Notre Dame Football: All-Time Fighting Irish Super Bowl Team

Super Bowl LVIII between the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers takes place Sunday with another former Notre Dame player set to join the list of those to have won a Lombardi trophy.

Former Irish linebacker Drue Tranquill has been a solid addition to the Chiefs this season, making multiple big plays in Kansas City’s win over the Bills in the divisional round.

San Francisco’s offense is built around a physical offensive line that includes former Notre Dame standout Aaron Banks.

The Irish have been well represented in the Super Bowl historically so I made an all-time team of Notre Dame players based solely off their performances on Super Bowl Sunday.  To make this all-time team doesn’t mean you had the best overall career in the NFL necessarily, as much as you had to perform well in the actual Super Bowl game.

Because of the lack of involvement at some positions, one had to simply appear in a game to earn a spot on this roster.

Here it is, Notre Dame’s all-time Super Bowl roster:



Quarterback: Joe Montana

Is there any question here?  Four Super Bowl championships as a starting quarterback have been bested by only Tom Brady.  Montana took home Super Bowl MVP honors in three of those wins as well.  Simply put: you can’t start to tell the history of the Super Bowl without quickly getting to Joe Montana.

Shoutout to Joe Theismann who is the only other starting quarterback to win a Super Bowl having attended Notre Dame.  Daryle Lamonica also started Super Bowl II for the Raiders and threw a pair of touchdown passes when they fell to the Packers.

Running Backs

USA TODAY Sports © Copyright USA TODAY Sports
USA TODAY Sports © Copyright USA TODAY Sports

Running Backs:  Ricky Watters, Rocky Bleier

Ricky Watters tied a Super Bowl record by scoring three touchdowns in the 49ers 49-26 drubbing of the Chargers in XXIX.  That lands him atop the running back depth chart as you can’t do much better.

Rocky Bleier gets the nod as the second running back on the squad as you can’t deny his longevity having won four Super Bowls as a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Jerome Bettis gets a mention here because of his compelling story of playing his final game in native Detroit and finally winning the big one, but “The Bus” was limited to just 42 yards and no scores in that contest.

Wide Receivers


Wide Receivers: David Givens, Golden Tate, Ben Skowronek

For having a few pretty solid former wide receivers, Notre Dame’s history at the position in regards to the Super Bowl leaves a good amount to be desired.

David Givens is the only Notre Dame player to score touchdowns in multiple Super Bowls, doing so in New England wins in both XXXVIII and XXXIX.  Not bad for a player who had 12 career regular-season touchdown receptions.

Golden Tate didn’t do much in the Seahawks thrashing of the Broncos in XLVIII, but he gets a spot for simply hauling in three receptions.  That’s the bar we’re talking about here.

Finally, the third receiver spot goes to…whew boy.

Ben Skowronek who barely beats out Tim Brown.  Skowronek had a pair of receptions for 12 yards to help the Rams get by the Bengals in Super Bowl LVI while Brown had one reception for nine yards when the Raiders fell to the Buccaneers in Super Bowl XXXVIII.

Tight Ends

David Boss-USA TODAY Sports
David Boss-USA TODAY Sports

Tight Ends:  Dave Casper, Mark Bavaro

Casper was the first Notre Dame player to score a touchdown in Super Bowl play, doing so in the Raiders 32-14 win over the Vikings in XI.  He’d end up with four receptions for 70 yards that afternoon.

Bavaro helped the Giants to Super Bowl victories in XXI and XXV, scoring a touchdown and pulling in 101 yards in the two games.

Offensive Line

Malcolm Emmons-USA TODAY Sports © Copyright 1973 Malcolm Emmons
Malcolm Emmons-USA TODAY Sports © Copyright 1973 Malcolm Emmons

Offensive Line:  Bob Kuechenberg, Tom Thayer, Aaron Taylor, Steve Sylvester, Ryan Harris

Kuechenberg is the easy one here as he wasn’t only great in winning a pair of Super Bowls but was one who didn’t get the deserved love of his work with the ’72 Dolphins.

Sylvester was a mainstay on the Raiders line where he won three titles as well so his place is there without question.

