Need a team to support in the Super Bowl? These Chiefs, Eagles players have WA connections
Super Bowl LVII is less than a week away, pitching the Kansas City Chiefs up against the Philadelphia Eagles in Glendale, Arizona. Both franchises are looking to win their second Lombardi Trophy since 2018.
After an exciting start to the season with Geno Smith under center for the Seattle Seahawks, a wildcard round loss to divisional rivals San Francisco 49ers put a cap on another disappointing season for the Seahawks.
But even though the Seahawks aren’t playing in the big game, the Super Bowl is the most-watched sporting event in the United States, drawing in over 95 million viewers annually. This year’s Super Bowl, on Sunday, will surely be no different.
If you’re still looking for a team to root for, both teams have connections to the Evergreen State, either having been born here, attended college in Washington, or played for the Seahawks.
Kansas City Chiefs
Trent McDuffie - Attended the University of Washington
Rookie cornerback Trent McDuffie was drafted 21st overall by the Chiefs in the 2022 NFL Draft and has been an integral part of the Chiefs’ run to a third Super Bowl appearance in four years. He recorded 44 total tackles in 11 regular season games and has so far recorded a further 10 tackles in two games in the playoffs.
McDuffie spent three years at Washington, playing in 28 games and recording 94 tackles. During his junior season in 2021, McDuffie started 11 of 12 games en route to being named the Huskies’ Most Outstanding Defensive Player and earning a spot on the All-Pac-12 first team.
Danny Shelton - Born in Auburn, attended Auburn High School and the University of Washington
Danny Shelton was signed by the Chiefs ahead of the 2022 season — he was released in late August and re-signed a day later to the Chiefs’ practice squad. Shelton was selected 12th overall by the Cleveland Browns in the 2015 NFL Draft and enjoyed a couple of good years in the league, peaking with a Super Bowl ring in 2018 with the New England Patriots.
The defensive lineman has struggled for game time since 2019, but Husky fans will remember him as a three-year starter and a First-Team All-American during his senior season in 2014. He arrived at the University of Washington as a four-star recruit from Auburn High School in King County.
Jaylen Watson - Attended Washington State
Jaylen Watson spent just two years at Washington State, but it was enough to convince the Chiefs to draft him in the 7th round of the 2022 NFL Draft. Despite being selected so late in the draft, Watson has provided Chiefs fans with some memorable moments in 2022, such as a crucial 99-yard pick-six in September against the Los Angeles Chargers.
JAYLEN WATSON 99-YARD PICK-SIX pic.twitter.com/XJa71f4MrK
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) September 16, 2022
The rookie defensive back has played in every game for the Chiefs this year, recording 57 total tackles and three interceptions, two of which have come in the playoffs.
Watson transferred to Washington State in 2020 after a year away from the game. In his two seasons with the Cougars, he made 15 appearances and earned honorable mention All-Pac 12 selections both years.
Frank Clark and Carlos Dunlap - Former Seattle Seahawks
Seahawks fans will remember defensive end Frank Clark from his four seasons with the Seahawks after the team drafted him 63rd overall in the 2015 NFL Draft.
He was drafted off the back of the Seahawks’ Super Bowl XLVIII win in 2014 but was never able to help Seattle back to the promised land; but he did help Kansas City, joining the Midwest team in April 2019 and helping them win Super Bowl LIV less than a year later.
Carlos Dunlap has spent most of his career with the Cincinnati Bengals, but did play for the Seahawks in 2020 and 2021. The 33-year-old defensive end played all 17 regular season games for Seattle in 2021 but was cut at the end of the season — he joined Kansas City in 2022 and has been a solid contributor to the team.
Gardner Minshew - Attended Washington State
More casual Gardner Minshew fans around the National Football League may know him best for his iconic mustache, but Washington State fans recognize him from his sole season as quarterback with the Cougars in 2018. Gardner led the Cougars to an 11-2 record and finished the season ranked 10th in the nation, beating Iowa State in the 2018 Alamo Bowl.
During his season with Washington State, Minshew finished with 468 completed passes, 38 touchdowns, nine interceptions, and 4,776 passing yards — he broke Connor Halliday’s single-season passing record at Washington State as well as Jared Goff’s single-season Pac-12 record. His efforts were rewarded with a fifth place finish in 2018 Heisman Trophy voting.
The Jacksonville Jaguars selected Minshew in the sixth round of the 2019 NFL Draft, the team where he made his NFL debut. He was traded to Philadelphia before the 2021 season and has made nine appearances for the Eagles as the backup to Jalen Hurts.
Andre Dillard - Born in Woodinville, attended Woodinville High School and Washington State
Andre Dillard grew up in Seattle and committed to playing for Washington State in 2014. He became a starter at left tackle in his final two seasons, working directly to protect Minshew in their last season at Washington State in 2018.
Dillard was drafted 22nd overall by the Eagles in the 2019 NFL Draft. Despite a promising rookie season, a string of injuries have limited Dillard to a limited role for the Eagles; in the 2022 season, he’s played just 58 snaps.