Later today, the New England Patriots will take on the Kansas City Chiefs for the right to go to Super Bowl 53. And as the Patriots announced on earlier Sunday, one of the greatest players in franchise history — one that is no stranger to playing in big games — will serve as an honorary captain for the AFC title game: Vince Wilfork, who will accompany the two teams’ captains to midfield for the coin toss before kickoff.
Wilfork originally joined the Patriots as the 21st overall selection in the 2004 NFL draft. He quickly became an integral member of the team’s defensive line and went on to appear in 179 games over 11 seasons with the club — 21 of which in the postseason. Along the way, the Miami product was voted to five Pro Bowls and four All-Pro teams and also helped New England win two world championship.
The long-time team captain left New England after the 2014 season to join the Houston Texans for two years, before announcing his retirement in August 2017 — but not before signing an honorary one-day contract with the Patriots to officially retire a member of the club. Now, the 37-year old future Patriot Hall of Famer will serve the club once again by being an honorary captain against Kansas City.
Wilfork, who follows Drew Bledsoe, Tedy Bruschi and Ty Law as honorary championship game captains, is no stranger to appearing on this big a stage. During his tenure in New England, the club made the conference title game seven times — emerging as the winning team on four occasions.