“It’s hard to pick between,” Montana told Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times. “Yeah, we live here in San Francisco, so there’s a little bit of a different feel, just because you don’t have that touch with Kansas City all the time. But there’s a place in my heart for them both. Kansas City was so good and accepting of us coming in there. It’s not easy, and there’s a lot of expectation.
”But like (my wife) Jen says, I’m guaranteed my team will win.”
Standing in Reid’s way is the football battle station that John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan have constructed in the Bay Area. If Reid is the best offensive play-caller in the AFC, then Shanahan is his counterpart in the NFC. Reid, general manager Brett Veach, and offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy have created the ideal modern passing game in Kansas City, but they’ve done it with the best passer in all of football. Shanahan, on the other hand, has built the football equivalent of a rocket. Jimmy Garoppolo may be at the controls, but every piece matters. And though every play-caller goes into a game with plays that he likes, none has a better understanding than Shanahan of when and why to run them. He’s a master of manipulation, and two weeks from now he’ll throw all he can at the Chiefs defense in pursuit of his first Super Bowl win.
Regardless of who is wearing what, it’ll be a red-and-white team vs. a red-and-white team. And fans of both teams traveling to Miami for the game will undoubtedly do so in red gear.
There have been plenty of blue vs. blue Super Bowls through the years. The Rams vs. Patriots matchup in Super Bowl 53 last year qualifies. Super Bowl 49 with the Patriots and Seahawks is an even better example.
Finally, a red vs. red Super Bowl is here to spice things up.
Kansas City limited Titans’ bellwether back averaged just 3.6 yards per carry — his lowest per-touch average since a Week 6 loss to the Broncos — in a 69-yard performance in a 35-24 loss that ended Tennessee’s playoff hopes at the doorstep of the Super Bowl. They had they place taken by a Chiefs team confident in not just an explosive offense, but a defense capable of shutting down the league’s most unstoppable runner.
Kansas City came into the AFC Championship Game with a defense that ranked 29th in the league in rushing efficiency this season. That unit found a way to stop a tailback who’d turned playoff wins over the Patriots and Ravens into a time capsule from the run-heavy NFL of the 70s and 80s. Henry found gaps early, but a grinding front and the Chiefs’ explosive offense combined to keep him from hitting top speed.
Tyrann Mathieu, safety, Chiefs
Even while teams had offered Mathieu only one-year deals the previous offseason, the Chiefs made a major investment by giving him a three-year, $42 million deal to replace Eric Berry as their star safety. (Berry, cut shortly after the Mathieu signing, did not play football this season.) Mathieu has responded with his most productive season since that 2015 campaign. He made himself conspicuous during Sunday’s victory, laying out Corey Davis for a loss and breaking up a pass on Tennessee’s last meaningful drive to A.J. Brown.
In my early thoughts on the 49ers-Chiefs matchup, it’s difficult to imagine the Chiefs winning without getting a significant game from their star safety. Mathieu’s excellent instincts and wide range of skills are going to be critical in diagnosing the 49ers’ run game and holding up in coverage against star tight end George Kittle. Mathieu’s best seasons have ended in either injury or disappointment. Now, he finally has a chance to be a huge difference-maker in the biggest game of his life.
Then-co-director of player personnel Brett Veach was among a group of scouts who were doing early film work that May, and it started with the quarterbacks. Mahomes’s sophomore tape immediately caught his eye, to the point where he’d text Andy Reid clips and drop Mahomes’s name to assistant coaches Matt Nagy and Brad Childress enough to get everyone’s attention. That fall, then-director of football operations Chris Ballard got a live look at Mahomes and came away as smitten as Veach was. Ballard wound up leaving for the Colts in January 2017, but the momentum Mahomes had built in the Chiefs’ building sustained. Kansas City kept the circle tight on its affection for Mahomes—and having one of Reid’s most-trusted ex-lieutenants, Buffalo coach Sean McDermott, on the other end, running the show for a promising potential trade partner, helped to divert those on the outside from knowing where the Chiefs were planning on going. In the end, you could say it worked out.
