SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Super Bowl LIII is set after two incredible conference championship games in the NFL Playoffs. For the first time in NFL history, the AFC and NFC Championship games both went into overtime on the same day.
After a controversial no-call in New Orleans, the Los Angeles Rams are set to face the New England Patriots for the Super Bowl in Atlanta on Sunday. Even though The Big Game is being played in the South, you'll be seeing a lot of Nothern California flare on the field this year.
Fans in the Sacramento region might remember Rams defensive end Ethan Westbrooks, who played football at Franklin High School in Elk Grove and at Sacramento City College before heading to West Texas A&M.
Football fans in Modesto will also remember the name Johnny Mundt. The Central Catholic High School product went on to play tight end at the University of Oregon before joining the Rams in 2017.
Football fans in Stockton will be pulling for a pair of local football stars, Brandin Cooks and Justin Davis. The Lincoln High School products played one season together for the Trojans before heading to different PAC-12 programs.
Cooks, an Oregon State product, played a major role for the Rams in their playoff run this season and now the wide receiver is preparing for his second straight Super Bowl appearance just five years into his NFL career.
Cooks, 25, was a first-round draft pick by the New Orleans Saints in 2014. After beating the team that drafted him in an NFC Championship game that will be forever remember for a controversial blown penalty call, Cooks is now preparing to face the Patriots in Super Bowl LIII.
You might remember seeing Cooks in Super Bowl LII, when he was playing with the Patriots. The wide out ended up leaving last year's Super Bowl in the second quarter after suffering a head injury. The Lincoln High School product had to watch from the sidelines as the Philadelphia Eagles came back to beat the Patriots to win their first Super Bowl Championship.
Cooks has spent the last two seasons with championship contenders, but this year he gets to share the experience with fellow Lincoln High School product Justin Davis. The 23-year-old running back signed with the Rams as an undrafted free agent in 2017 after playing college football at USC.
From Stockton to Atlanta, Cooks and Davis have overcome the odds to make their NFL dreams a reality and now the former Trojans are just one win away from a Super Bowl Championship.
The Rams also feature Bay Area-born playmakers Sean Mannion and C.J. Anderson. Anderson, a Vallejo native, helped lead the Jesse M. Bethel High School Jaguars to a Sac-Joaquin Section Championship appearance in 2007. But come Super Bowl Sunday, all eyes will be on Rams quarterback Jared Goff as he makes his first Super Bowl appearance.
Hailing from Marin County, Goff went on to set more than two dozen offensive records at the University of California-Berkeley before the Rams selected him first overall in the 2016 NFL Draft.
Then you have Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. You might have heard of him. With five Super Bowl Championships and four Super Bowl MVPs under his belt, Brady is arguably the greatest quarterback in NFL history. The 41-year-old San Mateo native is making his ninth Super Bowl appearance after beginning his football journey at Serra High School; one of the top-tier high school football programs in the state.
There are several additional Southern California products playing on the big stage come Sunday. So even if your team isn't playing in this year's Super Bowl, there are a number of players with local connections you can root for in The Big Game.