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Cal in the NFL: Mitchell Schwartz is Super Bowl–bound!

Mitchell Schwartz is headed to Super Bowl LIV, marking the 19th out of the past 20 Super Bowls to feature a Golden Bear.

AFC Championship - Tennessee Titans v Kansas City Chiefs Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

We’ll kick off today’s edition of Bears in the Pros outside of the NFL because this clip of Jaylen Brown dunking on LeBron James is just too sweet.

It feels like life is more often than not a case of “I’ve got some bad news and then I’ve got some more bad news”, but if I’m in a “good news/bad news situation”, then I like to end on the positive note. This weekend’s NFL conference championship games were a case of “good news/bad news”, so let’s get the bad news out of the way first.

Aaron Rodgers, James Looney, and the Green Bay Packers lost.

With Rodgers’s career winding down, there goes another year that he won’t make it to the Super Bowl. Given the unexpected burst of success under first-year head coach Matt LeFleur, Rodgers realized this season had some magic.

“With all of the changes this offseason, and with the installation of a new system and a new program, to get to this point, you felt like it was something special because it just didn’t really make sense,” Rodgers said. “We weren’t picked by most people to win our division, and we found a way to not only do that but to win a home playoff game and get to this spot. It just kind of felt like it was meant to be.”

But as a seasoned veteran, he recognizes how “difficult” it is for a team to get this deep into the playoffs—but it also makes the losses that much more painful.

“It’s a little raw right now, for sure,” Rodger[s] said. “It definitely hurts a little more than early in the career.”

In their NFC Championship loss and across the season overall, Rodgers was solid, but not his usual spectacular self.

Rodgers was good, but not great on Sunday, finishing with 326 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 2 interceptions on 31-of-39 passing. However, there were surely some throws he would like back, where he missed receivers on routine plays and struggled under the pressure of the 49ers’ pass rush.

Rodgers’ and the Packers’ 2019 season followed a different script than usual. Statistically, Rodgers wasn’t up to his usual standard and even ranked below-average by some advanced metrics. The Packers, however, went 13-3 (sic), leaning on a defense and run game and for the first time less reliant on Rodgers to win them games. The Packers won seven of nine games when Rodgers threw fewer than two touchdowns.

Thus, when the defense fell apart on Sunday, it was a foregone conclusion that the Packers’ chances were disappearing with every passing minute. Green Bay’s defensive struggles in the postseason is an unfortunate recurring trend in Rodgers’s storied career:

In his eight playoff losses, Green Bay has given up an average of 36.4 points and never held the opponent to less than 23.

Maybe it’s just me, but I reckon the defense struggled because they moved Looney from D-line to tight end.

Hopefully, the chip on Rodgers’s shoulder will just grow from this and he’ll come back with a vengeance to many more Super Bowl appearances—and wins—to close out his career.

Onto the good news—Mitchell Schwartz and the Kansas City Chiefs will be headed to the Super Bowl! This marks the 19th game of the past 20 to feature at least one Golden Bear on at least one of the teams.

Cal in the Super Bowl

Super Bowl Cal participants Cal SB champions
Super Bowl Cal participants Cal SB champions
XXXV New York Giants: Jeremiah Parker =(
XXXVI New England Patriots: Je'Rod Cherry Cherry
XXXVII Oakland Raiders: Langston Walker =(
XXXVIII New England Patriots: Tully Banta-Cain, Je'Rod Cherry Banta-Cain, Cherry
XXXIX New England Patriots: Tully Banta-Cain, Je'Rod Cherry Banta-Cain, Cherry
XL Pittsburgh Steelers: Chidi Iwuoma Iwuoma
XLI Indianapolis Colts: Matt Giordano | Chicago Bears: DC Ron Rivera Giordano
XLII New England Patriots: Ryan O'Callaghan =(
XLIII Arizona Cardinals: JJ Arrington =(
XLIV New Orleans Saints: Scott Fujita Fujita
XLV Green Bay Packers: Desmond Bishop, Aaron Rodgers Bishop, Rodgers
XLVI New England Patriots: Shane Vereen =(
XLVII Harbowl =( =(
XLVIII Denver Broncos: CJ Anderson | Seattle Seahawks: Marshawn Lynch Lynch
XLIX New England Patriots: Shane Vereen | Seattle Seahawks: Marshawn Lynch Vereen
50 Carolina Panthers: HC Ron Rivera, asst. coach Richard Rodgers | Denver Broncos: CJ Anderson Anderson
LI Atlanta Falcons: Alex Mack So =(
LII Philadelphia Eagles: Mychal Kendricks, Bryce Treggs Kendricks, Treggs
LIII Los Angeles Rams: Jared Goff, C.J. Anderson | New England Patriots: Stephen Anderson, Brian Schwenke S. Anderson, Schwenke
LIV Kansas City Chiefs: Mitchell Schwartz Schwartz

Schwartz’s brother, Geoff, is a former Oregon Duck who played for five NFL teams across nine years and offered a probably-slightly-biased assessment that Schwartz’s playoff performance has been “AMAZING” and this has been his best season to date; Geoff also noted that the two will make NFL history as the first pair of Jewish brothers to play in the Super Bowl. For a less biased assessment, Pro Football Focus noted that Schwartz’s performance against the Tennessee Titans was the best of his entire career, marking career-bests in three metrics.

Congrats and good luck to Mitchell!


Whom do you want to win Super Bowl LIV?

This poll is closed

  • 83%
    Go Mitchell Schwartz (and the Chiefs) and Cal alumni everywhere! Go Bears!
    (70 votes)
  • 16%
    The only thing I love more than the color red is not supporting Golden Bears—go Niners and their three Stanfurd alumni.
    (14 votes)
84 votes total Vote Now