Feb. 3, 2011
IOWA CITY, Iowa – – The NFC Champion Green Bay Packers and AFC Champion Pittsburgh Steelers will battle Sunday in Super Bowl XLV. Former Hawkeye Bryan Bulaga, who starts at right tackle for the Packers, will play a major role in Sunday’s championship. His role could be as the youngest player ever to start in Super Bowl history.
On Sunday, Feb. 6, Bulaga will be 21 years and 322 days old. He would become the youngest player to ever start in a Super Bowl, according to Stats, Inc.
The five youngest to ever start in a Super Bowl were all at least 22 years of age: (Ricky Nattiel – Denver, 22 years and six days in 1988), (Burton Lawless – Dallas, 22 years and 78 days in 1976), (Richard Seymour – New England, 22 years and 120 days in 2002), (Charlie Waters – Dallas, 22 years and 129 days in 1971) and (Gene Upshaw – Oakland, 22 years and 152 days in 1968).
The Packers made Bulaga their first overall selection with the 23rd pick in the 2010 NFL Draft.
But there is a catch. If Steelers’ rookie center Maurkice Pouncey (Florida) starts, then he would be the youngest ever to start in a Super Bowl (21 years, 197 days). Pouncey’s status is unknown for Sunday as he is dealing with an injury.
Bulaga, who started as an 18-year-old true freshman on Iowa’s offensive line, left early for the NFL after just three years in a Hawkeye uniform. The Packers made the Iowa junior their first overall selection with the 23rd pick in the 2010 NFL Draft.
Regardless of whether or not Bulaga becomes the youngest ever to start in a Super Bowl, he has already achieved a great deal in his young football career, earning All-American honors as a junior at Iowa while helping the Hawkeyes post an 11-2 overall record in 2009, including a 24-14 win in the 2010 FedEx Orange Bowl in his final game in Black and Gold.
Bulaga, who became the sixth Iowa player to be named Big Ten Offensive Lineman of the Year as a junior, played in all 19 games for Green Bay this season, starting 12 games during the regular season and all three playoff contests. Sunday will be the 20th game of his young NFL career. For the former Hawkeye, it will come on the biggest stage.