MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The celebrity factor is always high at the Final Four, and Texas Tech and Michigan State each had a hotshot NFL quarterback on their side in the house in Minneapolis.
Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes III rooted on his Red Raiders, with Chiefs teammate Travis Kelce sitting next to him in the seats. Texas Tech players say having him there helped motivate them to victory. Players say he addressed the team prior to tip-off.
Minnesota’s Kirk Cousins cheered on his Spartans, in the same stadium where he’ll play for the Vikings in the fall.
Cousins and Mahomes traded tweets earlier in the day, with Cousins sending a #GoGreen hash tag with a GIF of the Sparty mascot at Mahomes. Mahomes directed a #GunsUp hash tag with a GIF of mascot Raider Red at Cousins.
Both NFL stars were shown on the scoreboard, prompting loud roars from the respective fan bases.
Cousins is third on the current NFL list of average annual contract value for quarterbacks at $28 million. Mahomes, the 2018 NFL MVP, is 32nd at $4.1 million.