On Sunday night, the NFL saw two juggernauts clash in the final chapter of the NFL’s centennial season.
The San Francisco 49ers and our beloved Kansas City Chiefs took the field in Miami and the game certainly didn’t disappoint. It was a game that showed how much teams can improve over the course of a season, as shown by KC, and how teams can win with consistency like San Fran. The game saw just about everything that each team does well, including a few surprises along the way.
The first of those surprises, despite them being the favorites according to various polls and takes from analysts and fans alike, was that Kansas City pulled off the victory. It felt like everyone other than San Francisco and New England (salty much?) were excited that the Chiefs got the W. It had been 50 years since Kansas City last won a Super Bowl, ending a wait that satisfied the undying patience of the strongest and most loyal fan base in all of football. For the most part, it felt unreal, like a dream come true.
Another shock was the little ways each team tweaked their game plans. We saw the Chiefs actually run the ball. Who knew that was possible? Damien Williams served as the lead back, rushing the ball 17 times at 6 yards per carry, making big plays the whole game. On top of that, we saw the 49ers move to a more balanced offense, with Jimmy Garoppolo slinging the pigskin 31 times.
Of course, where there are surprises, there are many things that aren’t worth much shock value. One of those things is that Kansas City was able to come back from a 10-point deficit in the 2nd half. Kansas City did that in the two postseason games prior, coming back from down 24-0 to the Houston Texans (a game in which they dropped 51) and 17-7 to the Tennessee Titans.
Patrick Mahomes has done so much that he can’t fool anyone. He’s going to be good every night he hits the field. The Super Bowl LIV MVP is the second player to win the MVP and the Super Bowl in his first 3 seasons. Talk about legendary. He’s only 24 and has done something that could very well make him an all-time great.
The 49ers were still stars in their own right. The front seven again proved to be monstrous, giving Mahomes fits all night. Fred Warner lurked and picked off a pass in the middle of the field that seemed to deflate the Chiefs in the 3rd quarter, and Defensive Rookie of the Year Nick Bosa had a strip sack and multiple hits throughout the game. The rest of the defensive line gave the KC QB some trouble, chasing him around the field like a pack of wolves.
The game was both high scoring and slow paced at the same time, with a surprising number of 3-and-outs for a game that ended 31-20. Both teams were in the feeling out process for much of the first half. Kyle Shanahan and Andy Reid were engaged in a chess match for the ages. Reid went deep into his bag of tricks, using speed options and power options to keep the San Francisco edges guessing. Shanahan used rookie wide receiver Deebo Samuel as a runner on many plays which resulted in 53 yards on just 3 rushes, the longest of which being 32 yards. Andy Reid won this game, his first Super bBowl, but Shanahan proved he’s the best young coach in all of football.
This year’s Super Bowl showed us many things: the strength of two teams who could run the league potentially for years to come: the greatness of Patrick Mahomes, the ferocity of the 49ers defense on the big stage, the surprising versatility of KC’s offense, and Andy Reid’s amazing adoration for all things food. If this game was the shape of things to come, then the future looks bright.