By Tyler Devine
IOWA CITY, Iowa – Iowa assistant defensive line coach Jay Niemann has seen his sons play a lot of football.
On Sunday, Niemann will watch them play against each other as professional football players for the first time.
Niemann’s oldest son, Ben, is a linebacker for the Chiefs. The younger son, Nick, is a linebacker for the Chargers. Both Niemann boys are former Hawkeyes.
“It’s a unique feeling to say the least to see the two of them going head-to-head on the field,” Jay Niemann said. “We’re appreciative of the opportunity they both have, obviously. I can’t tell you who I’m going to root for from a team standpoint. But what does make it easy is, since they both play defense and they go against the opposing team’s offense, all we have to do is cheer for the defense, so that makes it easy.”
Ben Niemann played in 53 games during his Hawkeye career before entering the NFL as an undrafted free agent in 2018. He is now in his fourth season with the Chiefs and won a Super Bowl with the team in 2019.
Nick Niemann played in 43 games as a Hawkeye and was a third-team All-Big Ten selection as a senior in 2020. He was drafted by the Chargers in the sixth round of the 2021 NFL Draft.
Not bad for a couple guys from Sycamore, Illinois, who had five recruiting stars and six Power Five scholarship offers between the two of them.
At one point, Ben Niemann was committed to play wide receiver at Northern Illinois where Jay Niemann was the defensive coordinator from 2011-15.
Unfortunately, Jay will not be able to watch in person as Iowa has a quick turnaround before its Friday night showdown at Maryland next week.
“My wife is going to be the one there in attendance,” Jay Niemann said. “We’re working and preparing for a short week with Maryland coming up, so I’m going to record it and watch it when I get home some time Sunday night. At that point in time it’ll all be over with. Hopefully, they just enjoy the competition and stay healthy in the process.”