Aaron S. Lee
Special to the Press-Herald
Webster Parish pro football fans could not have scripted out the season any finer. It’s a dream scenario for many as L’Jarius Sneed and Devin White are all set for an epic rematch on the NFL’s grandest stage — Super Bowl Sunday!
It’s Minden vs. Springhill. Louisiana Tech vs. LSU, when Sneed’s Kansas City Chiefs (16-2) travels to Raymond James Stadium to face White’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers (14-5) for Super Bowl LV on Feb. 7.
Sneed punched his ticket to Tampa with yet another stellar postseason performance during the Chiefs’ 38-24 victory over the Buffalo Bills (15-4) in the AFC Championship game at Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday evening.
Despite leaving the game in the third quarter after a nasty head bump, the rookie cornerback recorded four tackles and his second sack of the postseason.
Sneed, who missed nine games due to a broken collarbone, has been red hot when healthy.
The just-turned 24-year-old (Jan. 21) was joined by Juan Thornhill and former LSU Tiger Tyrann Mathieu in a Chiefs secondary that held high-powered quarterback Josh Hill (28-of-48) to just 287 yards and two touchdowns.
Chiefs backup corner Rashad Fenton snagged a Hill interception during the fourth quarter as well. Fenton was subbing for Sneed, who was being examined in the locker room by trainers after hitting his head on the turf while defending Bills wide receiver Stefon Diggs.
The Chiefs announced on Twitter that Sneed was being evaluated for a concussion.
Head coach Andy Reid commented about Sneed and fellow defensive back Armani Watts.
“Armani Watts has a head injury and so does Sneed,” said Reid in the post-game press conference. “I think those guys will be OK.”
The defending Super Bowl champions will make their way to Tampa to face Tom Brady after the Bucs bested Green Bay 31-26 in Lambeau Field for the NFC Championship earlier in the day.
Like Sneed, White continues to shine in the postseason.
A week after notching an 11-tackle, one-interception, one-fumble recovery performance to knock the New Orleans Saints out of the playoffs, the second-year linebacker out of LSU led the Bucs defense with nine tackles, as well as a critical fumble recovery to start the second half.
The former North Webster Knight picked up an Aaron Jones fumble caused by Jordan Whitehead and ran it 21 yards to the Packers’ 8-yard line.
One play later, Brady hit a wide-open Cameron Brate to extend the Bucs’ lead, 28-10.
Tampa’s win marks Brady’s 10th Super Bowl appearance, his first as a Buc since joining the team this year after spending 20 seasons with the New England Patriots where he amassed six Super Bowl titles, four Super Bowl MVP awards and three NFL MVP awards.
The win also marks the first time in league history a team will play the Super Bowl in their home stadium.
Super Bowl LV will also be a rematch from Week 12, which Kansas City won, 27-24, at Raymond James.
That was the last game the Bucs lost before launching their seven-game winning streak that has the team back in the title game.