One game. That’s what it all comes down to.
The Super Bowl is something every player dreams of playing in. And when that dream finally comes true, it is a special moment. But this Super Bowl will be extra special for two individual players. These players will not only have the opportunity to play in the biggest game of the year, but they will get to play it in the stadium where they played their college ball.
Both Super Bowl teams have a former USF Bull on their roster. A Super Bowl 55 championship ring will be given to a former member of the green and gold. Let's look at which player that could end up being.
.@USFFootball has two of their own in the #SuperBowl! @MustangFootball and @Chiefs center Austin Reiter and @Buccaneers OLB Jason Pierre-Paul (@UDWJPP).— CHRIS TORELLO (@TorelloSports) February 5, 2021
Story TONIGHT during @SpecSports360 at 10:30. @BN9 l @MyNews13 l #SBLV l #BN9SBLV l #USF l #GoBucs l #RunItBack l #Bucs pic.twitter.com/KXBlwULStv
#NFLBulls pic.twitter.com/h2plhkcPjl— USF Football (@USFFootball) February 2, 2021
Jason Pierre-Paul- Tampa Bay Buccaneers OLB
Not only will JPP be playing in his college team’s stadium, but he will also be playing in the stadium where he played his home games the past few seasons as the Bucs will be the first team to a play a Super Bowl in their home stadium.
JPP is not messing around today pic.twitter.com/wc3YPOujIt— Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@Buccaneers) January 24, 2021
JPP played a pivotal role in helping the Bucs punch their ticket to the big game. In the NFC Championship against the Green Bay Packers, the Bucs lost both of their starting safeties and their backups were struggling to cover Packer receivers. However, JPP and the rest of the defensive line prevented quarterback Aaron Rodgers from using this to his advantage. They continued to put pressure on Rodgers, which prevented him from making many big plays. In total, the Bucs defense recorded five sacks, two of which were JPP’s. He also recorded a third solo tackle and two assisted tackles.
In the Super Bowl, JPP and the Bucs will have to face the most lethal offense in the NFL. The Kansas City Chiefs have some of the fastest wide receivers, one of the greatest tight ends of all time, and a quarterback who has established himself as the new face of the league and is gunning for his second straight ring.
It goes without saying that JPP is going to need to do what he did in the NFC championship game. Patrick Mahomes has very few weaknesses and has shown that he can create big plays even when it looks like he is going to be sacked. Fortunately for the Bucs defensive line, there’s an opportunity to make him uncomfortable with starting left tackle out with an achilles injury. If the Bucs are to hold up the Lombardi trophy, then JPP, Shaq Barrett and the rest of the defensive line will need to find their way into the backfield more often than not.
Austin Reiter- Kansas City Chiefs, C
Chiefs OL Austin Reiter has been doing work in the trenches this season— The Checkdown (@thecheckdown) February 5, 2021
(h/t @PFF) pic.twitter.com/rCIGQtrWDh
By only allowing one sack, Reiter and the rest of offensive line helped the Chiefs defeat the Buffalo Bills 38-24 to clinch their second consecutive AFC Championship.
Reiter has done a great job of protecting Mahomes all playoffs but now will face on of his biggest challenges.
The Bucs defense has several talented pass rushers who have put pressure on every single quarterback they have faced in the playoffs, forcing those quarterbacks to make mistakes. Similar to the Packers, the Chiefs have had to shuffle around pieces of their line due to injury, so they’ll have their work cut out for them when going face-to-face with JPP, Vita Vea and others.
The Bucs and Chiefs will battle for the Lombardi Trophy today at 6:30 p.m. ET on CBS.