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Super Bowl 50 Combatants Have Ties to San Francisco 49ers

Enjoy the best photos of members of the San Francisco 49ers past and present represented at Super Bowl 50 events.

SAN FRANCISCO – Super Bowl 50 will undoubtedly be littered with Bay Area storylines.

Such is the case when the biggest game in professional sports will celebrate its golden anniversary in the region's state-of-the-art billion-dollar venue, Levi's® Stadium.

When the Denver Broncos and Carolina Panthers clash this Sunday, several coaches and players will have unique ties to the San Francisco 49ers, the franchise that calls the Super Bowl stadium its home for eight regular-season games every season.

View some of the best images from the San Francisco 49ers participation in media swarms at six Super Bowls.

One of the biggest connections between Super Bowl 50 and the 49ers starts with the head coach of the AFC Champions. Gary Kubiak was also on San Francisco's Super Bowl XXIX-winning team as the franchise's quarterbacks coach. Kubiak held the post for one season before moving on to be Denver's offensive coordinator for two more World Championship-winning clubs.

Kubiak reflected on his experiences in 1994 with the 49ers during Super Bowl Opening Night festivities. When asked to name his biggest mentors in the coaching profession, Kubiak referenced his ties to Denver and San Francisco.

"I grew up under (former NFL player and Head Coach) Dan Reeves," the current Broncos coach said. "That was my coach my whole career at Denver. Obviously, learned a lot from Dan. I had a brief stop with (former NFL Head Coach) George Seifert, a very successful head coach in this league, and then, obviously, (former NFL Head Coach) Mike (Shanahan) has probably been the biggest influence on my career.

"I've been very fortunate to be around some good people."

Carolina's coaching staff also has links to the 49ers and the Bay Area. Head coach Ron Rivera was a star linebacker at Cal-Berkeley. Panthers special teams coordinator Bruce DeHaven held the same title in San Francisco from 2000-02.

DeHaven, 67, has been one of the most inspirational NFL stories of the 2015 season. The man with 28 years of coaching experience was diagnosed with prostate cancer back in May and has elected to continue his coaching career while undergoing treatment.

"Well, it seems like a pretty good decision now, doesn't it?" DeHaven told reporters on Monday night. "You never know."

"I like what I'm doing," the coordinator went on to say. "I wake up in the morning and say, 'Man, thank you so much for letting me do this again. This is so much fun.'"

In addition to DeHaven, Carolina assistant offensive line coach Ray Brown played for the 49ers from 1996-01 and coached offensive linemen for the club in 2010.

Brown spoke highly of his experiences in San Francisco and how two coaches (Hall of Fame coach Bill Walsh) and inspirational offensive line coach (Bobb McKittrick) helped shape his own path in life.

Every piece of championship jewelry, starting with what the 1967 Green Bay Packers have to memorialize their win.

"Bobb McKittrick and Bill Walsh, guys who were very influential in my life, not just from a coaching standpoint but being a man," Brown said via "They helped me out. Those are the guys that pushed me in that direction to coach." Beyond the sidelines and coaching booths, several players on the field will be familiar to fans of the 49ers.

Most notably tight end Vernon Davis will make his return to San Francsico's home venue. The franchise's most prolific tight end was traded to Denver midseason, but he was able to reflect on what returning to Santa Clara means to him.

"I'm back in Santa Clara where I grew up from a little boy to a man," Davis said. "I'm back here. My house is 12 minutes away. It's been a great experience and I look forward to the rest."

Ironically, Davis' quest for a first Super Bowl ring will be against his former position coach. Pete Hoener, Carolina's current tight ends coach, helped mold Davis into a Pro Bowl player. Hoener worked with the 49ers from 2005-10, coaching Davis for five productive seasons.

"He did so much for me," Davis said of his former position coach. "He did a lot as far as teaching me the game of football from a tight ends perspective, route running and blocking… He's like a father figure to me."

Another notable player with ties to the 49ers is Panthers wide receiver Ted Ginn Jr. The breakout receiver and Cam Newton's deep ball target also shared his emotions on returning to the Bay Area after playing for the 49ers from 2010-12.

"It's great to be back in the Bay," he said. "You know, my kids are here. They were born here. So it's just great. There are a lot of memories here. You know, I went to a Super Bowl with the Bay, you know? So it's a great feeling to come back here."

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