Leonhard 1 Game From Super Bowl, Again

Former Badger Used To Playing In Big Games
Updated: 10:49 am CST January 19, 2010

MADISON, Wis. -- The season is over for the Wisconsin Badgers football team, but there is still one Badger you can continue to cheer on this season. On Sunday, New York Jets safety Jim Leonhard will play in his second consecutive AFC Championship game.

Last year, Leonhard and his old team, the Baltimore Ravens, lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Steelers then went on to beat Arizona in the Super Bowl.

This season, Leonhard followed coach Rex Ryan to the Big Apple and he once again is part of a top-tier defense that is one game away from the Super Bowl.

The Jets this season (9-7) squeaked their way into the post season and many thought it would be a short visit in the playoffs, but just like Leonhard, who is listed as 5 feet 8 inches and 186 pounds, the Jets have defied all odds.

"The biggest thing was we never lost confidence in ourselves," Leonhard said. "Coaches, players, (the) organization as a whole, we felt like we had the team that could do this. There weren't a lot of people outside the building at times that was really supporting us. We never lost confidence in ourselves and that's allowed us to be where we are right now."

Leonhard and the Jets have their work cut out for them. Their No. 1-ranked defense will go up against MVP Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday.

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