The MAC will be well represented at this year’s Super Bowl

Pittsburgh Steelers’ quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is all smiles after the Steelers defeated the New York Jets 24-19, winning the AFC Championship, at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on January 23, 2011. The Steelers will face the Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl XLV. UPI/Kevin Dietsch

Quick, name the conference that will have the second most representatives at this year’s Super Bowl.

The MAC? Damn. You read the title didn’t you? You little title reader, you…

That’s right, the MAC, with its 15 players, is second only to the SEC (18) in terms of representatives at Super Bowl XLV. According to Mt. Pleasant Morning Sun writer and fellow TSR contributor Drew Ellis, the Packers have nine former MAC players on their roster, including Central Michigan’s Cullen Jenkins, Frank Zombo and Josh Gordy, Western Michigan’s Greg Jennings, Buffalo running back James Starks, Miami of Ohio’s Tom Crabtree, offensive lineman T.J. Lang of Eastern Michigan, safety Atari Bigby of Central Florida and linebacker Diyral Briggs of Bowling Green.

Of course, the most recognizable name to come out of the MAC is Steelers’ quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who played at Miami. Pittsburgh also rosters former MAC players Antonio Brown (CMU), linebacker James Harrison (Kent State), quarterbacks Charlie Batch (Eastern Michigan) and Byron Leftwich (Marshall), as well kicker Shaun Suisham (BGSU).

According to a former MAC player, it is the constant disrespect the conference gets on a national stage that could lead to the players succeeding in the NFL.

“It really speaks volumes about the conference,” former CMU quarterback and teammate of Zombo, Brown, and Gordy, Brian Brunner, said. “This conference used to be know for being a quarterback-conference, but it has really become much more. National pundits may dog the MAC but when you see numbers like these you realize that a lot of MAC players that get a chance to play in the NFL, they come into the league with a chip on their shoulder and they are going work hard and push themselves and prove they belong.”

Obviously the number of players that represent a conference in the Super Bowl doesn’t reflect its status in college football. I hardly doubt we’ll hear anyone campaign for Northern Illinois to play in next year’s BCS title game if the Huskies go 11-0 and the MAC won’t suddenly be viewed as an elite conference.

But it’s nevertheless interesting to see that the little ol’ MAC – not the Big 12, Big Ten or ACC – has only three fewer players at this year’s title game than the SEC. It just goes to show you that talent is talent.

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

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