Super Bowl LVIII has been set, the defending champion Kansas City Chiefs will take on the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday, Feb. 11, at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas. It’s a rematch from four years ago when Patrick Mahomes led the Chiefs to a 31-20 victory over San Francisco in Super Bowl LIV.
While 30 teams will be sitting at home, there will be a few former Pittsburgh Steelers playing in the big game, or at least on the respective team’s rosters. The Steelers are represented on the 49ers by defensive tackle Javon Hargrave, wide receiver Ray-Ray McCloud and offensive tackle Jesse Davis (practice squad). The Chiefs have defensive tackle Isaiah Buggs and quarterback Chris Oladokun, both of whom are on the practice squad.
Hargrave signed a massive four-year, $84 million contract that included $40 million guaranteed at signing last March. He’ll play in his second consecutive Super Bowl. He came up short against Kansas City last year when he was with the Philadelphia Eagles.
The 6-foot-2, 305-pound Hargrave was the Steelers’ third-round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. He played his first four seasons in Pittsburgh, all as a starter, and amassed 168 tackles, 22 tackles for a loss, 14.5 sacks and forced two fumbles. Hagrave recorded 44 total tackles (25 solos), seven sacks, eight tackles for losses and 14 quarterback hits in 2023. Hargrave is a key member on the 49ers’ vaunted front.
McCloud is the 49ers’ starting return man and another weapon for Kyle Shanahan’s offense. McCould left the Steelers via free agency in March of 2022, landing with the 49ers on a two-year, $10.4 million deal. McCloud spent two seasons as the Steelers’ primary punt and kick returner, and also became an integral part of the offense. In 2023, McCloud has averaged 8.5 yards on punt returns and 22.5 on kick returns. He has been used on offense slightly, catching 12 passes for 135 yards. McCloud credits Mike Tomlin for saving his career. He’ll now get the opportunity to win a Super Bowl ring.
The Steelers signed Davis from the Minnesota Vikings in exchange for a conditional seventh-round draft pick in 2022. He spent the entire season on the team’s active roster as depth insurance in case injury came about. On Oct 31, 2023, Davis signed with the 49ers’s practice squad. He’s been active for just one game this season.
After the Detroit Lions released Buggs from their active roster in early January, the Chiefs scooped him up and signed him to their practice squad.
Buggs was picked by the Steelers in the 2019 NFL Draft, latching on with the team for three seasons before they released him. After that, he would land with the Las Vegas Raiders before finding his home in Detroit, where he found new life to revitalize his career. From here, Buggs, 27, will try to find a new home this offseason as a veteran in the NFL.
This season, he played in 10 games, racking up a sack. He has 23 starts over his career, including 13 in 2022 for the Lions, where he had the best season of his career, posting 10 quarterback hits, a sack, and 46 tackles as the nose tackle in the Lions defense.
Oladokun was the Steelers’ seventh-round pick in 2022, but he did not make the team and has been on the KC practice squad ever since. He has yet to play in an NFL game.
The Chiefs also signed former Steelers wide receiver Anthony Miller to a reserve/future deal for 2024 this past Tuesday. Miller had stints with the 49ers and Indianapolis Colts this season.
There are no former Steelers coaches on the Chiefs or 49ers staffs. However, there are some ties. San Francisco head coach Kyle Shanahan coached with Tomlin in Tampa Bay from 2004-2005. Shanahan was an offensive quality control coach. Additionally, 49ers co-owner Denise DeBartolo York formerly was the owner and president of the Pittsburgh Penguins from 1978-91.
While not tied with the Steelers, there are some Western Pennsylvania connections in the Super Bowl. Chiefs quarterbacks coach David Giradi is from New Kensington and played quarterback at Geneva. Chiefs wide receiver Skyy Moore is also from New Kensington and played at Shady Side Academy with Tomlin’s two sons, Dino and Mason. Moore is on injured reserve, however. Chiefs wide receiver Justin Watson is from Bridgeville and played at South Fayette.