The Small Cities That Raised Super Bowl Players

The journey to Super Bowl LIV started in some unexpected places for these football stars.

Cara Sanders
On Friday, January 31, 2020 - 07:00

This year's epic Super Bowl showdown between the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers has us thinking about what it takes to become a player of this caliber. Not only is it the dedication, countless hours of practice and support of friends and family, but something else...

These players are all hometown heroes, and today we're celebrating the great cities they hail from — cities that no doubt will be cheering louder than anyone on Sunday.  

Kansas City Chiefs

Tyler, TX 
Patrick Mahomes, quarterback
Why We Love Tyler: Less than 100 miles east of Dallas, Tyler is America's Rose Capital, one of the best places to live in Texas and the birthplace of some amazing breweriespublic art and Patrick Mahomes. 

Minneapolis, MN 
Terrell Suggs, defensive end
Why We Love Minneapolis: Minneapolis was ranked #13 on Livability's Top 100 Best Places to Live list and it's easy to see why. Not only is Minneapolis the hometown of both Terrell Suggs and Prince, the city has more than 30 breweries, an abundant arts scene and lives up to its trademark "Midwest nice."

New Orleans, LA 
Tyrann Mathieu, safety
Why We Love New Orleans: The living is easy in the 'Big Easy.' Tyrann Mathieu's hometown of New Orleans is known for its boisterous Bourbon Street, beignets and breeding KC's safety. 

Tulsa, OK 
Darwin Thompson, running back
Why We Love Tulsa: Living in Tulsa is like scoring a touchdown. Whether you're a freelancer or a star running back like Darwin Thompson, the city provides opportunities and entertainment for all. 

Wichita, KS 
Blake Bell, tight end
Why We Love Wichita: From its hip downtown district to the Wichita State Shockers, there's plenty to do in this Kansas town. Wichita produces both endless opportunities and professional grade athletes like Blake Bell and Hall of Famer Barry Sanders.  

Pittsburgh, PA 
Stefen Wisniewski, guard
Why We Love Minneapolis: Steel City has it going on. Not only is Pittsburgh Stefen Wisniewski's hometown, but the city also ranks as one of the best places to live, top craft beer cities and the best place for first-time homebuyers

Chattanooga, TN 
Darron Lee, linebacker
Why We Love Chattanooga: Darron Lee's hometown of Chattanooga is an underrated gem. The city is the fourth largest city in Tennessee and has an unparalleled ecosystem for entrepreneurs

Baltimore, MD 
Kendall Fuller, cornerback
Why We Love Baltimore: Baltimore is an ideal place to grow up — whether you're a travel addictfreelancer or even a professional baller like Kendall Fuller or part merman like Michael Phelps. 

St. Louis, MO 
Khalen Saunders, defensive tackle
Why We Love St. Louis: Looking for a city to start a business, view wildlife or cash in on some free goodies? Look no further than St. Louis. Khalen Saunders' hometown is constantly evolving but remains an affordable, fun place to live. 

Rochester, MI 
Eric Fisher, offensive tackle
Why We Love Rochester: Not only is Rochester Eric Fisher's hometown, the city is also part of the Detroit metro area and is an idyllic town that combines both hip and historical.


Courtesy of KA Sports Photos under a CC 2.0 license.

San Francisco 49ers

Arlington Heights, IL 
Jimmy Garoppolo, quarterback
Why We Love Arlington Heights: Located about 25 miles from Chicago's downtown loop is Arlington Heights. Jimmy Garoppolo's hometown is also home to the Arlington Park Race Track, one of the Breeders' Cup's qualifying events, and is currently undergoing a real estate boom.  

Madison, WI 
George Kittle, tight end
Why We Love Madison: Known as one of the nation's top college towns, Madison is the thriving community where George Kittle was raised. If you're a gamer, cheese loverexpanding your own family, or just looking for an amazing place to live, Madison is the place to be. 

Hendersonville, TN 
Jalen Hurd, wide receiver
Why We Love Hendersonville: Full disclaimer: Jalen Hurd is our hometown hero. Raised just outside of Nashville in Hendersonville, TN (a few minutes from Livability's headquarters), Hurd was raised in a community that Johnny Cash, Conway Twitty and Taylor Swift have all called home. 

Greensboro, NC 
Emmanuel Moseley, cornerback
Why We Love Greensboro: If you love craft beer and hate traffic, then Emmanuel Moseley's native Greensboro is the perfect spot. Located in the heart of the Piedmont region, Greensboro is the third largest city in North Carolina and one of the top towns in the Tarheel State

Sacramento, CA 
Arik Armstead, defensive tackle
Why We Love Sacramento: Ballers like Arik Armstead have a big appetite. Luckily, his hometown of Sacramento, CA is known for its amazing foodie scene and is the Farm to Fork Capital. 

New Smyrna Beach, FL 
Raheem Mostert, running back
Why We Love New Smyrna Beach: Running back Raheem Mostert grew up at the beach — enough said. New Smyrna Beach is known for being a surfing town with a lively downtown, great healthcare opportunities and easy access to Canaveral National Seashore

Bellville, TX
Emmanuel Sanders, wide receiver
Why We Love Bellville: Everything is bigger in Texas — including the 49ers larger-than-life receiver Emmanuel Sanders. Located about an hour outside of Houston, Bellville is a small town that packs a big punch, producing some of the NFL's greats. 

Indianapolis, IN 
Sheldon Day, defensive tackle
Why We Love Indianapolis: This is a very sports-centric town, home to the Colts, Pacers and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, so it's no surprise that Sheldon Day is Indianapolis-bred. But, there's more than meets the eye in Indy and the city has several tricks under its sleeve that will surprise you

Waianae, HI 
Deforest Buckner, defensive tackle
Why We Love Waianae: Growing up in Hawaii sounds pretty sweet — just ask Deforest Buckner, who was raised in Waianae. There's not much more we can do to sell you on living in Hawaii except for saying it's Hawaii, why wouldn't you want to live there?

Grand Junction, CO 
Ben Garland, offensive guard
Why We Love Grand Junction: Grand Junction is one of the best places to live in Colorado ... just ask native Ben Garland! Grand Junction is the largest city in western Colorado and is nestled along the Colorado River, making it the perfect home base for outdoor lovers. 

Illustration by Mahaley Silva. 


Cara Sanders is the director of digital marketing for