SALT LAKE CITY — Alex Smith’s name continues to pop up in conversation following the Kansas City Chiefs’ 31-20 win over the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LIV.

Actor Paul Rudd, a noted Chiefs fan, shared his thoughts on the former Utah quarterback’s impact on the foundation Kansas City has built, culminating in a Super Bowl title last Sunday at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida.

“Honestly, I kept thinking about Alex Smith. Alex Smith, who I believe is the most underappreciated player in the NFL and has been for a decade, all he did was win. He did everything, handled himself with grace. He was a huge part in all of this,” Rudd told the NFL Network during the Chiefs’ Super Bowl parade Wednesday. 

Smith, who led the Utes to their first BCS appearance in 2004, was Kansas City’s starting quarterback from 2013-17, leading them to the postseason four of those five seasons before being traded to Washington before the 2018 season. He provided mentorship to current Chiefs starter Patrick Mahomes, the Super Bowl LIV MVP, during his rookie season in 2017.

“Understandably, we all love Mahomes. Big part of the whole first year (of Patrick’s development). Alex just did it, and helped him along,” said Rudd, who plays Ant-Man in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and last month gave a shoutout to former BYU safety Daniel Sorensen, who won his first Super Bowl title Sunday with the Chiefs. “That guy really won some huge games for us and even games where we didn’t pull through, he played great. I just ahh, wish Alex was here, (I’d) give him a hug.” 

Celebrity and local native Paul Rudd rides in a golf cart during a parade through downtown Kansas City, Mo., Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2020, to celebrate the Kansas City Chiefs victory in the NFL’s Super Bowl LIV. | Reed Hoffmann, Associated Press

Two Utes won a Super Bowl ring with the Chiefs Sunday. Rookie offensive tackle Jackson Barton joined the franchise in mid-November, and Kansas City defensive quality control coach Alex Whittingham, the son of Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham, has been with the Chiefs the past two seasons.

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Smith’s influence

Mahomes credited Smith, who was taken No. 1 overall in the 2005 NFL draft by San Francisco, for his part in the Chiefs building a Super Bowl-winning franchise.

“He wasn’t there, but he was part of it — I think that’s the biggest thing. He built the culture that I came into,” Mahomes told ESPN. “He was the guy that led the team to all these successful seasons and built that winning culture.”

He also earned praise for how he handled the situation with Mahomes from his coach in Kansas City, Andy Reid, the former BYU lineman and grad assistant who earned his first Super Bowl ring to cap his 21st season as an NFL head coach.

“He wasn’t asked to do this, but he let Patrick into his world, and Patrick handled it the right way,” Reid said of Smith. “He was humble around Alex and didn’t try to overstep his bounds with Alex but yet competed.”