The Super Bowl

This is about the Super Bowl which will be played this Sunday.

So the reviews will be in, on the game and what I feel, before I sit down and write again.
I kind of like that.

No place to hide, if I have to hide at all.

So let’s get down to business and consider what I regard as a multi-faceted battle that should leave nothing on the table.

The defending champs, the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers have met before.

Quite recently as a matter of fact.

Three years ago the Chiefs rallied from a 20-10 deficit with three fourth quarter touchdowns to win 31-20.

It was a crushing turnaround for the Chiefs who gave Andy Reid his first Super Bowl title.

Kyle Shanahan, the 49ers head coach is still looking to break through.

These opponents know each other pretty much. But don’t pin your hopes on past performance.

In that last matchup, Jimmy Garoppolo was throwing the ball for the Niners.

And Tyreek Hill was catching passes thrown by Patrick Mahomes for KC.

Neither Garoppolo or Hill are still with those teams.

But Mahomes is, and right now there is nobody better in the league.

His ability to run, dance around, and extend plays is his greatest asset.  That’s tough to defend.

So if the quarterbacks are the sole barometer, the Chiefs have the obvious edge.

But don’t sell Brock Purdy short.

The unheralded second-year QB who was the very last player drafted, has led San Francisco to the elusive championship game. Had he not suffered an injured elbow against the Eagles in the NFC title showdown last year, he might have gotten to the big game.

Purdy has shown an uncanny ability to hang in until the last moment to deliver pin-point throws.

The 49ers have a multi-threat attack with Christian McCaffrey, an old school running back who looks like he may not have speed, but does, and adds power, elusiveness, and pass-catching ability.

Deebo Samuel can beat you several ways, and there’s always tight end George Kittle, who along with Kelce of the Chiefs makes this a glorious game of tight end kings.

I’m not bragging on the 49ers offense over the Chiefs, hardly, but they’re not chopped liver.

And I will never underestimate the likes of Travis Kelce, Isiah Pacheco, and, of course, the men running the show:
Patrick Mahomes on the field, and Andy Reid, the head coach and caller of plays on the sideline.

I don’t know if we’ve ever seen two better play selectors than Andy Reid and Kyle Shanahan in the same game.

That sets up a fascinating chess match between Kyle Shanahan, the 49ers head coach and play-caller against Steve Spagnuolo, the Chiefs defensive guru who is really responsible for Kansas City’s late season surge, and winning two straight road playoff games in Buffalo and Baltimore.

That’s not to be underestimated.

Meanwhile, the 49ers struggled in outlasting the Packers and the Lions at home without playing nearly their best football.

When I see good teams win while not playing well, I make them an extra threat.

I know those who swear by momentum find this hard to believe.

But I believe every game is an entity in itself.

It may appear that momentum is a factor, and it is during the game as the action flows from one side to another.

But every time a team takes the field there are new situations, new matchups, and new reactions that direct the game to a new shape.

It’s never a case of which team is better.

It’s which team plays better.

How can anyone figure when there will be a dropped pass, or a bad throw, or a tipped ball, a deflection, or a missed block, or a fumble, an interception, a missed kick, a critical penalty, or an officials’ call?

That’s what makes games so appealing, particularly the Super Bowl.

There is one factor that that I’m curious to watch.

It has to do with the defense.

Doesn’t defense ultimately decide this game?

The 49ers have to shore up their play on that side of the ball.

They have not played hard all the way, meaning tackles in the open field, tackles in general, and pressure up front.

They know this.

It’s more difficult when you have a Patrick Mahomes testing your stamina.

Not knowing how the game will evolve, I look at the big picture.

There are two things. One has nothing to do with football, the other does.

I do not bet on any sport. Never have. But I notice the betting line in games out of curiosity.

As of this writing, the 49ers are favored by 2 points.

In light of how the Chiefs have been playing, their Super Bowl experience and triumphs, Mahomes as their leader, I ask why?

When I see that, and wonder why the world isn’t pouring money on Kansas City, my sense is that there is a reason.

And that may be that the 49ers will win.

Just a thought.

The other factor that I think about is hunger.

Look, we all know that both teams know what’s at stake.

They’re both hungry to win.

But I wonder whether the 49ers have that extra ounce of hunger to finally win a Super Bowl trophy that has been so hard to grab onto.

I know I’m going out on a limb but I think they do.

Like I said, the reviews will be in before I write again.

No hiding here.