ST. LOUIS – For some football fans, the next best thing to their city’s team winning the Super Bowl title is someone from their hometown winning the Super Bowl.
Regardless who wins Super Bowl LVII between the Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles, at least one St. Louis-area product will end up with a ring. Both teams roster at least one player from the St. Louis region.
The Chiefs edge the Eagles in players rostered from the St. Louis area, 3-1. Though it’s unclear how many of that unique bunch will dress or play in the big game due to various degrees of experiences, roles and health among the four.
One lock for Super Bowl action is Chiefs defensive tackle Khalen Saunders. Born in St. Louis City, Saunders is a graduate of Parkway Central High School and Western Illinois University. Saunders earned a Super Bowl championship in his rookie season and heads back to the big stage for the third time in four years.
This season, Saunders broke his personal bests for total tackles (48) and solo tackles (22). He also came up with some big stops in the AFC Championship against the Cincinnati Bengals.
“I’m lucky enough to have a team that this is a real reality and a goal every year,” Saunders told Nexstar affiliate FOX 4’s Harold Kuntz. “Even though you reach it, still don’t want to take it for granted.”
At least one other Chiefs defender with St. Louis ties has a chance to see meaningful minutes. Brandon Williams, after five seasons with the Baltimore Ravens, joined the Chiefs active roster in December. Williams, raised in Kirkwood, played high school football for Rockwood Summit and college for Missouri Southern.
Williams was active for the last two Chiefs playoff games, though his opportunities were a bit limited. ESPN’s Field Yates reports that by being active and with a Chiefs win, Williams can earn a $50,000 bonus.
Kansas City’s other St. Louis-raised product, Tershawn Wharton, will not play after he unfortunately tore his ACL in Week 5 of the regular season. Wharton grew up in University City and also played for U-City’s high school team. He spent four years at Missouri S&T and took on a growing role with the Chiefs on defense prior to his injury.
For the Eagles, it’s highly unlikely their St. Louis-area player will dress for the game. Roderick Johnson joined the Eagles practice squad in December, and had actually been part of Kansas City’s practice squad as recently as last season. Johnson, a native of Florissant, is an offensive tackle. He played high school at Hazelwood Central and college at Florida State.
According to several reports, including SportRacket.com, Johnson would still receive a Super Bowl ring if the Eagles win for his contributions to the practice squad, but perhaps one of a different style from active Eagles players and coaches.
Slightly beyond the St. Louis region, Kansas City also has more players from Missouri schools (led by Mizzou Made linebacker Nick Bolton) and the closest player from just outside the St. Louis area in Matt Bushman of Carbondale.
Super Bowl LVII will kick off at 5:30 p.m. on FOX 2 on Sunday, Feb. 12. The Chiefs are battling for their second Super Bowl title in four years, while the Eagles are battling for their second Super Bowl title in six years.