For the second year in a row, a player born in the United Kingdom will be attempting to lift the Vince Lombardi Trophy on Super Bowl Sunday.
It was Philadelphia Eagles running back Jay Ajayi who capped the 2017 season with a Super Bowl victory over the New England Patriots. This weekend, it will be Patriots London-born safety Obi Melifonwu hoping to do the same to put an exclamation point on the 2018 campaign.
The physically-impressive 6-foot-4, 224-pound safety was born in London before moving to the United States and growing up as a fierce Patriots fan in Massachusetts.
"This is awesome," Melifonwu tells NFLUK.com. "I was born in Islington before moving to America and I still have a lot of family over there on my mum's side. To be able to experience this and have them experience this with me is something special.
I had a lot of family come over for the Vikings game earlier this season and that was really special to have them watch me play an American football game."
Melifonwu was a second round draft pick of the Oakland Raiders in 2017. He recorded 7 tackles in an injury-hit rookie campaign and was released by the Silver and Black in October 2018. The former Connecticut star inked a deal with the Patriots in early November and recorded three tackles in the regular season.
In New England's AFC Championship Game win over Kansas City, Melifonwu recorded one tackle and is now hoping for some serious trans-Atlantic support on Super Bowl Sunday.
"Being five hours ahead here in the US, it is going to be a late night for my family back in the UK," Melifonwu laughs. "I have about three or four uncles over there, three aunts and they all have kids who are rooting for me. To still have ties over there is a blessing. It's sad that I haven't been able to go back over there because of football and all the hard work we put in but hopefully I get back over there in the near future.
"That would definitely be a special moment. The last time I was over in the UK I was 10 years old and now I'm 24 so 14 years is a long time. That would be something special to do. I want to enjoy that time with family."
As he prepares for the biggest game of his football life, Melifonwu is excited to fly the flag for the United Kingdom and to suit up for the team he has supported since he was a young boy.
The 24-year-old defensive back admits: "This is definitely a dream come true because I have been a Patriots fan for as long as I can remember. It is a dream to be a part of this organisation and I'm grateful for the opportunity the Patriots gave me. I don't take it for granted and every day I go into work, I go in with a purpose and to help this team achieve success."
While the hour will be late in London on the night of the Super Bowl, Melifonwu is hoping that his big day can influence and inspire young fans in the United Kingdom.
"It's not every day a kid from Islington plays in the Super Bowl," Melifonwu concludes. "I want to inspire those kids who are growing up and have a dream and something they want to aspire to do. It takes a lot of sacrifice and a lot of work but everything is possible with prayer and hard work."
"Being born in London is definitely something special and I hope all the fans in the UK will be cheering us on across the pond and I appreciate those guys."