Although our beloved Buffalo Bills have already been knocked out of the playoffs and will be forced to watch the Super Bowl from home, there are always some Western New York and Buffalo connections hidden out there. With the Super Bowl less than two weeks away, let’s highlight some of the top Buffalo connections on the rosters and coaching staff on both the Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles.
Dave Caldwell — Eagles senior personnel director/advisor to the general manager
Caldwell served as the Jacksonville Jaguars’ general manager from 2013-2020 before joining the Eagles’ staff as a personnel executive in 2021. He is a Buffalo native that went to St. Francis High School and was teammates with other notable natives such as Brian Daboll, Tom Telesco, and Brian Polian.
Nick Sirianni — Eagles head coach
Although Sirianni gained experience from mulitple squads prior to being named the Eagles’ head coach, he was never associated with the Bills in any capacity. However, he was born in Jamestown, NY in Chautauqua County, which is only a few hours away from Buffalo. He graduated from Southwestern Central School in West Ellicott, NY in 1999, where his father served as the head coach of the football team.
Kevin Patullo — Eagles passing game coordinator
Despite not being able to make a career playing football, Patullo found opportunities elsewhere working as a specialist in different areas of the offense. He has served as the passing game coordinator with Philly since 2021, and worked with the Indianapolis Colts as a wide receivers coach and pass game specialist when Sirianni was serving as offensive coordinator. From 2010-11, Patullo served as the Bills’ offensive quality control coach, and then in 2012, served as offensive assistant and assistant wide receivers coach. This was the Chan Gailey era, where the Bills went 16-32 across three seasons.
Roy Istvan — Eagles assistant offensive line coach
Although there isn’t a direct connection here, Istvan gained college experience prior to coming to the NFL by serving with the University at Buffalo as the run game/offensive line coordinator from 2001-03, and the offensive coordinator from 2004-05. It seems his offensive experience paid off, as he’s worked for the Eagles since 2019.
Brett Kern — Eagles punter
Bills Mafia will recognize this name because of the hype to sign him prior to the start of the season. Kern is a well-established punter, with three Pro Bowls and a first team All-Pro honor. But the main attraction for Bills fans was his locality. He is a Grand Island, NY native — and many thought he would sign with Buffalo at this stage in his career for that very reason. Instead, he went to Philly, and gets to play in the Super Bowl.
Tyree Jackson — Eagles tight end
For the Buffalo natives, this name shouldn’t be a surprise. Jackson played quarterback at UB for three seasons, throwing for 7,000 yards and 50 touchdowns while adding over 700 yards and 16 touchdowns on the ground. He declared for the draft in 2019, but was signed as an undrafted free agent with Buffalo — and led a preseason comeback that had Bills fans buzzing. But he was waived, and played in the XFL for a shortened season. One season later, he was signed to the Eagles’ practice squad in 2021, where he was converted to a tight end due to his 6’7” frame. Jackson has dealt with too many injuries, totaling just three catches for 22 yards and a touchdown in his NFL career, and is currently on the Eagles’ injured reserve list recovering from a torn ACL.
Jody Fortson — Chiefs tight end
Fortson is the only Chief — player, coach, and executives included — with any known connection to the 716. He was signed by the Chiefs as an undrafted free agent in 2019 and was on the practice squad as a converted tight end, securing himself a championship ring when they won the Super Bowl. Fortson was born in Buffalo and attended Erie Community College (ECC) before transferring to Valdosta State to play wide receiver.