The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA


February 3, 2014

MIKE MASTOVICH| Region has impacted Super Bowl in numerous ways

Super Bowl Sunday. The sporting event of the year. An unofficial holiday throughout the country.

The game and its participants have been trending on social media for weeks.

It might be difficult to imagine that Johnstown and the Cambria/Somerset region have actually played a significant role in Super Bowl history.

Four players with area ties have participated in nine Super Bowl games, with the local guys earning championship rings each time.

The Hammer and Hoss are two Super Bowl standouts local sports fans recall fairly quickly.

Jack Ham was part of four Pittsburgh Steelers’ Super Bowl-winning teams during the Steel Curtain dynasty of the 1970s.

Ham played in three of the games and missed one due to an injury.

Jeff Hostetler backed up Phil Simms as the New York Giants won their first Super Bowl in 1987 (1986 season), and four years later, with Simms injured, Hoss was part of one of the most memorable Super Bowls when the Giants edged the Buffalo Bills in 1991.

Perhaps less well-known is the fact that our region was represented in each of the first three Super Bowl championships.

Green Bay Packers standout Ron Kostelnik was part of the Pack’s Bart Starr-led championship squads in Super Bowls I and II.

Greater Johnstown High graduate Jeff Richardson was a member of the New York Jets team that backed up brash quarterback Broadway Joe Namath’s guaranteed victory over the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III.

n Ron Kostelnik: The Colver native is in the Packers Hall of Fame after being part of five championship teams (Kostelnik and Green Bay won the NFL title in 1961, 1962 and 1965 prior to the Super Bowl era).

A defensive tackle, Kostelnik was part of a Packers unit that throttled the Kansas City Chiefs 35-10 in what eventually became known as Super Bowl I on Jan. 15, 1967, at Los Angeles’ Memorial Coliseum.

Kostelnik and the Pack were back in Super Bowl II, a 33-14 victory over the Oakland Raiders.

In another local twist, Johnstown native Ray Scott was the play-by-play television commentator on CBS’ broadcast. Pat Summerall and Jack Kemp also were in the booth for the Jan. 14, 1968, game in Miami’s Orange Bowl.

Scott eventually called four Super Bowls for CBS.

n Jeff Richardson: A star at Johnstown High and Michigan State, Richardson was part of Super Bowl III, which actually is known as the first title contest to officially take on the “Super Bowl” tag.

Behind Namath, the Jets beat the Johnny Unitas-led Baltimore Colts 16-7 on Jan. 12, 1969, at the Orange Bowl.

Richardson was an offensive tackle for the Jets.

n Jack Ham: Johnstown’s Ham, a Bishop McCort High School and Penn State graduate, played in three Super Bowls and was part of all four Steelers championship teams of the 1970s.

Known as one of the NFL’s greatest outside linebackers and a Pro Football Hall of Famer, Ham played in Super Bowls IX, X and XIII. An ankle injury kept him out of Super Bowl XIV.

The Steelers won their first Super Bowl with a 16-6 victory over the Minnesota Vikings on Jan. 12, 1975, at Tulane Stadium in New Orleans.

A year later, the Steelers edged the Dallas Cowboys 21-17 on Jan. 18, 1976, at the Orange Bowl. Ham also was part of Pittsburgh’s wild 35-31 win over Dallas in XIII on Jan. 21, 1979, at the Orange Bowl.

The Steelers dynasty was complete after a 31-19 victory over the Los Angeles Rams on Jan. 20, 1980, at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena.

n Jeff Hostetler: Conemaugh Township High School graduate and WVU star Hostetler paid his dues behind Simms throughout the early part of his career. Simms and coach Bill Parcells led the Giants to a 39-20 win over the Denver Broncos on Jan. 25, 1987, in Super Bowl XXI at the Rose Bowl.

Hoss stepped into his own after Simms broke his foot late in the 1990 season. Hostetler helped the Giants win their final two regular season games and swept through the postseason, which culminated in a 20-19 victory over the Buffalo Bills in Super Bowl XXV, a game remembered for Scott Norwood’s missed field goal. Hostetler completed 20 of 32 passes for 222 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions in the Super Bowl.

His performance led to an appearance on “The Tonight Show” with legendary host Johnny Carson.

While he wasn’t a player, current Philadelphia Eagles head athletic trainer Chris Peduzzi of Johnstown was part of the Eagles’ Super Bowl runner-up team in Super Bowl XXXIX. The New England Patriots beat Philly 24-21 on Feb. 6, 2005, at ALLTEL Stadium in Jacksonville, Fla.

The Super Bowl truly has gone global since January 1967. But its history has included more than a few local ties.

By the way, Kostelnik, Richardson, Ham, Hostetler and Scott are all in the Cambria County Sports Hall of Fame.


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