Time to crank up the Super Bowl hype

By Steve Sell
January 30, 2020

It’s time to get back into Super Bowl go-mode.

I’m one of those people who detests the 2 weeks between the conference championship games and Super Bowl, so they can play a Pro Bowl that players and fans obviously don’t care one iota about.

By the way, can anybody name the score of the Pro Bowl? Or who won for that matter?

Didn’t think so.

There was so much momentum right after the conference title games as the Chiefs won their first AFC championship in 50 years, while young, up-and-coming San Francisco was crushing it in its game with Green Bay, turning Aaron Rodgers into a mere mortal. But the hype died down last week and is just starting to crank back up.

I’ve been fortunate to have watched all the previous 53 Super Bowls, including Super Bowl I when the Chiefs were outclassed by Vince Lombardi’s Packers. I remember wondering at the time if this game was such a good idea, because the NFL seemingly was vastly superior to the AFL.

It took Joe Willie Namath and the “guarantee game” to turn the Super Bowl around forever in the third year when the Jets gave the AFL its first win. Then when Kansas City evened the series in 1970, the merger occurred and the NFL changed forever.

Now the AFC-NFC battle for superiority isn’t at the forefront since we have inter-conference play and there’s not such a novelty. We have 32 NFL teams and it comes down to the best from each conference and for the most part we have competitive games.

I think this year’s Super Bowl has a chance to be, well, super. I know Patrick Mahomes can walk on water in this part of the country and he’s on a lot of TV commercials. But if you don’t watch him every week like we do, you can’t fully appreciate his greatness. The guy never seems to have an “off game,” and he keeps the Chiefs in every game because of his ability to incorporate his immense weapons. While KC’s running game has been suspect at times, the passing game is always there.

This is the ultimate irresistible force versus immovable object game. Very seldom do the Chiefs score less than 25 points. Very seldom does the fast, nasty 49er defense give up 25 points in a game.

What I believe it’s going to come down to is a pair of trends. One, can Kansas City run the ball effectively enough to allow its somewhat leaky offensive line to protect Mahomes? Secondly, can the Chiefs stop the 49ers’ running game and slow down instant superstar Raheem Mostert, who looked like the second coming of Jim Brown against the Packers?

I can only imagine with 2 weeks to prepare, Big Red Andy Reid has been in the lab concocting some new looks. San Francisco may have the best defense his team has faced this year and its pass rush is fierce. The Chiefs are going to have to rely on a lot of motion and I think they have to keep Sammy Watkins involved and not rely solely on Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce. Damien Williams out of the backfield also could be huge.

I haven’t been a big fan of 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo, but they really don’t ask him to do too much. San Fran is a lot like the Baltimore Raven and Seattle Seahawk teams of the past where they banked on their defense to be stingy and have their quarterbacks manage the game and not make mistakes.

I think this will be a Super Bowl with plenty of points and every time the Chiefs have been in trouble, it’s Mahomes to the rescue. Let’s hope he has one more big game left in him this season.

Kansas City 35, San Francisco 27.