HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Some of the best football players to ever suit up in a helmet and shoulder pads never got the chance to experience what Waianae native DeForest Buckner will -- when he runs out of the tunnel at Super Bowl 54 in Miami.
Some of the NFL’s all-time greats never reached the ‘Big Game’ let alone ever had the chance of winning the Lombardi Trophy.
If the San Francisco 49ers are able to defeat reigning NFL MVP Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs, Buckner would join an elite list of company.
Football players with Hawaii ties have a long and storied history of not only playing but winning on the NFL’s biggest stage.
Former University of Hawaii all-time great, Jesse Sapolu captured four as a member of the 49ers in the 1980′s.
Sapolu reflected on his professional accomplishments years ago in an interview with Hawaii News Now.
“I’m a kid from Kuhio Park terrace Kam 4 housing," said Sapolu. "I think how did I get chosen to be the snapper to Joe Montana probably the best quarterback to ever play the game.”
Punahou legend Mark Tuinei followed Sapolu with a trio of Lombardi trophies in the mid 90′s with the Dallas Cowboys, leading the way for the NFL’s All-Time leading rusher Emmit Smith.
One of the first to ever don a NFL World Championship was former Kalani Falcons great Roy Gerela. Gerela, was one of the NFL’s longest and most accurate kickers with the Pittsburgh Steelers and hoisted three Super Bowls in 1974,1975, and 1978.
Former UH Warrior Ma’a Tanuvasa and Jason Elam captured back to back Super Bowls in 97 & 98 as a member of the Denver Broncos squad that included future team owner, John Elway at quarterback.
Hawaii football legend, Charles Ane won a pair of NFL titles in 1953 & 57, before the merger of the AFL and NFL.
Russ Francis, won a Super Bowl as a member of the 1984 San Francisco 49ers while Brian Cabral hoisted a Lombardi Trophy playing on one of the greatest NFL teams in sports history -- the 1985 Chicago Bears.
Local ‘tough guy’ Kurt Gouveia, won a pair of rings with the Redskins and brothers Ma’ake and Chris Kemoeatu danced in the confetti suiting up for AFC North rivals the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens.
Former UH lineman Adrian Klemm was part of the New England Patriots dynasty in the mid 2000′s and the most recent winner was Kamehameha’s Kamu Grugier- Hill as a member of the Philadelphia Eagles in 2018.
Buckner’s chance to join this elite list of athletes will come Sunday in Super Bowl 54.
Kick-off is set for 1:30 P.M. HST.