The stage is set for the best teams in the National Football League to face off against each other on Sunday in Miami for Super Bowl 54. Playing in the game will be Eastern alumni Jimmy Garoppolo.
The Miami Dolphins’ Hard Rock Stadium will play host to the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers.
Originally from Rolling Meadows High School in the Chicago suburb of Rolling Meadows, Illinois, Garoppolo will be starting in his first Super Bowl this Sunday.
Needless to say, he is the fan favorite among most Eastern students.
Sarah Paluch, a freshman business management major, said Garoppolo spent his time watching film and looking at the stats of former Panther quarterbacks, striving to be the best at what he does.
“His goal was to be better than (previous quarterbacks), so he was always … on top of it,” Paluch said.
Alex Castaneda, a senior recreation administration major, said he is rooting for San Francisco because of Jimmy G’s presence on the team.
Jonathan Burke, a senior civic nonprofit leadership major, said he was conflicted on which team to support, as he has supported Kansas City all season but is inclined to root for San Francisco for Garoppolo.
“I’ve been a Chiefs fan all year, so I kind of want to see the Chiefs (win), but I can’t because Jimmy G went here, but I never saw Jimmy G play,” Burke said. “I’m just excited to see the game overall.”
Burke also said Garoppolo worked hard to earn a scholarship and his starting place on the team, having not been given a scholarship at first and eating the “same meal every night.”
Both Burke and Castaneda agreed that the game would be close.
Burke also said other players will shine in the game, such as Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill and 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman.
Castaneda said another player to watch is George Kittle, a San Francisco tight end.
Austin Romine, a freshman undecided major, said he has been a Garoppolo fan since high school.
“I was really familiar with Jimmy G … through high school, so I watched him go through the draft process,” Romine said.
As a track athlete, Romine said it is cool to work out in the same place Garoppolo did.
He made a bold prediction for the game, claiming San Francisco would come out on top by seven points.
He said two other players of note are Raheem Mostert, San Francisco’s running back, and Patrick Mahomes, the quarterback for Kansas City.
Eliud Echevarria, a freshman undecided major, said he is expecting the game to be a tough grind for the teams involved and provide a spectacle for football fans.
Another freshman undecided major Erick Eudabe, said he expects the 49ers to come out on top.
“The 49ers have had a pretty good run,” Eudabe said. “They typically always do.”
Austin Brown can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]