Opinion

Who should Chiefs fans root for in the NFC Championship Game?

If the Kansas City Chiefs can beat the Tennessee Titans at Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday they will be headed to the Super Bowl in Miami.

The Chiefs have not played in the big game since Super Bowl IV. That game was played on January 11, 1970 at Tulane Stadium in New Orleans. For those of you who are not good at math, that was 50 years ago! To put it into perspective, as bad as the Kansas City Royals were for so many years, they only went 29 years in between World Series appearances. And only 30 years between World Series wins. I am 46 years old, so I have essentially been waiting my whole life to see the Chiefs play in the Super Bowl.

After watching the AFC Divisional Round Game against the Houston Texans, I feel like this current Chiefs team has the best shot of any team I’ve watched in my lifetime to make it to the dance. If the Chiefs make it to the Super Bowl, which NFC team would I rather they face?

There are many factors one could look at when deciding which NFC team to root for this Sunday. You could look at their regular season record, playoff seeding, or how each team has played in the playoffs so far. You could look at their team strengths and weaknesses and then determine how they match up against the Chiefs strengths and weaknesses. Let’s look at the two possible teams the Chiefs could face in the Super Bowl, the San Francisco 49ers and the Green Bay Packers.

Both teams finished the regular season with a 13-3 record. San Francisco is the number one seed in the NFC and Green Bay is the number two seed. Both teams handled their opponents in the NFC Divisional Round Games as well. So, looking at these factors, it is pretty much a wash. Although San Francisco completely routed Green Bay in week 12 by a score of 37 to 8.

It is when we look at team strengths and weaknesses that we start to notice a difference between the two teams. According to NFL.com, the 49ers rank 8th in total offense and 1st in total defense. The Packers are ranked 6th in total offense and 8th in total defense. If we dig a little deeper, the 49ers are ranked 11th in passing offense and 2nd in rushing. They also rank 3rd in pass defense and 1st in run defense. The Packers are ranked 6th in passing offense and 8th in rushing. On defense they are 8th against the pass and 4th against the run. All these ranks are based on yards per game.

If we were to judge these teams based on the rankings above, it would appear that Green Bay might be a little better on offense, but the 49ers are way better on defense. The rankings on Pro Football Reference are somewhat different but they tell the same story. The San Francisco 49ers are really good on defense. I think we all know where the Kansas City Chiefs strengths lie. The Chiefs have proved time and time again that they can be an offensive juggernaut . Shouldn’t we want to play against the weaker defense?

What if we look at scoring offense and scoring defense rankings? These rankings tell a different story. According to The Football Database, the 49ers rank 2nd in scoring offense and the Packers rank 15th. The Chiefs rank 5th in scoring offense by comparison. When looking at scoring defense, I was surprised by the rankings. The Kansas City Chiefs ranked higher than both NFC teams. Actually, they go in order, Chiefs are 7th, 49ers 8th, and the Packer are 9th.

The above rankings are based on regular season performance. We all know that everything is intensified in the playoffs. Every single player on the field takes it up a notch. It is also a time when the superstars of the league shine while some struggle to overcome nerves, particularly early in the game. Aaron Rogers already has a Super Bowl ring and he knows what it takes to win the big game. San Francisco has their own former champ in defensive stalwart Richard Sherman. These two players give their teams an advantage that cannot be quantified by statistics.

While they have yet to win a championship, the Chiefs have a few players that can take over a game and will their team to victory. Patrick Mahomes is the epitome of this. He showed the entire league last week that no lead is big enough to overcome. Certainly he did not do it by himself but it was his leadership, his composure, and otherworldly ability that brought the team back from the brink of collapse to totally crush the Texans. Based on the above rankings, I would feel better about facing the Green Bay Packers in the Super Bowl. But I will give one more important reason: revenge. The revenge tour is already in full swing. Three out of the four Chiefs losses this year came against playoff teams. The Chiefs destroyed the Texans last week which leaves the Titans and Packers. If the Chiefs beat the Titans this weekend, that makes two out of three. Beating the Packers for the Lombardi Trophy would complete the trifecta.

The storylines for this match up would be fantastic as well. It is the 100th season of the NFL. It is the Chiefs 60th season. It has been 50 years since the Chiefs played in a Super Bowl (the name Super Bowl was coined by the late Chiefs owner Lamar Hunt, by the way). What better way to cap off the 100th NFL season then a rematch of the very first Super Bowl? In that contest, the Packers won 35-10 with Hall of Famer Bart Starr being named Super Bowl MVP.

I know they still must get past the Titans this week and that is no small task. But after the Chiefs performance in the Divisional Round, I have a ton of confidence that this team can go the distance. I believe they can beat any opponent they may face if they play like they did last week. I believe that a Packers/Chiefs Super Bowl is what NFL fans deserve. We were robbed of this matchup earlier this season due to Mahomes’ injury and yet the Chiefs still almost won. A dual of ultra-talented QBs, the more experienced Rogers against the young superstar Mahomes. I can’t think of a more entertaining contest to bring the 100th season to a close.

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