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Photo of little Christian McCaffrey celebrating dad’s 1999 Super Bowl sparked his own Super Bowl ‘dream’

Two decades after Ed McCaffrey won his third Super Bowl with the Denver Broncos, his son, Christian, is playing in the NFL championship. A photo from 25 years ago has brought the moment full circle.

The Super Bowl has been part of Christian McCaffrey's life since barely after he learned to walk.

The San Francisco 49ers superstar running back was only 2 years old when he was photographed joyfully running around the field in Miami as confetti rained down at the Super Bowl in 1999.

Christian wore a tiny No. 87 Broncos jersey in support of his father, Ed, a standout wide receiver for Denver who had just won back-to-back Super Bowls.

Christian McCaffrey
A grown-up Christian McCaffrey is ready for his own Super Bowl moment with the 49ers. At right, 2-year-old Christian celebrates his dad Ed's Super Bowl victory with the Broncos in 1999. Getty Images

Ed reminisced about that moment on TODAY on Feb. 9 ahead of Christian playing in the Super Bowl this weekend when his San Francisco 49ers take on the defending champion Kansas City Chiefs.

"Well I think that's just bad parenting," Ed joked. "I lost my kid after the Super Bowl, running through the confetti. You'd think I'd be a little more thoughtful.

"But that picture's so cool," he continued. "Nobody knew Christian was my son. He was just some little kid with a little blond 'fro running around who happened to get in the picture."

Christian celebrated the win all those years ago alongside his older brothers and his current 49ers head coach. Kyle Shanahan was also on the sidelines because his father, Mike, who joined Ed on TODAY, was the head coach of the Super Bowl champion Broncos.

"Kyle was on the sideline, we were all there, our families were there — it was just such an incredible memory," Ed said. "Maybe it was that moment where Christian first had the dream of playing in a Super Bowl. Now Kyle has that opportunity again, and Christian now has that opportunity for the first time, so that's a pretty cool memory."

A grown-up Christian, 27, and Kyle, 44, are ready for another confetti moment in Las Vegas when the 49ers take on the Kansas City Chiefs on Feb. 11 in a bid to win San Francisco's first Super Bowl since the 1994-95 season.

They're hoping to one day match the legacy of their fathers, who won three Super Bowls together with Mike as a coach and Ed as a wide receiver.

Christian is hoping to put the cherry on top of a monster season in which he earned Associated Press NFL Offensive Player of the Year honors. Kyle is trying to get an elusive first Super Bowl title after coaching in two previous championships and coming up just short.

A 49ers victory would make Mike and Kyle Shanahan the first father-son duo to ever coach teams to a Super Bowl victory.

Mike Shanahan
San Francisco 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan is looking to join his father, Mike, as a Super Bowl champion.Bob Kupbens / Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

"Well obviously it would be an unbelievable accomplishment," Mike said on TODAY. "They're going to be tested this week. We know what type of team Kansas City is, but they're looking forward to the opportunity. I'll be surprised if they don't play one of their better games."

The elder Shanahan and McCaffrey also both have a connection to the last 49ers team to win the Super Bowl.

Mike Shanahan was the offensive coordinator for San Francisco when Hall of Fame quarterback Steve Young threw a Super Bowl-record six touchdown passes in a 49-26 rout of the San Diego Chargers in 1995. Ed McCaffrey was a receiver on that team who had one catch for 5 yards in the Super Bowl victory.

If the 49ers bring it home, the McCaffreys would become just the second father-son duo to win a Super Bowl with the same franchise. (Linebacker Steve DeOssie won a championship with the New York Giants in 1991, and his son, Zak, won two with the same team as a long snapper, in 2008 and 2012.)

While this is Christian McCaffrey's first Super Bowl appearance, Kyle Shanahan has been to two Super Bowls as a coach. He was the Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator in 2017 and led the Niners as their head coach in 2020.

Who is Christian McCaffrey's dad, Ed McCaffrey?

Before Christian was a star running back at Stanford University, his father was the original McCaffrey to make his mark for the Cardinal.

Ed finished his college career ranked in the top five in team history in catches and yards and was a first-team All-American as a senior. Ed was inducted into the Stanford Athletics Hall of Fame in 2008.

Classic NFL
Ed McCaffrey won his first Super Bowl as a wide receiver for the San Francisco 49ers in the 1994 season.Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

He was a fourth-round pick by the New York Giants in 1991 and went on to a 13-year NFL career. He was released after three seasons by the Giants, won a Super Bowl in his one season with the 49ers and then blossomed into a star on the Broncos.

McCaffrey finished with 565 catches for 7,422 yards and 55 touchdowns in his career. He had three 1,000-yard receiving seasons from 1998-2000 as a primary target for Hall of Fame Broncos quarterback John Elway, which included one selection to the Pro Bowl.

The elder McCaffrey was known for his even-keeled demeanor and clutch catches under pressure for first downs late in games, earning the nickname "Easy Ed McCaffrey."

Who is Christian McCaffrey's mom, Lisa McCaffrey? Her father was an Olympian

While Ed McCaffrey was more known for his precision and good hands, Christian may get his speed from his mother.

The former Lisa Sime was a standout soccer player at Stanford in the late 1980s who played with former U.S. Women's National Team star Julie Foudy.

The athletic bloodlines go back to her father, Dave Sime, who won a silver medal at the 1960 Olympics in the 100-meter dash and once was on the cover of Sports Illustrated in 1956.

Lisa also is known for her sense of humor. When Christian left Stanford early to become a first-round draft pick of the Carolina Panthers in 2017, Lisa jokingly called him a "dropout" at his first press conference, according to The Athletic.

She also has her own podcast called "Your Mom." She said in a recent episode that her family couldn’t afford to splurge on a suite for the Super Bowl.

"None of us can afford it," she said. "Not even Christian, moneybags over there.

“Nor moneybags Olivia,” she continued, referring to her son’s fiancée Olivia Culpo. “So we are not in a suite. I’ll tell you that right now.”

Culpo then shared that she bought Lisa a suite.

Lisa is also a diehard Swiftie but there will be no Taylor Swift playing on her phone this week with the 49ers ready to play the Chiefs. Swift is dating Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, so Lisa is boycotting her music for Super Bowl week.

"She is (a big fan)," Ed McCaffrey said about Lisa. "(Swift) is all over her playlist, she's the biggest supporter of Travis and Taylor's relationship. We've got a piece of art hanging up in our piano room. We're in Vegas now, so we can put it aside for a week."