Kansas City Chiefs running back Isiah Pacheco is heading to Super Bowl LVIII. The game, which will be played Sunday, February 11th, will see Pacheco, of Puerto Rican and Dominican descent, face off against Fred Warner, of Mexican and Panamanian descent, and Jon Feliciano, of Puerto Rican and Sicilian descent. But who exactly is Isiah Pacheco? Because he’s more than the guy Taylor Swift is consistently throwing 10s at during games, to the dismay of some fans.
Here are five facts about the star running back from Vineland, New Jersey, to get to know him better as he makes his second run at winning the Super Bowl.
Adversity Fueling His Play
Pacheco is only 24, but he’s had to endure a lot of tragedy in his young life. His brother, Travoise Cannon, was murdered in 2016. After that devastating loss, he and his sister Celeste Cannon grew even closer. Then, a year later, his sister was also murdered.
“I play football for them,” Pacheco said to NJ Advance Media back in 2019, when he was still playing at Rutgers University. He also sports tattoos that honor both his siblings. Adversity and loss fuel his play.
Pacheco’s nickname of “Pop” comes from when he was a kid, and it ironically can be traced back to exactly that sound. Or, as Pacheco himself once told it, “The way I remember it was when I was playing midget (Pop Warner) league and I was on defense. I popped the quarterback, put him down, and then the ambulance came. Fortunately, he was OK. But everybody told me they heard an echo from the ‘pop’ and (the nickname) just stuck from high school all the way to here.’’
Almost Didn’t Get Drafted
Pacheco was the 251st pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. To put that into perspective, there were 262 picks in the draft that year, meaning he was one of the last players picked in total.
Most of the starters are picked in the first two or three rounds. Pacheco was picked in the seventh. And yet he became a starter in his first NFL season, made it to the Super Bowl with his team, won it, and is now back to try again in his second year.
Loves to Dance
Last year’s Kansas City Chiefs Super Bowl run included Pacheco dancing. This year’s Super Bowl run has included Pacheco dancing. And Pacheco will probably be dancing even more if the Chiefs win back-to-back Super Bowls because, as he said in 2023. “I’m from Jersey! We love dancing in Jersey.”
Pacheco’s numbers in his first two seasons in the league are nothing to scoff at, particularly considering he had to fight for the position as the starting running back during his first season. He’s amassed 375 attempts for 1,765 yards and 12 TDs. And oh, yes, a Super Bowl ring during Super Bowl LVII. Soon, we might be saying two.