1997 Michigan Wolverines – Still Ballin’

With Brian Griese poised to start for the Chicago Bears, I thought I’d take a look at the old 1997 Michigan Wolverines. In 1997, the Wolverines were undefeated and led by Charles Woodson. Woodson, an Ohio native, won the Heisman, the Nagurski and the Thorpe awards. He played both ways and led the team to victories over Ohio State and Washington State in the Rose Bowl. Michigan won a lot of close games that year and did not have as many style points as the Nebraska Cornhuskers, but the did defeat everyone on their schedule. It was a long time ago, but there are more players than you might expect who are still in the NFL and who are still productive. Here’s the list (not in any particular order).

  1. Steve Hutchinson, Guard, Minnesota Vikings
  2. Charles Woodson, Cornerback, Green Bay Packers
  3. Ian Gold, Linebacker, Denver Broncos
  4. Tom Brady, Quarterback, New England Patriots
  5. Jay Feely, Kicker, Miami Dolphins
  6. Maurice Williams, Tackle, Jacksonville Jaguars
  7. Dhani Jones, Linebacker, Cincinnati Bengals
  8. James Hall, Defensive End, St. Louis Rams
  9. Jon Jansen, Tackle, Washington Redskins
  10. Anthony Thomas, Running Back, Buffalo Bills
  11. Jeff Backus, Tackle, Detroit Lions
  12. Jerame Tuman, Tight End, Pittsburgh Steelers
  13. Mark Campbell, Tight End, New Orleans Saints
  14. Brian Griese, Quarterback, Chicago Bears

Until recently, this list also included Aaron Shea, longtime fullback for the Cleveland Browns, William Peterson (cornerback) and Josh Williams (defensive tackle). That is a surprising number of players. Admittedly not all of these players began their NFL careers in 1998, but of the 39 Michigan players on NFL rosters, nearly half played on this team. It was a tremendous accomplishment to win a national championship. Perhaps it is even more impressive that so many of those players have managed to survive the rigors of the NFL for so long.



  1. Loved that team bruh. Woodson was a beast. His returns against Penn State and OSU and his ridiculous interception against MSU are moments I won’t soon forget.

    Another great moment was Bob Griese getting the rare opportunity to to be in the booth as his son led the Wolverines to a Rose Bowl victory to secure a share of the National Championship. Had to make a Pop proud even though I’m sure it was just as nerve racking.

    As a Pop grooming a quarterback and aspiring to eventually work my way into a similar position that moment allowed me to dream

  2. Can’t forget about the Gold and Jones and most definitely Anthony Thomas. My kids and ex wife used to get sick of me screaming “Give it to da A-Train!”

  3. Yep, yep.

    Honestly, I probably could have written about that 1997 Nebraska team as well. They had Mike Brown, Ahman Green, Grant Wistrom, Kyle VandenBosch, Dan Alexander (FB), Kris Brown (K), Jay Foreman, Russ Hochstein, and Eric Warfield. Not as accomplished a list – but still, some serious longevity.

  4. Man that was the team. Da A- Train charles woodson heisman trophy winner with the best game against the bucks brian griese ian gold wow every year we get great players

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