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Which Super Bowl LVI participants represent the Sixers?

The Big Game is hours away

Super Bowl LVI - Cincinnati Bengals Practice Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Rams and Cincinnati Bengals take the field at 6:30 p.m. ET tonight to see who will hoist the Lombardi Trophy following Super Bowl LVI. As we approach the countdown to kickoff, I thought it would be fun to compare which players taking the field in tonight’s game are most like current members of our Sixers roster. Without further ado...

Joel Embiid is...

Super Bowl LVI - Cincinnati Bengals Practice & Media Day Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Joe Burrow. Both players were high draft picks (Burrow - 1st; Embiid - 3rd), who quickly became the undisputed leaders of their teams and elevated their squads to near-contender status just by simply being on the roster. Both also dealt with significant injuries early in their careers. Burrow tore his ACL and MCL midway through his rookie, while Embiid missed his first two seasons with a stress fracture in his foot and subsequent setback in the healing process. Both guys aren’t playing at MVP levels right now, though, but like Joel, Joe Shiesty is able to come across as uber-confident and charismatic in his press conferences:

James Harden is...

Super Bowl LVI - Los Angeles Rams Practice & Media Day Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Matt Stafford. Like Harden at last Thursday’s trade deadline, Stafford was brought in via a high-profile trade last offseason to offer a significant offensive upgrade and get his new team over the championship hump. Both Stafford and Harden have been regarded as high-risk, high-reward guys, with inflated turnover numbers for the position, but scoring prowess that more than makes up for it. To top off the comparison, each player knows how to party:

Tyrese Maxey is...

AFC Wild Card Playoffs - Las Vegas Raiders v Cincinnati Bengals Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

Ja’Marr Chase. Maxey and Chase are both 21 years of age, and their quick ascensions have accelerated the timelines for their respective franchises. Tyrese went from bench player in his rookie season to “untouchable” as a sophomore, even going through a brief “Is Maxey an All-Star?” period earlier in the season. Ja’Marr dealt with significant drop issues in the preseason after sitting out a year of college football to prepare, but quickly put those concerns to rest and earned Offensive Rookie of the Year and Pro Bowl honors. Each player’s speed jumps off the screen, completely shifting the dynamics on the court/field. This is basically Maxey knifing down the lane in football form:

Matisse Thybulle is...

San Francisco 49ers v Los Angeles Rams Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images

Jalen Ramsey. Both guys are among the best perimeter defenders in the game. Just as you can stick Thybulle on Steph Curry and watch him work magic, Ramsey plays outside on an island, receiving little help in going toe-to-toe with some of the best offensive players in the game. The Ramsey-Chase matchup is going to be one of the most exciting matchups in tonight’s Super Bowl, like I imagine any Maxey-Matisse battle in practice makes for appointment viewing.

Tobias Harris is...

AFC Championship - Cincinnati Bengals v Kansas City Chiefs Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Trey Hendrickson. Until a few days ago, Tobias Harris was the highest-paid player on the Sixers this season (James Harden is now). Likewise, Trey Hendrickson is the highest-paid player this year for the Bengals. Neither guy is who immediately comes to mind for fans from outside the local market when they think of that team. And just as Harris’ contract is constantly bemoaned, Cincinnati signing Hendrickson to the biggest deal among pass rushers last offseason (four-year, $60 million) was widely criticized. But both players are good! Harris has rebounded from a bad start to the season, now averaging 19.9 points, 7.1 rebounds, and 3.8 assists on 53.3/44.3/85.5 shooting splits in 2022. Hendrickson recorded 14 sacks and was sixth in the league in pressures this season (45). Sometimes, it doesn’t matter as much if there’s a perceived overpay if a player helps you win.

Danny Green is...

Super Bowl LVI - Los Angeles Rams Practice & Media Day Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Andrew Whitworth. Green is long in the tooth by NBA standards, playing in his 13th NBA season, and following Tom Brady’s retirement, Whitworth is the oldest active player in the NFL. But the comparison goes beyond “Haha, OLD.” Both play less-heralded positions that are nevertheless essential for their team’s success. Left tackles don’t rack up fantasy football stats, so casuals don’t often know their names, but their quarterbacks can’t do a thing unless they’re protecting their blind side. Likewise, 3-and-D specialists don’t get the billing of a star scorer, but teams need guys willing to take the tougher defensive assignments, accept less usage on offense, and still knock down big shots when the ball comes their way.

Furkan Korkmaz is...

Cincinnati Bengals Fan Rally Ahead Of Super Bowl LVI Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images

Evan McPherson. You want players with a reputation for nailing long-distance threes? These are your guys. But the real through line here is the extreme level of swagger and self-confidence coming from a role player. Korkmaz absolutely drips with swag, whether he’s dunking in a Darth Vader mask or putting out an absolutely bonkers workout hype video where he dunks through a rim of fire:

Of course, you would expect that from someone who said in his post-game interview after scoring a career-high, “I just made it rain.”

Then, you have McPherson, who was ice-blooded enough that moments before kicking the game-winning 52-yard field goal to topple the top-seeded Tennessee Titans, told his team, “it looks like we are going to the AFC Championship game.”

Georges Niang is...

AFC Divisional Playoffs - Cincinnati Bengals v Tennessee Titans Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Eli Apple. I was hesitant to make this comparison, because Niang has been terrific in his stretch big role for the Sixers, and Apple has only been middling as a cornerback this season. However, both players are among the yappiest trash talkers on their teams. Apple made the big tackle of Kansas City’s Tyreek Hill in front of the goal line to save seven points before halftime. That night, he tried to start some Twitter beefs with Hill and fellow Chiefs receiver Mecole Hardman.

Niang is well-known for his love of talking trash, which sometimes can backfire on him:

Georges’ smack talk has a lot more of a positive bent to it, but these two are certainly united by a love of running their mouths.

Can you think of better comparisons for these Sixers? Do you have any good fits for the rest of the roster? Cooper Kupp, Aaron Donald, Odell Beckham, Jr., and Tee Higgins are some of the bigger names left unused. Share your best examples in the comments.

Enjoy the game tonight. Feel free to use this post if you want to share your thoughts on the Super Bowl with your LB friends.

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