Utah college, high school football programs well-represented as Chiefs meet Eagles in Super Bowl

Coach Andy Reid hugs QB Patrick Mahomes after the Chiefs defeated the Bengals 23-20 in the AFC Championship game Sunday, Jan. 29, 2022. Photo: Sam Lutz/Kansas City Chiefs

GLENDALE, Ariz., Jan. 29, 2023 (Gephardt Daily) — The matchup for Super Bowl LVII is set, and several players and coaches with Utah ties will be on the field Feb. 12 in Arizona for the big game.

Brigham Young University graduate Andy Reid has the Kansas City Chiefs back in the Super Bowl for the third time in four seasons following a 23-20 victory Sunday over the Cincinnati Bengals in the AFC Championship game in Kansas City, Missouri.

“There’s nothing like winning the championship at home,” Reid told reporters after the game. “I mean, that’s just a special feeling. … To be at home and do it, it’s unbelievable.”

Kansas City, the No. 1 seed in the AFC, will face the Philadelphia Eagles, the NFC’s top seed who routed the undermanned San Francisco 49ers 31-7 earlier Sunday in Philadelphia.

Reid, an offensive lineman at BYU in 1978-80, began his coaching career as a graduate assistant with the Cougars in 1982. He’s now in his 10th season with the Chiefs and his 24th as an NFL head coach.

Prior to taking over in Kansas City in 2013, he spent 14 seasons as head coach in Philadelphia, guiding the Eagles to an NFC Championship following the 2004 season.

“I had a great time there,” said Reid, who coached the Eagles from 1999 to 2012. “I’m happy for them. I’m happy for the city. They’re passionate; they love football. Man, I can’t wait until Kansas City and Philly clash. It’s going to be awesome, man. What a great Super Bowl it will be.”

Reid won a Super Bowl with Kansas City in 2020, with the Chiefs defeating the 49ers 31-20, but lost 31-9 to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2021. Last season, the Bengals represented the AFC in the Super Bowl after beating the Chiefs 27-24 in Kansas City.

Reid also has a pair of assistants with Utah ties on his staff in Kansas City. Former Brighton High School defensive star Alex Whittingham, a University of Utah linebacker in 2013-2017 who walked on and played for his father, Utes coach Kyle Whittingham, is a defensive quality control coach; and Porter Ellett, a BYU graduate, is an offensive quality control coach.

Andy Reid coaches from the sideline of the Chiefs 23 20 victory over the Bengals in the AFC Championship game Sunday Jan 29 2023 Photo Chris DonahueKansas City Chiefs

The Chiefs currently have no players with Utah ties on the active roster, though two former Cougars — cornerback Zayne Anderson and tight end Matt Bushman — join ex-Layton High School receiver Marcus Kemp on the practice squad.

The Eagles also have an assistant with Utah ties in quarterbacks coach Brian Johnson, who played QB for the Utes in 2005-08 and served as an assistant coach at Utah in 2010-13.

Two former Utah prep stars also are expected to suit up and play for Philadelphia in the big game at State Farm Stadium: wide receiver/kick return specialist Britain Covey, who played at Timpview High and the University of Utah; and linebacker Christian Elliss, who played at Judge Memorial.

Two other players with Utah ties, former Weber State offensive lineman Sua Opeta and Hunter High tight end Noah Togiai are on the Eagles’ practice squad.

All former Utah college or high school football players listed below are on active NFL playoff rosters unless otherwise noted. Players are listed by name, position and former college and/or high school, along with a recap of their performance in the conference championships.

Cincinnati Bengals

Kansas City Chiefs

  • Zayne Anderson, CB, BYU/Stansbury: Signed to the practice squad Aug. 31.
  • Matt Bushman, TE, BYU: Signed to the practice squad Dec. 20.
  • Marcus Kemp, WR, Layton: Signed to the practice squad Oct. 3.

Philadelphia Eagles

  • Britain Covey, WR/RS, Utah/Timpview: Fielded punts but did have a return in the Eagles’ victory over the 49ers.
  • Christian Elliss, LB, Judge Memorial: Made one solo tackle in the home win.
  • Sua Opeta, OL, Weber State: Waived Jan. 6 and signed to practice squad Jan. 9.
  • Noah Togiai, TE, Hunter: Signed to the practice squad Sept. 1.

San Francisco 49ers

  • Fred Warner, LB, BYU: Finished with eight tackles (four solo) and one tackle for a loss in the 49ers’ loss to the Eagles.
  • Mitch Wishnowsky, P, Utah: Punted four times for an average of 42 yards, including a long punt of 46 yards, and laded three inside the 20-yard line.

Positions: Center (C), cornerback (CB), defensive lineman (DL), kicker (K), linebacker (LB), long snapper (LS), offensive lineman (OL), punter (P), quarterback (QB), running back (RB), return specialist (RS), safety (S), tight end (TE), wide receiver (WR).


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