taylor’s first official NFL season, after he battled a handful of injuries in 2013.

This is the second consecutive time that each team in the Super Bowl has started former Badgers. Last year former dream-team Russell Wilson and Montee Ball went head-to-head as a Seahawk versus a Bronco. Counting XLIX, the Badgers have been dually represented in eight Super Bowls.

We’d personally love to see a big #BadgerReunion take place after the game, regardless of who wins. Hey @DangeRussWilson and @SweetFeet_White, care to make that happen?

Good luck, gentlemen, and on, Wisconsin!