BOSTON (CBS) — It’s Super Bowl week, which feels a tad bit empty in the Northeast region of the country. For the first time in four years, the New England Patriots will not be taking part in the world’s biggest athletic competition.
But that doesn’t mean that Super Bowl LIV in Miami won’t feature a smattering of New England connections. Both the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers are littered with gentlemen who used to wear Patriots uniforms, not to mention a few who got their football chops in New England. While the rest of the football world would love to forget about New England for a year, that won’t be the case when the Chiefs and 49ers kick off Sunday night.
Here’s a quick look at all the players — and a few coaches — who will carry some New England connections with them when they take the stage in Super Bowl LIV.
Jimmy Garoppolo, San Francisco Quarterback
You may have heard this before, but the dashing fellow throwing passes (occasionally throwing passes, that is) for the 49ers was once on the New England Patriots. Bill Belichick drafted Garoppolo in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft, and likely envisioned him as the eventual successor of one Tom Brady. Garoppolo spent three-plus years backing up Brady in New England, which lit a fire under No. 12. But with Brady worried about his future with Garoppolo behind him on the depth chart, the backup was shipped to San Fran at the 2017 trade deadline for just a second-round pick. That pick has since been dealt so many times that no one can really pinpoint exactly what Belichick got for their backup QB, but the Garoppolo trade will forever be a part of Patriots history.
Some will argue that Belichick didn’t get enough for a potential face of the franchise, especially now that Garoppolo is getting ready for a Super Bowl of his own and the Brady era in New England potentially coming to an end. Others will point to the two trips to the Super Bowls — and one victory — that the Patriots made since the Garoppolo trade. It’s one of those sports arguments that will live forever.
Garoppolo owns a 19-5 record with the 49ers, throwing 39 touchdowns and 21 interceptions in those games. He threw 27 of those touchdowns during the 2019 regular season, finishing the year with 3,978 passing yards, but has taken a bit of a backseat on offense this postseason. Garoppolo has attempted just 27 passes in San Francisco’s two playoff games — including a 6-for-8 effort in the NFC title game — for 208 yards, a touchdown and an interception.
Robbie Gould, San Francisco Kicker
The long-time kicker got his start in New England, when Bill Belichick brought him in as an undrafted rookie out of Penn State in 2005 to compete with Adam Vinatieri during camp. Vinatieri won the battle and Gould was cut ahead of the season.
Gould is now in his 15th NFL season, spending the last three seasons in San Francisco after an 11-year stint with the Chicago Bears and one year as the kicker of the New York Giants.
Kyle Juszczyk, San Francisco Fullback
Before he became one of the best fullbacks in the NFL, Juszczyk was a versatile weapon for the Harvard Crimson. He played tight end for Harvard from 2009-2012 and was a unanimous first-team All-Ivy League selection after his senior season, when he led the team with 52 reception for 706 yards and eight touchdowns. He left Cambridge as Harvard’s all-time leader in receptions, receiving yards and touchdowns.
He was drafted in the fourth round of the 2013 NFL Draft by the Baltimore Ravens, and has gone on to earn four Pro Bowl selections during his career.
Wes Welker, San Francisco WR Coach
Maybe the fourth time is the charm for Wes Welker in his quest for a Super Bowl ring. He lost his three trips to the Super Bowl as a player — two with New England, one with the Denver Broncos — but now he gets another opportunity as the 49ers wide receiver coach.
Jordan Matthews, San Francisco Wide Receiver
Matthews had a brief stint with the Patriots during the summer of 2018, when they brought in just about anyone who had ever caught a football. He did not make the team.
Matthews bounced on and off the San Francisco roster in 2019, part of the team’s final roster cuts in August before rejoining them in early October. He was cut again on Oct. 26 and signed with the Philadelphia Eagles a few weeks later, but that only lasted three weeks. Matthews was back with the 49ers on Dec. 11, but has yet to record a catch with the team.
Ray Smith, San Francisco Defensive Tackle
In his first season after going undrafted out of Boston College, Smith is on the 49ers practice squad. He was initially signed by the Detroit Lions out of college, so things have worked out pretty well for Smith.
Andrew Lauderdale, San Francisco Offensive Lineman
The first-year lineman played his college ball at UNH. He is currently on injured reserve for the 49ers.
Brendan Daly, Kansas City Defensive Line Coach
Daly spent five seasons as an assistant under Belichick in New England before leaving for the Chiefs last offseason. He now serves as KC’s defensive line coach and run game coordinator, and is preparing for his fourth straight Super Bowl.
Mike Pennel, Kansas City Defensive Tackle
Pennel was a pretty big signing by the Patriots last offseason, but he didn’t make it out of camp. The 28-year-old signed with the Chiefs in October and had four tackles in Kansas City’s AFC Championship Game victory over the Tennessee Titans.
Anthony Sherman, Kansas City Fullback
Sherman is a North Attleborough native who played his college ball at UConn. He was drafted in the fifth round by the Arizona Cardinals in 2011, but has spent his last seven seasons in Kansas City, where he’s been a key player on the Chiefs special teams unit.
Mike Borgonzi, Kansas City Director Of Football Ops.
The man in charge of Chiefs football grew up in Everett and was an All-Ivy League fullback at Brown University.