Super Bowl LIV is one of the most intriguing Super Bowls of all time. Unlike almost every season, where 99% of America is rooting against the New England Patriots, there is a new gem representing the AFC this season, and probably for many seasons to come. However, picking this game just became harder, as the team representing the NFC arguably has been the most complete team during the 2019 season.
Without further ado, here is the case for each team to hoist the Lombardi Trophy, and to make their case for the rest of history in what may be one of the greatest Super Bowl matchups of all time.
The Case for the San Francisco 49ers
Running the ball, throwing off of play action, and dominating the opposing quarterback with a 4-man pass rush seems like a very simple plan to victory. Especially with a run game as devastating as that of the 49ers, one can easily argue that San Fran’s plan of playing the time of possession game is justifiable here.
Their stout defense can help preserve the lead created by their powerful rushing attack, and their ability to get after the passer while not giving up anything deep is a clear formula to winning the time of possession game, which they have done very well against teams all season. Very rarely have the 49ers had to compete against opponents who could keep scoring on their elite defense (at least when healthy).
The good news for 49ers fans is that all 53 players are good to go. Diversifying the running plays and keeping the Chiefs’ defense second-guessing is the plan while letting Nick Bosa, Dee Ford, DeForest Buckner, and Arik Armstead get after the opposing quarterback.
The Case for the Kansas City Chiefs
The issue, at least for the 49ers, is that Kansas City has the most talented player to have ever entered the game. Patrick Mahomes is a freak at every level and can make any throw off of any platform to perfection.
It also helps that the Chiefs have a receiving core that resembles a 4-by-100 track team, with speedsters Tyreek Hill, Sammy Watkins, and Mecole Hardman Jr all being explosive downfield threats to go along with one-of-a-kind tight end Travis Kelce.
This Chiefs offense is pretty much set for the next decade, and their dominance throughout the playoffs has been completely unprecedented (that is, outside of their slow starts). If Kansas City starts strong and does not take their foot off the gas pedal, there is nothing that can stop them, unfortunately for the 49ers.
Steve Spagnuolo has also transformed this Kansas City defense. Over the last 10 games, they’ve been one of the best in the league at keeping opponents out of scoring territory, and have been very good against the passing game, especially with versatile chess pieces such as hybrid safety-slot cornerback Tyrann Mathieu, who is indeed the heart and soul of this Chiefs defense.
Kansas City also has Frank Clark and Chris Jones (who’s in for a heavy payday), who can just rush the passer at will and disintegrate a once-clean pocket. The improvement of Spag’s defense has arguably been the one thing Kansas City needed to push for the Lombardi Trophy this season.
So, who wins? There is no winning here, at least from a predictor’s point of view. Every advantage one team has can be neutralized by an advantage the opponent has. Quite simply, this is very very difficult to pick, which explains why the spread is very low for this game.
This is one of the most hype-filled Super Bowls in a while, and for good reason. However, Kansas City will probably come out victorious, mainly because they have the best player in football at the most important position on the team. Simply put, picking against Patrick Mahomes is a recipe for disaster, so there’s no point in doing so.
This game is the perfect instance of an immovable object (San Francisco) meeting an unstoppable force (Kansas City), and while Kansas City will probably win, it definitely will not be easy.