Football Family with Ties to UMKC Enjoys Super Bowl Victory

Former Kansas City Chiefs player and current UMKC staff member helped cheer his son to two Super Bowl wins.

Jerry Blanton, Associate Director of the Student Union, thought watching his son win the Super Bowl was a once in a lifetime experience. Then it happened again.

Talent and athletic ability run deep in the Blanton family. Jerry Blanton was drafted out of the University of Kentucky by the Buffalo Bills. After a short stint in New York, he came to Missouri and signed with the Kansas City Chiefs. Blanton played  linebacker for the Chiefs for seven seasons.

“I loved playing football. Back then the game was different, and I enjoyed being on the field, working hard and playing in Kansas City.”

Jerry Blanton, wearing number 57, plays for Kansas City Chiefs

When Blanton retired from the NFL, he immediately began taking steps to fulfill his lifelong dream of working in law enforcement. As a kid he always dreamt of becoming an FBI agent and while in college, he prioritized his studies with that end goal in mind. Blanton worked for a number of years as a lead investigator for the Kansas City’s prosecutor’s office in the drug and sex crimes unit.

After several years in that role, he sought out a new opportunity in a different industry working as an area manager for a major beer distributor. Blanton enjoyed that role for a number of years before moving to Kentucky to serve as Deputy Commissioner over more than 52 state parks and 17 resorts.

“That was one of the best jobs I’ve ever had. I loved the work and was challenged by it. At the time I was the highest-ranking African-American ever appointed in the history of Kentucky’s State Parks Department and took pride in it.”

But with a young son and daughter back in Missouri, Blanton needed to get back to the Show-Me state.

 Jerry Blanton (left) with son Kendall Blanton (right) 

Upon his return to Missouri, Blanton started working out regularly with his son Kendall, a basketball and football player in his grade school years. Blanton enjoyed working out with his son and helping instill strong values including work ethic, compassion, kindness and love.

 Kendall Blanton played football at the University of Missouri 

“I always taught him to have a strong work ethic and to be humble. At times when he was defeated or down on himself I’d tell him ‘sometimes you have to go through the back door to open the front,’ meaning keep working hard and trying your best and things will work out.”

 Kendall Blanton after winning Superbowl 56l 

Things certainly did work out for Kendall Blanton. After graduating from the University of Missouri, Kendall signed with the LA Rams as a free agent. When the Rams starting tight end got injured, Blanton was the next man up on the roster and became the starting tight end for Super Bowl 56 in 2022. In his third season with the LA Rams, Blanton got to start in the big game and win a championship.

Then, Kendall signed with the Chiefs for the 2023 season, and once again found himself on the winner's podium, earning a second consecutive Super Bowl ring.

 Kendall Blanton poses with sister Kelsey after Superbowl 56.

“I always tell my son how proud of I am of him for living his dream. Winning a Super Bowl is something few NFL players get to experience and I’m so proud of him for accomplishing that milestone and getting this experience.”

“I’m a little jealous. I never made it to the playoffs,” Blanton said the day after the 2023 game. “I’m living through him now. If you play any sport, you want to get to the peak, and he’s done that twice now.”

Published: Feb 21, 2022
Posted In: Our People

Top Stories