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Super Bowl one game away for former Nittany Lions

The San Francisco 49ers will host the New York Giants in the NFC Championship weekend, which will guarantee that the odds for the 2012 Super Bowl will get much better for some former Penn State Nittany Lions. Both NFC contenders are represented by Penn State, with linebacker Navorro Bowman helping to lead San Francisco’s solid defense and Giants right tackle Kareem McKenzie looking to provide protection for Eli Manning and pave the way for the bruising running game. Giants defensive tackle Jimmy Kennedy did not play last weekend as a coach’s decision.

Bowman had 11 tackles last weekend in San Francisco’s thrilling victory against Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints. Bowman has certainly gained respect on a national level this season, earning all-pro honors from the Associated Press. And to think, he was not voted to the Pro Bowl or named a first-alternate. It may not matter because if San Francisco wins this weekend Bowman would not play in the game anyway. There may be times on Sunday when Bowman will have to get by McKenzie, which should tug at the heart strings of some Penn State faithful.

Over in the AFC, former offensive lineman Rich Ohrnberger did not play for the New England Patriots, who cruised by Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos to advance to the AFC title game this weekend against Baltimore. Ohrnberger has been on injured reserve since before the start of the 2011 season with a head injury.

At least one Penn State football player has been a part of 40 of the past 45 Super Bowl championship teams, with 33 players combining for 49 Super Bowl rings. Tight end Andrew Quarless was on last season’s Green Bay Packers, who defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers. This year the best bet for Penn State’s Super Bowl history to continue seems to be with the NFC, against perhaps Bill O’Brien and the Patriots (?).

Be sure to visit our friends as PSU in the NFL for more updates on former Nittany Lions in the pro ranks. For continuing coverage of the NFL playoffs be sure to check out Bloguin’s official NFL blog, This Given Sunday. You can also check out Ravens Football Machine and Foxboro Blog for AFC Championship Game coverage, and UltimateNYG for NFC Championship game coverage.

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