LSU’s most recent national championship is in the distant past.

Even though it happened barely 2 years ago, it seems a lot longer in college football terms.

The entire coaching staff is gone and virtually every player that contributed to the 15-0 season and 2019 title has moved on as well.

But the Tigers are reaping benefits from that historic season.

The NFL regular season and playoffs have provided reminders of that championship run, primarily through the exploits of 2 of the principal players – Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase.

Burrow helped lead his second set of Bengal Tigers to the AFC North title, the franchise’s first division championship in 6 years. He guided them to a home playoff win against the Raiders. Then they went to Tennessee and took out the top-seeded Titans to reach the AFC Championship Game at Kansas City, where they beat the 2-time defending AFC champion Chiefs.

The Bengals are in the Super Bowl for the first time since the 1981 season, thanks in large part to a pair of LSU Tigers.

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Chase, a second-team All-Pro selection as a rookie, had more than 100 yards receiving in each of the first 2 playoff games and scored 2 touchdowns in the overtime win against the Chiefs on Sunday.

Now Burrow and Chase are off to the Super Bowl to face the NFC champion Rams in their home stadium in Los Angeles on Feb. 13.

Burrow, who won the 2019 Heisman Trophy by record margin, enjoys mentioning LSU whenever he gets the opportunity. He recognizes the significance of the figurative bridge he crossed in Baton Rouge, La., to get from the Ohio State bench in Columbus, Ohio to the pinnacle of the NFL in Cincinnati.

Each time Chase scores a touchdown – 13 of his 81 regular-season catches went for scores – he reprises the celebratory dance that became nationally known when he caught 20 touchdown passes during LSU’s championship run.

The Burrow-Chase show is a reminder of just how magical that 2019 LSU season was.

The Bengals were not expected to win their division or even make the playoffs as a wild card this season. They were underdogs in their two road playoff games and have given NFL fans inclined to cheer for underdogs a new team to embrace.

That emotional pull is strongest in Louisiana, which embraced Burrow as an honorary citizen for his 2 seasons at LSU and still sees him as a native son and where Chase was born and played high school football in suburban New Orleans.

With the New Orleans Saints missing the playoffs for the first time in 5 seasons, and absorbing the unexpected resignation of head coach Sean Payton last week while still reeling from Drew Brees’ retirement 10 months earlier, Louisiana football fans have taken to cheering for the Bengals in much the same way that Ohio football fans took to cheering for LSU two years ago.

The Super Bowl is 2 weeks away and during that time, Burrow and Chase will be the players on the AFC champions that are featured most prominently.

It’s worth noting that the NFC champions feature a couple of former LSU players that figure to be featured prominently as well – tackle Andrew Whitworth (a starter on the 2003 LSU national champions) and wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (a freshman on the 2011 undefeated SEC champions and national runners-up).

Wednesday is Signing Day for high school football players. New LSU coach Brian Kelly is still trying to cobble together a respectable recruiting class after inheriting a program that had 5-5 and 6-7 records after that championship season under Ed Orgeron.

The exploits of Burrow, Chase, Whitworth and Beckham might not help Kelly land a single recruit.

But for a program struggling to restore its brand, a reminder to the football world what the LSU program can be and has been in the recent past surely can’t hurt.