I’m about to unveil my official pick for Super Bowl LIV. But before that happens, let’s take a moment to appreciate and soak in what we have right in front of us.
We have the picture-perfect Super Bowl. And that’s not even slightly exaggerated. Everything about Super Bowl LIV is perfect, right down to the very location. It’s as if we have walked into a beautiful football dream.
First and foremost, you couldn’t ask for a better matchup. The San Francisco 49ers and their dangerous defense are playing the Kansas City Chiefs and their seemingly unstoppable offense. And as for the quarterback matchup, is there a single person on earth who isn’t pumped to watch Jimmy Garoppolo against Patrick Mahomes?
On Sunday night, one of these two young quarterbacks will officially take the next step into NFL greatness. They’ve shown us what they can do in the regular season and in the playoffs. Now, one of them will earn their first Super Bowl ring.
(Or in Garoppolo’s case, it would be his third ring, but his first as a starter. You get the idea.)
As for the head coaches, you have Andy Reid on the Kansas City sideline — a well-respected, longtime NFL coach who is considered one of the league’s best, but has yet to cement his legacy by winning a Lombardi Trophy. On the San Francisco sideline, you have the youngster Kyle Shanahan, who is trying to follow in the footsteps of his father, Mike, and coach a team to a Super Bowl title.
Offensively, the Niners have their three-headed monster of running backs in Mostert, Breida and Coleman (who reportedly is healthy). Meanwhile, the Chiefs have their dynamic receivers in Tyreek Hill and Sammy Watkins, two guys who will burn you every time if you leave them even the slightest bit open.
And last but not least, the Chiefs and Niners possess the two best tight ends in football — Travis Kelce and George Kittle. I get the feeling that one of these two guys is going to have a significant impact on the outcome of the game.
And if all of that wasn’t fantastic enough, the game is being played at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami. If you weren’t aware, Miami might just be the world heavyweight champion of Super Bowl host cities. The only other city that has a chance at taking the crown would be New Orleans (we’ll get another chance to experience that again when we get to Super Bowl 58 following the 2023 season). Once Las Vegas gets to throw its hat into the Super Bowl host circle, it will most likely emerge as a strong contender as well.
But Miami? It has perfect weather. It has perfect beaches. It has perfect scenery. It has a perfect party atmosphere. And since Hard Rock Stadium was heavily renovated after the Marlins moved across town, it has the perfect venue as well.
So if you’re a football fan without a dog in this fight — like myself — then sit back, relax, and get ready to enjoy what might just be the greatest Super Bowl ever (not to mention J-Lo and Shakira). The only thing that could possibly make this Super Bowl even better would be if Kobe and Gianna Bryant, as well as the seven others who were on that helicopter last Sunday, were here to enjoy it with us.
And now to make a pick …
Like most people, I’ve been going back and forth nonstop for the last two weeks. This is as difficult of a Super Bowl to predict as I can recall in recent memory. I want to lean toward Kansas City’s offense, but doing that makes me nervous about not leaning toward San Francisco’s defense. And when I try to nudge myself in the other direction, the exact same thing happens except vice versa.
According to Oddsshark.com, 53 percent of bettors are taking the Chiefs minus-1.5. However, every time I watch the talking heads on ESPN and Fox Sports, it seems like the general consensus among the “experts” is to take the 49ers as 1.5-point underdogs.
This game truly is anybody’s guess. The Lombardi Trophy is completely and totally up for grabs, and that’s yet another reason why this could be an all-time great Super Bowl.
I’m not sure about many things, but one thing that is certain: Patrick Mahomes is an absolute sniper. You can build a 30-point lead against this Chiefs team, and 10 minutes later you might find yourself behind. If you give him a chance, Mahomes will absolutely gut you. Mercilessly.
The Niners defense will be the biggest test he’s faced all year, and he can’t try too hard to burn Richard Sherman. It won’t be pretty if he does. But with the weapons Mahomes has around him, all he needs is just the slightest opening. If he gets that opening, the Chiefs are winning their first title in 50 years.
The reigning MVP is just that good.
Prediction: Chiefs 30, 49ers 27
Thank you all for following along here with me during the NFL playoffs. Enjoy the Joe Montana Bowl.