Thousands of spectators flash their cameras at kickoff to illuminate Hard Rock Stadium, while thousands of others across the world watch with a homemade buffet to celebrate the most important football game of the year.
Super Bowl LIV is upon us, and history is on the line. The Kansas City Chiefs broke a 50-year Super Bowl drought after quarterback Patrick Mahomes led the team to overcome two double-digit deficits in the playoffs en route to a conference championship. Now, the Chiefs have the opportunity to claim their second Super Bowl — their first-ever title in the lifetime of the majority of the fanbase.
The San Francisco 49ers drafted second overall last April after a 4-12 finish. But the foundation of a solid defense, a star tight end, and a deep running back group guided the 49ers to the best record in the NFC, and they waltzed to the Super Bowl with comfortable wins over the Vikings and Packers. With a win, San Francisco ties the Patriots and Steelers for an NFL-record sixth Super Bowl.
The possible outcomes heading into the showdown in Miami are infinite, but one thing is certain. There will be MACtion present at the 54th edition of the Super Bowl.
Eric Fisher, OT, Kansas City Chiefs — Central Michigan (2009-12)
Fisher entered the NFL as the No. 1 overall pick in the 2013 draft, and he’s remained the anchor of the Chiefs line ever since. The left tackle attained First Team All-American honors as a Chippewa in 2012 and Pro Bowl honors as a Chief in 2018. With a victory on Sunday, Fisher can become the first No. 1 overall pick to win a Super Bowl with the team that drafted him since Peyton Manning won Super Bowl XLI with the Colts.
Joe Staley, OT, San Francisco 49ers — Central Michigan (2004-07)
Fisher isn’t the only former Central Michigan first round pick to start at left tackle in Super Bowl LIV. Longtime veteran and 6-time Pro Bowler Joe Staley is in his 13th season in San Francisco, aiming to win his first Super Bowl with his beloved Niners. Staley has come a long way since playing tight end as a freshman in the MAC, but he’ll be assigned with blocking for the 49ers loaded rushing attack as the entire nation watches Sunday evening.
Jimmie Ward, FS, San Francisco 49ers — Northern Illinois (2010-13)
Ward took his alma mater, Northern Illinois, to new heights in 2012 when he led the Huskies to a historic Orange Bowl appearance. The 2013 All-American-turned-first round pick registered a carer-high 60 tackles this season on the second-ranked yards per game defense in the NFL. He’s started 44 games in six seasons as a Niner, but none will compare to the start he’s primed to make at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami — the same venue as the Orange Bowl from his NIU days.
Andrew Wylie, OG, Kansas City Chiefs — Eastern Michigan (2013-16)
Wylie was the Chiefs starting left guard until an ankle injury kept him sidelined for the final two games of the regular season. The former Eastern Michigan standout hasn’t made an appearance in either Chiefs playoff game and Stefen Wisniewski will start at left guard, but Wylie is healthy and ready to go for the Super Bowl. Three teams signed Wylie to practice squads before he earned a full-time roster spot in Kansas City two seasons ago, and now that journey can culminate in a Super Bowl ring.
Ryan Hunter, OG, Kansas City Chiefs — Bowling Green (2014-17)
Hunter started his college career shifting between fullback and the offensive line at Bowling Green. After obtaining the starting left guard position in 2015, he blocked for a MAC champion Falcons squad. Hunter took 30 snaps with the Chiefs in 2019, including 14 on the offensive side in an October 6 game against the Colts.
Demone Harris, OLB, Kansas City Chiefs — Buffalo (2015-17)
Harris’ NFL career was limited to a handful of special teams snaps with the Buccaneers before the Chiefs promoted him to the active roster this December. Harris registered four combined tackles in his first two games and sees playing time as a reserve defensive end/outside linebacker hybrid. He appeared in 50 plays in the Chiefs’ wins over the Texans and Titans this postseason.
A Chiefs win results in a Super Bowl ring for a trio of former MAC offensive linemen — Eric Fisher, Andrew Wylie, and Ryan Hunter, along with former Buffalo outside linebacker Demone Harris. Two 49ers starters — Joe Staley and Jimmie Ward — win the Lombardi Trophy if San Francisco prevails.
The Super Bowl kicks off in Miami at 6:30 p.m. ET and is watchable on FOX. History will be made.