DETROIT (Michigan News Source) – Just because the Detroit Lions fumbled their chance at a Super Bowl appearance doesn’t mean Michiganders should be stuck in a fourth-quarter Hail Mary of despair.
Sure, the Detroit Lions might be missing from the Allegiant Stadium in Paradise, Nevada (Las Vegas) on Sunday, but don’t hang up those party cleats just yet. There’s a feast of pizza, chicken wings, and nachos awaiting – a celebration worthy of a touchdown dance.
And despite the Lions’ fumble, Michigan football fans can still get their gridiron fix in Vegas, where some homegrown heroes are there to play (or at least will be suited up) and ready to tackle the field. The San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs are marching in with a lineup that has more Michigan connections than a tight spiral pass.
San Francisco 49ers Michigan ties.
In the San Francisco 49ers’ playbook of Michigan ties, you’ve got Ronnie Bell, the rookie wide receiver whose journey from his hometown of Kansas City to the University of Michigan landed him a spot in the 2023 NFL Draft.
Jaylon Moore, from Detroit, played football for Western Michigan University. He’s an offensive lineman with a finance degree and will be in Vegas to tackle opponents and balance the football budget in the 49ers favor. Jalen Graham, a linebacker with Detroit roots, will also be showing the Motown toughness on the field.
Ambry Thomas, a cornerback hailing from Detroit, led his high school team to back-to-back championships before making waves with the Michigan Wolverines. Samuel Womack III, another cornerback from the Motor City, made his mark at the University of Toledo before the 49ers drafted him.
Jake Moody, the kicker, is from Commerce Township and booted his way through Michigan Wolverines’ games before being drafted by the 49ers. Taybor Pepper, a long snapper with a journey as twisty as a trick play, started in Illinois, then played for Michigan State before landing with the 49ers in 2020. And Robert Beal Jr., a defensive lineman born in Detroit proves that sometimes, being a hometown hero is enough to get Michiganders to cheer for him.
Kansas Chiefs Michigan ties
Now, onto the Kansas City Chiefs’ roster – they’re not just chasing dreams, they’re sprinting with Michigan in their playbook. Mike Caliendo, an offensive lineman from Wisconsin went to Western Michigan where he played college football from 2016 until 2021.
Mike Danna, a defensive end straight out of Detroit, played for both Central Michigan and the University of Michigan before the Chiefs drafted him. Nic Jones, the cornerback with Metro Detroit roots, defended the honor of Ball State University in Indiana before the Chiefs scooped him up in the 2023 draft.
The Taylor Swift Michigan connection.
And in the star-studded lineup on Sunday’s Super Bowl, we’ve got Taylor Swift’s boyfriend, Travis Kelce, playing tight end for the Chiefs. Swift, a musical maestro, has more Michigan connections than a quarterback has passes.
From her Ford Field performances last year during her Eras Tour to singing the National Anthem there in 2006, to serenading Kalamazoo at Western Michigan’s University’s Miller Auditorium at the age of 18 in 2008, she’s practically a hometown hero for Michiganders.
So, as the Super Bowl approaches, the Lions’ stumble doesn’t need to keep Michiganders sidelined. Whether folks are cheering for the 49ers or the Chiefs, it’s time to shake off the disappointment and dive into the game-day festivities. After all, in Michigan, they know how to turn setbacks into comebacks – just like a well-executed two-minute drill.