GLENDALE, Ariz. — There are plenty of headlines, stories and connections for the Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LVII. But one former NFL player has called both cities home.
Former Chiefs lineman Joe Valerio was born and raised in Pennsylvania and played college ball at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.
But in 1991, the Chiefs drafted him in the second round, and he played in Kansas City for five seasons before he ultimately retired in 1996.
After retirement, Valerio moved back to where it all began: Philadelphia.
“My allegiances are torn. I have to admit it, just to be honest,” he said about his feelings going into Sunday’s matchup.
“Just like any Kansas City fan who grew up in Kansas City watching the Chiefs is going to have their allegiance to the team, I feel the same way about the Eagles. But my heart will also always be in Kansas City.”
When pressed about his plans for the Super Bowl, Valerio said it always starts with the food for him.
“There’s a great place here that serves Kansas City-style barbecue that we’ve come to love, so we’re going to have plenty of barbecue served up at our Super Bowl party … We’re going to the good, old-fashioned, as we like to say in Philadelphia, hoagies,” Valerio said.
“There’s going to be a lot of folks in Eagles gear, just to be honest, but there’s also going to be a bunch of us wearing Chiefs gear, too.”
As a lineman himself, Valerio said both teams have fantastic offensive lines from end to end.
“They both have an incredible passion for protecting their quarterback,” he said.
But Valerio questioned if the Chiefs defense has seen anyone like Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts.
“He’s going to be healthy; he’s not going to be like he did against San Francisco, skirting to the outside,” he said.
Still, Valerio knows on the other side of the matchup there’s Patrick Mahomes.
“The Eagles haven’t seen anybody like him.”