Sunday, February 2, 2020

LIV

When the Philadelphia Eagles faced the New England Patriots a couple of years ago in the Super Bowl, I, as an Eagles-divisional-rival-Cowboys fan and a non-Bostonian, living, breathing human being was faced with a conundrum: do I cheer for the hated Eagles or the nefarious Patriots? Well, imagine being an Oakland resident Raiders fan this year as the Kansas City Chiefs line up against the San Francisco 49ers this year in Super Bowl LIV. Who do you want to win? Your divisional rival Chiefs or Bay area nemesis 49ers? Oh, it gets worse, regardless of the outcome, your team is packing up the U-Hauls and moving to Las Vegas.

For the rest of us though, we get a magnificent match-up. I've got no skin in the game short of not particularly wanting the Niners to pick up their sixth Super Bowl victory or really wanting a scumbag like Tyreek Hill to win anything. Will Andy Reid finally get a ring after his 207 career regular-season wins and 14 career playoff wins, both most all-time by a head coach to never win a Super Bowl or NFL Championship, or will Kyle Shanahan put to bed the 28-3 nightmare when he was the Falcons offensive coordinator and make him and dad Mike the first Super Bowl winning father-son coaches? Jimmy GQ or Kermit Mahomes, Kelce or Kittle, Spagnuolo or Saleh, as usual, there's no shortage of matchups to watch.

It'll come down to whether or not the Niners can contain Mahomes rushing just their four linemen and if the Chiefs run defense renaissance is for real. With both Reid and Shanahan opening up their play books there's a near non-zero chance we get another snoozer like last year's game. The aforementioned Tyreek Hill and fellow speedster Mecole Hardiman are a constant threat to go deep, but if I'm a Niners fan, Travis Kelce scares me as he could take over the game finding holes in the zone; Kelce for 15, Kelce over the middle, breaks a tackle, Kelce in the corner of the endzone. I can see Deebo Samuels or of course George Kittle being the game breaker for the 49ers, but for Chiefs fans, the dread in the pit of their stomach has to come from the Niners three-headed running attack of Coleman, Mostert and Breida.

Having said all that, I'm gonna say that if the Chiefs win, it'll be LeSean McCoy making the big play. After all, what better way to wrap up the decade than with the player who gained the most yards from scrimmage in the 2010s with 13,923, outdistancing 2nd place Julio Jones by almost 1700 yards. Oh, he also led the NFL in rushing with 10,434 when only two others (Adrian Peterson and the ageless Frank Gore) broke 8000 and was the only player to score more than 500 points with 514. As for the Niners, I'm calling the fullbacks number as I think Shanahan will cook something up for Kyle Juszczyk to top the Philly Special. In fact, book the latter, I'm calling it 34-28 49ers.

Here's a picture most NFL fans will enjoy; Bill Belichik not in the Super Bowl but at Gronk's Beach Party:


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