The others?

Thayer, Taylor, and Harris all started Super Bowl victories by their teams which pretty much gave them spots on this all-time roster.

Defensive Line

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Defensive Line: Ross Browner, Alan Page, Eric Dorsey, Justin Tuck, Bryant Young

Due to a lack of worthy linebackers we’re changing up the defense and playing with a five-man front.  It may not be the most modern way to do things but we’ve got to do it to make this work.

Ross Browner makes the team despite never winning a Super Bowl as his 10 tackles in Super Bowl XVI remain a record for solo tackles made by a defensive lineman in the game.

I could sit and make fun of the Vikings and their fans for the team has made four Super Bowls all-time, but has never scored a point in the first half of any of them, let alone winning any.  I won’t do that though and will instead mention that Page playing in four games ties him for the most Super Bowl appearances all-time by any Notre Dame player.

Dorsey helped the Giants to a pair of titles in XXI and XXV while recording more sacks in those two games than the legendary Lawrence Taylor (1-0).

Justin Tuck sacked Tom Brady twice in both of his Super Bowl appearances, doing so in both XLII and XLVI, helping the Giants to narrow victories.  His forced fumble of Brady just before halftime in XLII likely kept the Patriots from extending their lead.

Finally, tackle Bryant Young is the only former Notre Dame player to start a Super Bowl as a rookie, doing so in the 49ers’ destruction of the Chargers in XXIX.


Credit: Dick Raphael-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Dick Raphael-USA TODAY Sports

Linebackers: Nick Buoniconti, Jim Lynch

Buoniconti is in the “Hall of Very Good” and was one of Miami’s best defenders during their run in the early-seventies.  A winner in both Super Bowl VII and VIII, Buoniconti had an interception the win that clinched the ’72 Dolphins perfect season.

Lynch helped the Chiefs to a Super Bowl team as they pitched a first-half shutout of the Vikings in Kansas City’s Super Bowl IV victory.

Rocky Boiman (Colts, XLI), Darius Fleming (Patriots, XLIX), and Tony Peterson (49ers, XXIX) are available if we’re deperate for linebacking help (which we are).  Perhaps we’ll be able to add Tranquill after Sunday.

Defensive Backs


Defensive Backs: Dave Duerson, Todd Lyght, David Bruton, Brock Williams

Duerson is an easy one as he won Super Bowls with both the Bears (XX) and Giants (XXV).  He’s one of just two Notre Dame players to win Super Bowls with two different teams, the other being tight end Jerome Collins who has rings from both the Colts (XLI) and Giants (XLII) despite having not been active for the Indiapolis win versus the Bears.

Lyght’s blocked field goal against the Titans in XXXIV helped the Rams hold onto a victory in one of the more thrilling title games.

Alright, we’re desperate again as Bruton makes the team for having a ring for the Broncos winning Super Bowl 50, a game he didn’t play in due to a broken leg.

Brock Williams also didn’t play for the Patriots in their thrilling XXXVI win over the Rams, but received a ring for playing in one game that regular season.  That ring is still for sale in Las Vegas if you’re in the market.



Kicker: John Carney

John Carney (right, above) played in two Super Bowl’s, making a field goal and extra point in XXIX while knocking through a pair of field goals and extra points in the Saints win over the Colts in XLIV.

We’re happy he was so we could share this picture with you.


Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Punter: Hunter Smith

Super Bowl XLI is remembered for Peyton Manning winning his first Super Bowl and the Colts winning a title for the first time since moving to Indianapolis.

It’s also remembered for Devin Hester’s opening kickoff return for a touchdown.

Hester on punt returns that day, if you’re curious?

One return for three yards.

Smith, who punted four times that game for a total of 162 yards with a long of 50 yards, is largely responsible for the Colts containment of Hester in the punt game.

Head Coach


Head Coach: Hank Stram

Long before his AFL and NFL success with the Chiefs, who he ultimately led to a Super Bowl IV win (over the Vikings), Stram was an assistant for Terry Brennan at Notre Dame from 1957-58.

Story originally appeared on Fighting Irish Wire