Entering the 2024 NFL playoffs, there were 18 former Nittany Lions still with a shot at a Super Bowl ring, with at least one player on 10 of the 14 playoff teams. Now, the NFL is down to its final two teams with Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs meeting the San Francisco 49ers for a rematch of Super Bowl 54 when Mahomes won his first ring.
With this matchup, Penn State has ensured that at least one former player will be celebrating when the confetti streams down after Super Bowl 58. So, here are the Nittany Lions playing in the big game on Sunday, February 11 in Las Vegas.
Kansas City Chiefs
Smith has already won a Super Bowl, beating the Chiefs as a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Super Bowl 55. That season, Smith protected Tom Brady’s blindside, and now the nine-year veteran left tackle will finish his first year blocking Patrick Mahomes in the Super Bowl.
San Francisco 49ers
Givens has been a member of the 49ers since 2019, and while he’s played in eight career playoff games, this will be his first Super Bowl appearance. As an undrafted rookie, Givens was inactive for the entire 2020 postseason, including San Francisco's 31-20 loss to the Chiefs.
Despite recording 23 tackles and 1.5 sacks this year, Givens has played just nine snaps this postseason and has only played 12 snaps in his entire postseason career.
Ji’Ayir Brown will play a much more prominent role for the San Francisco defense, even as a third-round rookie. Brown is fourth on the team in tackles this postseason with 10, primarily filling in for the injured All-Pro safety Talanoa Hufanga, who tore his ACL in November.