Former Ohio State Stars Nick Bosa, Darron Lee Set for First Super Bowl Appearances As San Francisco 49ers Face Kansas City Chiefs

By Dan Hope on February 2, 2020 at 7:15 am
Nick Bosa and Darron Lee
Kyle Terada and Charles LeClaire – USA TODAY Sports

Either Nick Bosa or Darron Lee will become the 32nd different former Ohio State player to win a Super Bowl on Sunday.

Buckeyes in the Super Bowl
Player Years (Teams)
JIM TYRER 1967, 1970 (Kansas City Chiefs)
BOB VOGEL 1969, 1971 (Baltimore Colts)
MATT SNELL 1969 (New York Jets)
TOM MATTE 1969 (Baltimore Colts)
JIM MARSHALL 1970, 1974, 1975, 1977 (Minnesota Vikings)
PAUL WARFIELD 1972, 1973, 1974 (Miami Dolphins)
JACK TATUM 1977 (Oakland Raiders)
LEONARD WILLIS 1977 (Minnesota Vikings)
MORRIS BRADSHAW 1977, 1981 (Oakland Raiders)
NEAL COLZIE 1977 (Oakland Raiders)
RANDY GRADISHAR 1978 (Denver Broncos)
BOB BRUDZINSKI 1980 (Los Angeles Rams), 1983, 1985 (Miami Dolphins)
DOUG FRANCE 1980 (Los Angeles Rams)
ARCHIE GRIFFIN 1982 (Cincinnati Bengals)
RAY GRIFFIN 1982 (Cincinnati Bengals)
PETE JOHNSON 1982 (Cincinnati Bengals), 1985 (Miami Dolphins)
TOM OROSZ 1983 (Miami Dolphins)
JOHN FRANK 1985, 1989 (San Francisco 49ers)
SHAUN GAYLE 1986 (Chicago Bears)
MIKE TOMCZAK 1986 (Chicago Bears), 1996 (Pittsburgh Steelers)
PEPPER JOHNSON 1987, 1991 (New York Giants)
WILLIAM ROBERTS 1987, 1991 (New York Giants), 1997 (New England Patriots)
JIM LACHEY 1992 (Washington Redskins)
JOE STAYSNIAK 1992 (Buffalo Bills)
KEITH BYARS 1997 (New England Patriots)
TERRY GLENN 1997 (New England Patriots)
TOM TUPA 1997 (New England Patriots), 2003 (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
TITO PAUL 1999 (Denver Broncos)
WILLIAM WHITE 1999 (Atlanta Falcons)
ORLANDO PACE 2000 (St. Louis Rams), 2002 (St. Louis Rams)
JOE GERMAINE 2000 (St. Louis Rams)
LORENZO STYLES 2000 (St. Louis Rams)
EDDIE GEORGE 2000 (Tennessee Titans)
CHRIS SANDERS 2000 (Tennessee Titans)
JOE MONTGOMERY 2001 (New York Giants)
MIKE VRABEL 2002, 2004, 2005, 2008 (New England Patriots)
RYAN PICKETT 2002 (St. Louis Rams), 2011 (Green Bay Packers)
RICKEY DUDLEY 2003 (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
RODNEY BAILEY 2006 (Seattle Seahawks)
TYLER EVERETT 2007 (Chicago Bears)
SANTONIO HOLMES 2009 (Pittsburgh Steelers)
MALCOLM JENKINS 2010 (New Orleans Saints), 2018 (Philadelphia Eagles)
WILL SMITH 2010 (New Orleans Saints)
A.J. HAWK 2011 (Green Bay Packers)
MATT WILHELM 2011 (Green Bay Packers)
WILL ALLEN 2011 (Pittsburgh Steelers)
JAKE BALLARD 2012 (New York Giants)
JIM CORDLE 2012 (New York Giants)
ALEX BOONE 2013 (San Francisco 49ers)
TED GINN 2013 (San Francisco 49ers), 2016 (Carolina Panthers)
LARRY GRANT 2013 (San Francisco 49ers)
DONTE WHITNER 2013 (San Francisco 49ers)
NATE EBNER 2015, 2017, 2019 (New England Patriots)
BRADLEY ROBY 2016 (Denver Broncos)
COREY "PHILLY" BROWN 2016 (Carolina Panthers)
KURT COLEMAN 2016 (Carolina Panthers)
ANDREW NORWELL 2016 (Carolina Panthers)
JAKE MCQUAIDE 2019 (Los Angeles Rams)
JOHN SIMON 2019 (New England Patriots)
NICK BOSA 2020 (San Francisco 49ers)
DARRON LEE 2020 (Kansas City Chiefs)
Winning players/years in bold

Bosa, who is in his first NFL season, and Lee, who is in his first season with the Kansas City Chiefs, are both playing in the biggest game in professional football for the first time. They are the 60th and 61st different Buckeyes to be on a 53-man roster for a Super Bowl team, and together, they will mark Ohio State’s 86th and 87th overall appearances in the big game.

Mike Weber – who, like Bosa, is in his first year out of Ohio State – will also be on the Kansas City Chiefs’ sideline on Sunday as a member of their practice squad.

Bosa, who was the No. 2 overall pick in the 2019 NFL draft, has played a significant role in the San Francisco 49ers getting to this point. Joining a defensive line that also includes three other first-round draft picks (Arik Armstead, DeForest Buckner and Solomon Thomas) and another explosive pass-rusher in Dee Ford, Bosa has immediately lived up to the hype in the NFL and become the star of one of the league’s best defenses.

