By Grant Gierhahn ‘20
It’s finally here, the day football fans across the globe anxiously anticipate: Super Bowl Sunday.
Super Bowl LIV (54) will kick off Sunday, Feb. 2, 2020, at 5:30 p.m. CT from Hard Rock Stadium in the breathtaking Miami Gardens, FL.
And, oh boy, are football fans due for an exhilarating battle sure to go down soundly in the annals of the NFL.
Featuring the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers, Super Bowl LIV will truly headline two powerhouses.
The Chiefs (14-4), led by magical QB and potent MVP contender Patrick Mahomes, possess unquestionably the best offense in pro football. The Chiefs’ elite offensive personnel and crafty strategy cultivate for an utter force to be reckoned with, scoring touchdowns and orchestrating momentum-altering plays at will. Despite a distinguished career, Head Coach Andy Reid, renowned offensive guru and proclaimed QB ‘whisperer,’ seeks his first Super Bowl victory in 21 years of head coaching with both the Eagles and Chiefs.
After convincingly digging out of a 24 point hole to trounce the Houston Texans in the divisional round, Kansas City edged the Tennessee Titans in the ensuing AFC Championship game. Now, the Chiefs are eager to return the Super Bowl Trophy to Kansas City for the first time in 50 years, one of the longest active droughts in the NFL today.
On the other end of the spectrum, the 49ers (15-3) are arguably the NFL’s most balanced team, excellent executors on both sides of the football. Expectedly, San Francisco has a wide array of talent up and down its roster. From experienced veterans, like CB Richard Sherman and WR Emmanuel Sanders, to relatively inexperienced stars, such as DE Nick Bosa and QB Jimmy Garoppolo, the 49ers encompass locker room leadership and team chemistry that is seemingly unparalleled compared to the rest of the league.
Led by third-year Head Coach Kyle Shanahan and poised QB Jimmy Garoppolo, the Niners’ offense is one of the most innovative in the league. In addition to their sufficient passing attack, the 49ers rushing scheme demands attention. HB Raheem Mostert scorched the Packers’ respectable defense for 220 yards on the ground and four touchdowns in a 37-20 NFC Championship win.
However, San Francisco’s real forte comes in the form of their defense, particularly against the pass. The 49ers are surrendering a mere 15 points per contest in the playoffs, allowing just 20 to the Packers and 10 to the Vikings in the divisional round. Anchored by Nick Bosa, Richard Sherman, and FS Jimmie Ward, the 49ers defense ranked 1st against the pass and 8th overall in team defense during the regular season.
What Super Bowl LIV boils down to: Kansas City’s electric offense combating San Francisco’s ferocious defense.
With both squads never losing a game by more than one possession, the Chiefs and 49ers epitomize not only preeminence, but also resiliency.
As a nail-biter almost certainly awaits, football fans simply couldn’t have asked for a better matchup.
Who will seize NFL supremacy on February 2? It’s a tossup, but may the best franchise prevail.