Former Panthers Christian McCaffrey, Sam Darnold, Steve Wilks headed to Super Bowl LVIII

A few old friends are about to play on the biggest stage in all of professional sports.

On Sunday night, the San Francisco 49ers completed an improbable comeback to top the Detroit Lions and capture this year’s George Halas Trophy. And leading the charge for the newly-crowned NFC champions was none other than former Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey.

The All-Pro rusher and Offensive Player of the Year favorite recorded a game-high 132 yards from scrimmage. He rushed for 90 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries and reeled in four passes for 42 more yards in the 34-31 victory.

McCaffrey, who was traded by the Panthers in the middle of the 2022 campaign, is now headed for the first Super Bowl appearance of his career. Oh, and he’s not going alone.

Joining McCaffrey is former Panthers interim head coach and 49ers defensive coordinator Steve Wilks, who nearly shut out Ben Johnson’s high-powered offense in the second half of the contest. Wilks’ orchestration helped San Francisco overcome a 17-point halftime deficit, the largest such comeback in Conference Championship history.

The Charlotte, N.C. native took over for former head coach Matt Rhule last season—after the Panthers’ Week 5 loss to (oddly enough) the 49ers. Despite getting the team to the doorstep of the playoffs and garnering a swell of support for the full-time gig, the organization moved on from Wilks last January.

So, congratulations to McCaffrey, Wilks and, of course, quarterback Sam Darnold.

Story originally appeared on Panthers Wire