Super Bowl LV between the Kansas City Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be all about the passing game. The battle between the GOAT (Tom Brady) and the one quarterback who could replace him (Patrick Mahomes) will be the main narrative heading into the game, but they will each lean heavily upon their supporting cast.
Both teams are absolutely filled with star players too. With Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill in Kansas City and Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, and Rob Gronkowski on the Bucs, the teams can boast a combined 20 Pro Bowl bids on those players alone. But they won't be the only players to watch on Sunday.
We're breaking down the under-the-radar players who could make a splash in the Super Bowl. The players who didn't win you a fantasy championship and whose jersey no one owns. And who knows, if Malcolm Smith won the Super Bowl MVP in 2014, maybe one of these players could hoist the Pete Rozelle Trophy this year as well.
Scotty Miller, WR, Buccaneers
With Antonio Brown's status uncertain because of a knee injury that sidelined him for the NFC Championship Game, Miller may be counted on to fill the main slot receiver role once again. Fans already saw his impact with a 39-yard touchdown catch in the closing seconds of the first half of the win over the Packers, and he was effective before Brown joined the team. During the first four games of the season, all starts, he hauled in 15 passes for 250 yards and a touchdown. Despite mostly running underneath routes, Miller actually led the team with 15.3 yards per reception this season thanks to excellent speed. And if we know anything about Tom Brady, it's that he loves his slot receivers, like Wes Welker and Julian Edelman, who was the Super Bowl MVP two years ago.
Mike Remmers, LT, Chiefs
It's not ideal for the Chiefs that so much attention will be paid to Remmers, but that's what happens when both of your Pro Bowl offensive tackles go down. Eric Fisher tore his Achilles in the second half of the AFC Championship Game, and Remmers, who was already filling in for injured right tackle Mitchell Schwartz, slid over to left tackle and will start there on Sunday. Remmers has not allowed a sack yet this season in 13 games (10 starts), but the Chiefs will be depending on him even more now against a defense that tied for fourth in the regular season with 48 sacks and took down Aaron Rodgers five times in the NFC title game.
Jamel Dean, CB, Buccaneers
Dean was one of our potential breakout stars for the NFC South before the season, and he thrived as Tampa Bay's nickelback and even shifted to the outside at times. The second-year player out of Auburn finished second on the team in passes defended (7), racked up the seventh-most tackles, and scored the only defensive touchdown of the year on a 32-yard interception return. Dean also led the Bucs with a 61.4 percent completion percentage allowed and gave up just 5.7 yards per target. He missed the first game against the Chiefs this season due to a concussion and should be a big difference-maker. Stopping Tyreek Hill will be crucial — especially after he picked up seven receptions for 203 yards in the first quarter alone of their previous matchup — and he's the one cornerback with the speed to potentially keep up with Hill.
Mecole Hardman, WR, Chiefs
Hardman appeared on this list last year and only picked up one reception for two yards — while losing six yards on his only rushing attempt — but he remains perhaps the biggest home-run threat in the Super Bowl this side of Tyreek Hill (or a healthy Antonio Brown). He's also made a splash in each of the first two postseason games, with four catches for 58 yards against Cleveland and a touchdown grab to go with a 50-yard run on a jet sweep against Buffalo. Hardman also is a factor on special teams and should make an impact, as he made last year's Pro Bowl as a returner and has taken back a punt and kickoff for a score in his first two seasons.
L'Jarius Sneed, S, Chiefs
The Chiefs have found success in recent weeks by deploying extra defensive backs, specifically with four safeties against the Bills. Tyrann Mathieu rightly gets most of the attention, but Sneed (who has played some corner as well) has been an undercover star as a rookie. Despite missing seven games due to a broken collarbone, the fourth-round pick out of Louisiana Tech ranks sixth on the Chiefs in tackles (41) and is tied for second in passes defended (7), and interceptions (3). He's been an especially big factor down the stretch, including four sacks in his last four games (did not play in Week 17), and although he suffered an apparent concussion in the AFC Championship Game against Buffalo, he has cleared the league's concussion protocol and should be good to go for Super Sunday. Depending on how Kansas City game plans, Sneed could draw tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Cameron Brate in the red zone.