Chiefs eye back-to-back titles, while 49ers out for revenge
There’s no need to check your eyes if Super Bowl LVIII has a familiar look.
Just four years after the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers met in the big game, the two foes are back for a rematch in the Super Bowl on Feb. 11 in Las Vegas.
San Francisco took a 10-point lead into the fourth quarter of that matchup on Feb. 2, 2020, in Miami Gardens, Fla., before the Chiefs scored 21 points to claim a 31-20 victory.
Kansas City also won last season’s Super Bowl, 38-35 over the Philadelphia Eagles. The franchise is 3-2 in Super Bowls, the first win coming in Super Bowl IV to cap the 1969 season.
The Chiefs qualified for this year’s game with Sunday’s 17-10 road victory over the Baltimore Ravens. Now they will look to become the first franchise to repeat as Super Bowl champions since the New England Patriots (2003 and 2004 seasons).
“Now we’re in the Super Bowl and the job’s not done,” Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes said. “We got to go out there to Vegas and play a great team and see if we can go out there and get the Super Bowl.”
Mahomes, a two-time Super Bowl MVP, will be making his fourth Super Bowl start. The only quarterbacks to start more are legends Tom Brady (10) and John Elway (five).
Chiefs coach Andy Reid will be coaching in his fifth Super Bowl, tied for third most with former Dallas Cowboys legend Tom Landry. Bill Belichick (nine) and Don Shula (six) are the only two to coach in more.
Meanwhile, the 49ers have been knocking on the championship door during Kyle Shanahan’s coaching tenure.
The loss to the Chiefs was the only time San Francisco made it to the Super Bowl under Shanahan. But the lead got away — just like it did when the Atlanta Falcons blew a 25-point lead when Shanahan was offensive coordinator for an epic meltdown in Super Bowl LI.
The 49ers were the top seed in the NFC this season and reached the Super Bowl with Sunday’s 34-31 comeback win over the Detroit Lions in the conference championship.
The feeling is that it is time for this version of the 49ers to win the franchise’s sixth Super Bowl title, and first since the 1994 season.
“There’s been unfinished business for a while,” Shanahan said after the win over the Lions. “Our team has been set up for this for a long time. It’s been a long year to get to this point.”
While the Chiefs possess arguably the best quarterback in the game in Mahomes and his 14-3 career postseason record, the 49ers have seen Brock Purdy go from Mr. Irrelevant as the last pick of the 2022 NFL Draft to one of the most relevant signal-callers in the game.
Purdy (24 years, 46 days) will be the third-youngest quarterback to start a Super Bowl and has given San Francisco stability at the position.
Jimmy Garoppolo was the starter when the 49ers lost to the Chiefs four years ago, and the organization thought it would be better served using the No. 3 overall pick in 2021 on Trey Lance. That decision turned out to be a colossal blunder, but Purdy saved the day with his emergence and is already a bona fide star.
Both teams have star tight ends (Travis Kelce for the Chiefs, George Kittle for the 49ers) and an upper-echelon pass rusher (Chris Jones for the Chiefs, Nick Bosa for the 49ers).
San Francisco’s Christian McCaffrey is one of the NFL’s top all-around running backs, while few backs run harder than Kansas City’s Isiah Pacheco.
Both teams have celebrity fans who can’t wait to hit the Las Vegas Strip while using their best moves and distractions to avoid the crush of paparazzi. But only one of these teams (the Chiefs) has Taylor Swift cheering for them.
But it won’t turn into “Swift Week” leading up to the big game, as Kelce’s girlfriend won’t be anywhere near Vegas until the eve of the contest. She will be serenading Kelce with “You Belong With Me” from Tokyo with four straight concerts scheduled from Feb 7-10.
So, let the Super Bowl hype begin.
–Field Level Media