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Nick Allegretti deserves this Super Bowl

One football game left. One Illini alum remains.

AFC Championship - Tennessee Titans v Kansas City Chiefs Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

After Super Bowl LIV, the next NFL game is not until Aug. 6. Take it all in, football fans. Enjoy the spectacle.

When honoring the only remaining Fighting Illini listed on either the Kansas City Chiefs or the San Francisco 49ers active rosters, it is more than appropriate to understand what football is at this latest possible point in the season.

The National Football League is a grind. Seventeen weeks of regular season and 16 games may pale in comparison to the NHL or the NBA’s 82-game season from a sheer numbers standpoint — but on its own, the wear and tear on a football player’s body is like nothing else in sports.

There is more than just the physical part of the game. The mental part is even more demanding, and Nick Allegretti lost a ton of college football games in his four years at Illinois, and now he’s one game away from being crowned Super Bowl Champion — a title that would be attached to his name for the rest of his life.

Allegretti never wavered in his leadership. The O-lineman was an Illinois team captain in 2017 and 2018. The Illini won a total of just six games in those two years.

A lineman’s intelligence is everything. Outside of the quarterback, having a lineman understand blitz packages is most critical toward putting up points. It matters more than a wide receiver’s speed or a running back’s decision to cut inside or outside when he gets the ball.

Allegretti was smart when he was at the University of Illinois. He was a four-time Academic All-Big Ten. He can play three positions as a member of the Chiefs: center, left guard and right guard.

Longevity and staying healthy is the most important trait a football player can have. It’s about conditioning and taking care of one’s body. It’s luck. It’s probably genes. It’s a combination of factors. Nick Allegretti started 36 games at Illinois, including every game in 2016, ‘17 and ‘18. That is not easy. It’s especially difficult when the team you put your body on the line for is not playing postseason football in a bowl game.

An Illinois native. A player with not one, but two degrees from the flagship university in the state of Illinois. Captain Nick Allegretti, you deserve all of the praise coming your way.

Best of luck/skill in the biggest sporting event in America. Super Bowl LIV.