5. Sammy Watkins had himself a day
Watkins caught seven passes for 114 yards – both team-highs – with his biggest grab covering 60 yards all the way into the end zone. It marked Watkins’ second score of at least 60+ yards this season.
The veteran wide receiver is the second member of the Chiefs to top 100 yards receiving this postseason, joining Travis Kelce.
2) The Chiefs’ defense needs to be better.
Make no mistake: Mahomes bailed out Kansas City’s defense. The Chiefs gave up 17 points in Tennessee’s first three drives, which took up most of the first half. The Titans effectively “shortened the game,” which only resulted in them losing faster. Still, that’s the second straight first-half no-show by K.C.’s defense, a group that made strides in the regular season, only to resemble last season’s Chiefs group in January.
In a twist on the usual cliche, Mahomes did a nice job of keeping his defense off the field. Kansas City’s offense scoring 35 points is impressive; doing it in eight true drives is outrageous. Credit the Chiefs’ defense for forcing three straight punts at one point, but the unit still gave up 24 points in just seven drives before Tennessee’s final garbage-time possession. That’s an awful success rate that should be a concern before K.C. steps up in class in the Super Bowl.
According to SeatGeek, the current average price of a Super Bowl ticket is going for $9,590. The current lowest ticket price is $5,727 while the largest is a whopping $70,153 if you’re looking to attending the game in Miami.
The ticket prices for this year’s Super Bowl are higher than they have ever been. The next highest-priced Super Bowl was when the New England Patriots faced the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LII. The average ticket price for that game was $5,373.
Around the NFL
In light of a report that Cincinnati has no intention of trading the top draft pick, ostensibly with the purpose of using it to select the Heisman Trophy-winning, record-setting, national champion Burrow, Tobin said Monday that the Bengals are nowhere near making such an evaluation.
”That’s news to me,” Tobin told Geoff Hobson of the team’s website. “I don’t know that any decision has been made for what we’re going to do in April. We’re early in the process.
”We certainly haven’t had any meetings to determine that at this point. Those will be meetings we’ll have as we go through the process.”
“When you don’t execute, I’m not going to sit here and say nothing is going our way. That’s on us to get things to go our way. I’m not going to look at it and just say that’s luck,” Bulaga said. “We need to be better to get things to go our way. We just didn’t do that.”
Ben Roethlisberger (23 years, 340 days): Super Bowl XL (2006)
The only quarterback on this list to win his first Super Bowl start, Roethlisberger did not play well in the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 21-10 win over the Seattle Seahawks. Roethlisberger was 9 for 21 for 123 yards with no touchdowns and two interceptions, finishing with a 22.6 passer rating (the lowest rating for a winning quarterback in Super Bowl history).
Roethlisberger did have a rushing touchdown in the win (there was controversy about whether he actually scored, but the call was eventually upheld after review). He did complete a third-and-28 pass to Hines Ward (the Super Bowl XL MVP) for 37 yards, which was the longest third down conversion in Super Bowl history.
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“We knew he could scramble around and make plays with his feet,” said Titans safety Kevin Byard. “We knew the last game he really wasn’t using his feet like that, due to the knee injury. They came back and did what they needed to do to win the ballgame.”
Reid explained Monday what Mahomes’ legs offer to what the team is trying to accomplish on offense.
“It helps, especially with some of the coverages they’re presenting him,” he said. “[Opposing teams] have the ultimate respect for him, and they’re doubling our guys, so your getting not just one guy doubled but two guys doubled, so the defensive line — they’re trying to sack him, so if they make one miss on it or get out of their lane a bit, it’s over.
“He’s got all this running space. We’ve seen that the last couple weeks now. For him to be able to decipher it, see it and then go — and he still keeps his eyes downfield, hoping guys have a chance to get open.”
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