When the Kansas City Chiefs face the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LIV on Sunday in Miami Gardens, Fla., Missouri Southern will be represented – either directly, or in a “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon” sort of way.

First, direct connections: MSSU graduates.

Cody Thorn, ’09, is the editor of the Platte County Citizen in the Kansas City area and will be in the press box of Hard Rock Stadium covering the Chiefs.

James Thrash, ’01, will also be in attendance. He, of course, is not only a former wide receiver for the Lions who went on to enjoy a 12-year NFL playing career, but he’s also currently an appeals officer for on-field player discipline for the league and the NFL Players Association.

And then there’s the Kevin Bacon angle. Or in this case, current MSSU head football coach, Jeff Sims.

He has connections to both the Chiefs and the Niners – two, in fact – and both involve the same position.

During his time as the recruiting coordinator for Indiana University almost 10 years ago, Sims helped recruit Tevin Coleman, who plays running back for San Francisco. However, Coleman dislocated his right shoulder in the NFC Championship game against Green Bay, and his game status at this point is uncertain.

The other connection would be the man Sims helped in the recruitment of Coleman at IU: Deland McCullough. He’s been the running backs coach for Kansas City since 2018.

Sims won’t be at the game, but he will be watching – and he won’t be rooting for one team over the other.

“I don’t root for teams, I root for people,” he said. “I just want to see a good game since I know someone on both teams.”

So, no rooting, but he’s definitely leaning.

“Chiefs,” he said. “I really would like to see Deland do great.”

On a side note, it was thought there was another MSSU connection to the game until we learned the Shakira who’s performing at halftime with Jennifer Lopez is just the Shakira – and not Shakira Rhoads, assistant director of Career Services.

Darn. We were all so close to getting free tickets.