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Super Bowl 55: What Tampa Bay area natives have won hometown titles?

Wade Boggs and Dan Wheldon are among the local residents/natives to have memorable hometown performances.
The Chiefs' Byron Pringle, a product of Tampa's Robinson High, will try to win the Super Bowl in his hometown.
The Chiefs' Byron Pringle, a product of Tampa's Robinson High, will try to win the Super Bowl in his hometown. [ REED HOFFMANN | AP ]
Published Jan. 27

No matter who wins Super Bowl 55 at Raymond James Stadium, the Tampa Bay era will have a homegrown champion —either Bucs offensive lineman Ted Larsen (a Palm Harbor University alumnus) or Chiefs receiver/returner Byron Pringle (from Tampa’s Robinson High).

Here’s a quick look at some of the area’s other natives or residents who won championships or made other noteworthy accomplishments in their figurative backyards. And if we missed one, let us know.

Related: Tampa Super Bowl: Where did the Bucs, Chiefs players come from?

Jeff Mitchell and Kipp Vickers

Center Jeff Mitchell and left guard Kipp Vickers were both Pinellas County products who helped the Ravens win the Super Bowl following the 2000 season.
Center Jeff Mitchell and left guard Kipp Vickers were both Pinellas County products who helped the Ravens win the Super Bowl following the 2000 season. [ Times (2001) ]

Both were offensive linemen on the Ravens team that beat the Giants 34-7 in Super Bowl 35 at Raymond James Stadium. Mitchell, a Countryside High alumnus and former Gator, was Baltimore’s starting center, while Vickers — a backup lineman — helped Tarpon Springs High advance to the 1986 state title game and won two national championships at the University of Miami.

Ted Watts

Ted Watts appeared in 74 NFL games, including 57 with the Raiders.
Ted Watts appeared in 74 NFL games, including 57 with the Raiders. [ AP ]

The Tarpon Springs native won Super Bowl 18 at Tampa Stadium as a cornerback for the Raiders.

Clemson Tigers’ trio

Deon Cain helped Clemson knock off Alabama four years ago in Tampa.
Deon Cain helped Clemson knock off Alabama four years ago in Tampa.

Receivers Artavis Scott (East Lake High), Ray-Ray McCloud (Sickles) and Deon Cain (Tampa Bay Tech) were all key contributors on the Clemson team that beat Alabama 35-31 in the College Football Playoff national championship at Raymond James Stadium in January 2017.

Related: How Deon Cain went from lifelong quarterback to NFL receiver

Wade Boggs

Wade Boggs was the first player to hit a home run for his 3,000th hit.
Wade Boggs was the first player to hit a home run for his 3,000th hit. [ JOHN PENDYGRAFT | Times (1999) ]

The Plant High product made history for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in 1999 when his 3,000th hit came as a home run at Tropicana Field.

Sebastien Bourdais

Sebastien Bourdais started last at the 2017 Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg but rallied to win at his hometown track.
Sebastien Bourdais started last at the 2017 Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg but rallied to win at his hometown track.

The St. Petersburg resident became the third driver to earn back-to-back victories at the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg when he took the checkered flags in 2017 and ’18.

Related: Vive la St. Pete: Sebastien Bourdais passes Publix test so he's a local

Dan Wheldon

A win at the Grand Prix helped St. Petersburg's Dan Wheldon (center) win the IndyCar Series title in 2005.
A win at the Grand Prix helped St. Petersburg's Dan Wheldon (center) win the IndyCar Series title in 2005. [ Times (2005) ]

The late St. Petersburg resident won the Grand Prix at his home track in 2005 during his only IndyCar Series championship season.

John Huston

John Huston celebrated his win at the PGA Tour's stop at Innisbrook in 2000.
John Huston celebrated his win at the PGA Tour's stop at Innisbrook in 2000. [ Times ]

The Palm Harbor resident and Dunedin High alumnus birdied three of his final four holes to win the 2000 Tampa Bay Classic (now called the Valspar Championship) at Innisbrook.

Jeff Lacy

Jeff Lacy had a memorable night at what was then known as the St. Pete Times Forum in 2005.
Jeff Lacy had a memorable night at what was then known as the St. Pete Times Forum in 2005. [ Times (2005) ]

The St. Petersburg native defended his IBF super middleweight title and won the IBO super middleweight crown in 2005 when Robin Reid couldn’t answer the bell for the eighth round at what’s now known as Amalie Arena.

• • •

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