A contrast in playing styles with two franchises with different histories in the big game will be on display at Hard Rock Stadium.
The Kansas City Chiefs will be seeking their first title since the 1969 season while the San Francisco 49ers are searching for their sixth title when the teams square off at Super Bowl LIV on Sunday (6:30 p.m., FOX).
“It would be amazing,” Chiefs star quarterback Patrick Mahomes said. “Obviously we want to win it really bad for each other, but we also want to win it for the city. The pride they showed through the ups and downs, the passion they show every single time we’re at Arrowhead, it really is amazing. We want to make sure we can bring a trophy home to them.”’
Mahomes, who is the third quarterback to win MVP and reach the Super Bowl in his first three seasons joining Dan Marino and Kurt Warner in that feat, has helped guide the Chiefs into their first Super Bowl appearance since beating the Vikings in Super Bowl IV.
The Chiefs went 12-4 in the regular season, earning the 2-seed in the AFC, and recorded consecutive come-from-behind wins over the Texans and Titans in the playoffs, trailing by 24 and 10 points in the first half before winning by double digits each game.
“Hopefully we don’t get down like we have the last couple of games, but the best part about this team is we’ve learned how to win different ways as far as scoring early, scoring late, the defense stopping them and us just scoring enough,” said Mahomes, who has accounted for 721 yards and nine touchdowns without an interception in the playoffs. “Being able to play in every type of football game has prepared us to go out there and win in whatever way possible.”
The Chiefs are led by Mahomes and its passing attack with tight end Travis Kelce (97 catches, 1,229 yards, 5 TDs in the regular season) and a quartet of wide receivers Tyreek Hill (58-860-7), Sammy Watkins (52-673-3), Mecole Hardman (26-538-6), and Demarcus Robinson (32-449-4) at his disposal.
Still, the Chiefs would like to get Damien Williams going in the ground game as well.
“I want to believe that (you don’t have to run to win), but combinations are good,” Chiefs head coach Andy Reid said. “You’re still playing a team’s strengths and weaknesses; I think matchups and all of those things, and that’s been forever. I think it depends on who you’re playing, where you’re playing, what
you’re doing, what their best at, what your best at, and you work to the strength. Obviously if you can run the ball well and throw it well, that’s the best of both worlds. That combination has always been tough for defenses to work with. I think both teams are
capable of doing that.”
The 49ers were the top team in the NFC with a 13-3 record. While the Chiefs are led by its potent air attack, the 49ers featured the league’s second-best run game, averaging 144 yards a contest.
Running back Raheem Mostert, who went undrafted out of Purdue and spent time with four teams over two seasons before settling in with the 49ers, is coming off a 220-yard, four-touchdown performance in the NFC Championship game against the Packers.
“I’m extremely impressed by him,” 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan said. “Raheem, since I’ve gotten here we noticed him right away in terms of before we got on the field just how good of a guy he was. I got to meet his wife and him at nearly every event, very humble, great
people, and to watch Raheem battle every year to make the team as a
special teams player and how good he was and how he has taken advantage of his opportunities as a running back, I can’t say enough good things about Raheem as a person and as a player he’s been unbelievable.”
With Mostert running wild, Jimmy Garoppolo only threw eight passes against the Packers and tossed for only 131 yards in the 49ers’ other playoff win over the Vikings.
Despite throwing for 3,978 yards and 27 touchdowns in the regular
season, Garoppolo’s playoff results has generated questions of how
productive he can be in a big game.
“I hear all the stuff and everything, but you can’t put that all out there all the time,” Garoppolo said. “You have to do with it what you will and take it for what it is. At the end of the day you’ve got to go out there and play football.”
The 49ers have won five titles and are looking to join the New England Patriots and Pittsburgh Steelers as the only franchises with six. Four of the 49ers’ championships came in the 1980s with their last in 1994. They lost their only other Super Bowl
Appearance since then when they fell to the Ravens to end the 2012 season.
Although both teams are in the midst of Super Bowl droughts, the cities have won recent championships with the Kansas City Royals winning the 2015 World Series, ending a 30-year drought, and the San Francisco Bay Area has enjoyed the success of the Golden State Warriors with three titles in the last five years while 2020 marks the ninth consecutive year a Bay Area team has played for a title.
The two cities squared off in the 2014 World Series with the Giants winning a seven-game series over the Royals.