Super Bowl LIV

This was my prediction the last time Andy Reid got to the Super Bowl:

Andy Reid is a solid coach, but he is not a great one. He doesn’t get outcoached, for the most part, but neither does he outcoach anyone, not even Mike Tice. Bill Belicheck, on the other hand, has repeatedly proven himself to be a Jedi master, with game plans in this year’s playoffs that left two very good teams, Indianapolis and Pittsburgh, in near-complete disarray. Notice how there hasn’t even been a whisper of Charlie Weis being distracted by his moonlighting job as the Notre Dame head coach of late. The Patriots are a strategic machine, awesome to behold.

Factor in the Terrell Owens injury and the “happy-to-be-there” factor of the Eagles, and I suspect that under the guidance of the maglia ex machina, the Patriots will methodically dismantle the Eagles. I don’t think it will be a blow-out, and the combination of a tough Eagles defense and a screw-the-gameplan drive filled with scrambles by McNabb will probably help the Eagles make a last, desperate push to keep the game close in the third quarter, but this one should be over early in the fourth with a nail-in-the-coffin Patriots score.

I suspect Kyle Shanahan learned more from his Super Bowl failure than Andy Reid did from his. Despite all the media hype surrounding the Chiefs and Pat Mahomes, few observers seem to be paying much attention to the actual performance of the two teams this year or the way in which they played in getting to the Super Bowl. I really don’t like the way Kansas City seems to come out flatter than flat in big games this year.

It is, of course, well known that in championship games, defense generally trumps even the most explosive offenses. The 49ers have the second-best yards/game defense and the eighth-best points/game defense. The Chiefs actually have the seventh-best points/game defense, although they give up more yards and rank only 17th in that category.

But when it comes down to it, I have more confidence in Shanahan + Garappolo + DEF-SF than I do in Reid + Mahomes + DEF-KC. Also, if the 49ers have the lead, Shanahan isn’t going to make the mistake that Houston’s O’Brien did by taking his foot off the gas.

49ers by 10.

Football Outsiders, on the other hand, predicts a Chiefs victory:

I give the slight edge to Kansas City. I think San Francisco will be able to have offensive success running the ball, but their defense is not going to go out and make Patrick Mahomes look like Kirk Cousins looked three weeks ago. Calling for a high-scoring game didn’t end up working out for me last year but I’m calling for a high-scoring game again this year. I also think it will be close, but the Chiefs are the favorite with the better chance to come out ahead.

Both MDS and Florio from ProFootballTalk are also picking the Chiefs.

HALFTIME: 10-10. I don’t watch the halftime show, or the commercials, but the game itself is pretty good. Shanahan was getting a little too cute early on, but now that he’s gone back to the run, I expect San Francisco to start to take control in the third quarter.

4TH QUARTER: SF 20 KC 17. Kyle Shanahan is still a choker. Twice, he’s faced 2nd-and-5, tried to get cute instead of relying upon his superior running game, thrown incomplete twice, and been forced to punt. Incredibly stupid considering they have the lead, the ball, and the clock. SF could and should win this game, but if they lose it, it’s on Shanahan’s poor play-calling in the fourth quarter.

Unbelievable! San Francisco is averaging nearly 9 yards per rush on the ground. It’s first down inside Kansas City territory with four minutes left. So, naturally, you THROW THE BALL FOUR TIMES I A ROW for zero yards to lose the game. Absolutely INDEFENSIBLE stupidity. This is the second time Shanahan has thrown away a perfectly winnable Super Bowl for his team.

I don’t like the 49ers. I didn’t want them to win, although I’m not looking forward to all the unwarranted, but inevitable Mahomes worship to come. But watching the SF playcalling in the 4th quarter was downright painful. I can’t even imagine how berserk the more knowledgeable 49er fans must have been going when watching that coaching choke job for the ages.