Penn Staters help Steelers to Super Bowl title

University Park, Pa. — A pair of former Penn State standouts, Sean McHugh and Scott Paxson, helped the Pittsburgh Steelers defeat the Arizona Cardinals, 27-23, in Super Bowl XLIII.

McHugh, a tight end, and Paxson, a defensive tackle, are the 31st and 32nd former Nittany Lions to play for the Super Bowl winner. Penn Staters have won a total of 48 Super Bowl rings. Offensive tackle Kareen McKenzie and defensive tackle Jay Alford earned Super Bowl rings with the New York Giants in 2008.

Sunday's game marked the 39th time in the Super Bowl's 43-game history that at least one Penn State alumnus was a member of one of the teams. Former Nittany Lion All-American Levi Brown started at right tackle for the Cardinals.

Penn State was tied for second among Big Ten schools with the most players on the Arizona and Pittsburgh rosters.

In addition to the three former players, three other Arizona and Pittsburgh staff members had Penn State ties.

Former Nittany Lion Jim Bradley is the Steelers' orthopaedic physician and Penn State graduate John Norwig is Pittsburgh's head trainer. Former Penn State graduate assistant coach Teryl Austin is the Cardinals' defensive backs coach.

Also, former Nittany Lion and NFL standout Matt Millen was an analyst for NBC's telecast of the game.

McHugh, a reserve tight end, was signed by Pittsburgh in early September after three seasons with the Detroit Lions. He had three receptions for 24 yards and one special teams tackle this season. Paxson has been on the Steelers' active roster this season after being a member of the practice squad in 2007.

Dr. Jim Bradley is in his 17th season as the Steelers' orthopaedic physician. He lettered in 1973 and '74 at defensive back for the Nittany Lions. A two-year starter, Bradley was a team co-captain in 1974, helping lead the Lions to a 10-2 mark, capped by a victory in the Cotton Bowl. Bradley was the first of three brothers to play for Joe Paterno, with Tom (1975-78) and Matt (1978-81) later making their mark. Tom is entering his 31st season as a member of the Penn State coaching staff, the last nine overseeing the defense, which allowed an average of 14.4 points and 93.2 rushing yards this past season.

John Norwig is the Steelers' head trainer. Norwig earned his bachelor's degree from Penn State in 1979 and his master's in 1984 from the College of Health and Human Development. He was a member of the Vanderbilt training staff from 1985-91 before joining the Steelers.

Ten former Nittany Lions playing in the National Football League were on 2008 playoff teams, with at least one Penn Stater on six of the 12 squads vying for the Super Bowl XLIII title. There are 29 former Nittany Lions on NFL rosters, placing Penn State in the top 12 nationally among schools in producing current NFL players.

More than 300 Nittany Lions have signed NFL contracts since Paterno became head coach in 1966. The Hall of Fame coach has seen 234 of his players drafted by NFL squads, including 34 first round draft choices, with Brown the last in 2007.

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Last Updated November 18, 2010