The student news site of the University of Northern Iowa

Northern Iowan

The student news site of the University of Northern Iowa

Northern Iowan

The student news site of the University of Northern Iowa

Northern Iowan

State of Iowa takes over NFL Playoffs

Brock Purdy and George Kittle represent Iowa on the 49ers through Iowa State University and the University of Iowa respectively.

As the National Football League (NFL) season draws to a close there is a lot to celebrate for the state of Iowa. 14 teams made it to the playoffs and out of those 14 teams, 11 had players with ties to the state of Iowa. 

Those teams with players tied to the state of Iowa included the Baltimore Ravens, Buffalo Bills, Detroit Lions, Dallas Cowboys, Green Bay Packers, San Francisco 49ers, Miami Dolphins, Houston Texans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Los Angeles Rams and Pittsburgh Steelers. 

Former Panther Benny Sapp III has recently made his way onto the Green Bay active roster as a part of special teams. (COURTESY)

Four of our very own alumni represented UNI during the playoffs. Spencer Brown, lineman for the Bills, started every game and paved the way during their run. Brown was an instrumental part in making sure quarterback Josh Allen was protected throughout the entire season. Benny Sapp III, was activated off of the Packers practice squad late in the year and provided sparks on the field in special teams. Elijah Campbell, in his fourth year in the league, added veteran leadership for the Dolphins and their relatively young team. Daurice Fountain, also in his fourth year in the league with the Lions, did not see any action in the games, but was a pivotal member of the practice squad and helped a lot of players prepare for game action. 

Besides our Panthers, the University of Iowa had 15 alumni represented in the playoffs, and Iowa State University had five. The Detroit Lions were home to some notable players from our great state, and had the most players out of the state of Iowa than any other team. Some of those notable players include Sam LaPorta, former Hawkeye and current starting tight end for the Lions. LaPorta is considered one of the best tight ends in the league and a dominant rookie force on the field. David Montgomery, former Cyclone, is the current starting running back for the Lions. Montgomery is currently splitting carries with rookie Jahmyr Gibbs and adding a lot of substantial training for the new player.

Former UNI standout Spencer Brown is a crucial part of the offensive line for the Buffalo Bills.

One player in particular grew up here in Cedar Falls, and after a stellar career at the University of Iowa provided some much needed defense in his rookie year for the Lions. Jack Campbell was drafted in the first round by the Lions with the 18th pick and contributed seven tackles in the NFC championship game. He is one of the best defensive rookies in the league and constantly makes an impact on whatever field he happens to be on. 

If you’re unsure on who to root for in the upcoming Super Bowl, look no further than the San Francisco 49ers. The 49ers have two former athletes from the state of Iowa and are in search of their first ring since 1995. 

Brock Purdy, former Iowa State quarterback and current starting quarterback for the 49ers, had a great career at Iowa State before becoming “Mr. Irrelevant.” He was drafted by San Francisco with the last pick in the 2022 NFL draft, and was thrust into the starting lineup his rookie year, leading the 49ers to the playoffs and solidifying himself as the starter for this season.

George Kittle, former Iowa tight end and current starting tight end for San Francisco, is one of many former Iowa greats. Kittle is in his seventh season with the 49ers and was drafted by them in the fifth round of the 2017 NFL draft. Kittle is considered one of the greatest tight ends of all time and is considered to have revolutionized the position.

Make sure to be on the lookout for more Panthers, Hawkeyes and Cyclones in the NFL as many players have declared their name for the NFL draft this year.

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