After recording 47 total tackles with 16.5 tackles for loss, nine sacks, two pass deflections, two fumble recoveries, one interception and one forced fumble during the regular season, all the while helping lead the 49ers to a 13-3 record and the No. 1 seed in the NFC, Bosa won several NFL Rookie of the Year awards. His excellence has continued in his first NFL postseason, as he recorded six tackles with two sacks and a pass deflection in the 49ers’ divisional round win over the Minnesota Vikings and another four tackles and a sack in their NFC Championship Game win over the Green Bay Packers.

Bosa is the first former Buckeye to make the Super Bowl as an NFL rookie since Malcolm Jenkins won his first Super Bowl with the New Orleans Saints in 2010.

Bosa and his 49ers defense will face perhaps their toughest task of the entire season on Sunday – trying to slow down Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs’ explosive offense – but if they are victorious, he’d become the sixth rookie from Ohio State to win the Super Bowl and cap off one of the best NFL debut seasons ever for a former Buckeye.

Playing in the Super Bowl in his first NFL season is a dream come true for Bosa, and making matters extra special, the game is being played in Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida, just a short drive from his hometown of Fort Lauderdale and the same stadium where his father John once played as a member of the Miami Dolphins.

That said, Bosa has tried not to get too caught up in the pageantry of the week, knowing he has a big job in front of him on Sunday.

“You have to live in the moment, and really focus on what’s going on,” Bosa told reporters on Thursday. “But yeah, I’ve dreamt about stuff like this since I was a little kid, and now that I’m in my hometown playing in Dolphins Stadium, it’s pretty awesome.”

Buckeyes on Super Bowl Teams as Rookies
Name Year (Team)
LEONARD WILLIS 1977 (Minnesota Vikings)
JOHN FRANK 1985 (San Francisco 49ers)
MIKE TOMCZAK 1986 (Chicago Bears)
PEPPER JOHNSON 1987 (New York Giants)
TERRY GLENN 1997 (New England Patriots)
JOE GERMAINE 2000 (St. Louis Rams)
RYAN PICKETT 2002 (St. Louis Rams)
TYLER EVERETT 2007 (Chicago Bears)
MALCOLM JENKINS 2010 (New Orleans Saints)
NICK BOSA 2020 (San Francisco 49ers)

Lee, in comparison to Bosa, hasn’t played nearly as integral a role in the Chiefs’ Super Bowl run. Although he played in all 16 of Kansas City’s regular-season games, starting two games at linebacker and recording 31 total tackles, he has been inactive for both of the Chiefs’ first two postseason wins, meaning he might not actually play in Sunday night’s game. (Update: Lee is officially among the Chiefs' seven inactives for the Super Bowl, so he will not play on Sunday night.)

Regardless, Lee will get a Super Bowl ring if the Chiefs are victorious, giving him a chance to become the 11th former Ohio State player – and first since 2002 national champions A.J. Hawk and Matt Wilhelm won the Lombardi Trophy with the Green Bay Packers in 2011 – to win both a national championship with the Buckeyes and a Super Bowl in the NFL. Lee is the first member of Ohio State’s 2014 national championship team to make it to a Super Bowl.

Buckeyes Who Have Won National Championships and Super Bowls
Player National Championship Years Super Bowl Years (Teams)
JIM TYRER 1957 1970 (Kansas City Chiefs)
MATT SNELL 1961 1969 (New York Jets)
BOB VOGEL 1961 1970 (Baltimore Colts)
PAUL WARFIELD 1961 1973, 1974 (Miami Dolphins)
JACK TATUM 1968, 1970 1977 (Oakland Raiders)
MORRIS BRADSHAW 1970 1977, 1981 (Oakland Raiders)
SANTONIO HOLMES 2002 2009 (Pittsburgh Steelers)
WILL SMITH 2002 2010 (New Orleans Saints)
A.J. HAWK 2002 2011 (Green Bay Packers)
MATT WILHELM 2002 2011 (Green Bay Packers)

After starting his career with the New York Jets, Lee had never even been on an NFL playoff team before this season, so even though he hasn’t seen as much playing time this year, he’s enjoyed the opportunity to play for a winner.

“This time last year, and for the past three years, I’ve been at home on the couch actually getting ready to start training again,” Lee said this week, per Newsday’s Al Iannazzone. “To be here and have the opportunity to bring it home with an incredible group of guys is surreal.”

Weber could finish his first year as a professional football player with a Super Bowl ring, too, even though he has yet to actually play in a non-preseason NFL game (and won’t be eligible to play on Sunday). He spent the entire regular season on the practice squad of the Dallas Cowboys, who selected him in the seventh round of last year’s NFL draft, but joined the Chiefs’ practice squad after the Cowboys failed to make the playoffs.

As a member of the practice squad, Weber helped the Chiefs prepare for another former Ohio State running back – Carlos Hyde of the Houston Texans – in his first week on the job, then to play two of the NFL’s best rushing offenses, the Tennessee Titans in the AFC Championship Game and the 49ers on Sunday.

Bosa’s 49ers are looking to win their sixth Super Bowl – which would tie the New England Patriots and Pittsburgh Steelers for the most – while the Chiefs, who are in their first Super Bowl since they won the game 50 years ago, are looking for their second Lombardi Trophy win. 

Super Bowl LIV is scheduled to kick off at 6:30 p.m. and will be broadcast on Fox.

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