Sports Editor Peter Holland Jr.
As we are just less than an hour away until Kickoff of Super Bowl LIV, where the Kansas City Chiefs faces the San Francisco 49ers at Hard Rock Stadium, something has just been bothering me during the weekly coverages. It is something that I want to let all the folks in Kansas know where the Superbowl is actually located. I would know because I’m from there.
Not everything you see on television is actually the location of the Miami area. Now a lot of you are probably asking yourself what is the difference and you have every right to. First of all, Super Bowl LIV is not necessarily in Miami. It’s actually in Miami Gardens.
If Hard Rock Stadium would disappear right now, you will basically see the inner city. Miami Gardens is right off the borderline of Miami-Dade county, sort of like Little River being off the tip of Rice County but near the border of Mcpherson County.
South Beach is a funny narrative to us Floridians. The national media outlets push so hard to let the outsiders know that everything in Miami is in South Beach, which is not the case. Any visitor, who would like to see what South Beach actually looks like, it might be another 40-minute drive off the turnpike without traffic (which you’ll likely run into) going South after passing Hard Rock Stadium. It’s kinda like driving from McPherson to Wichita if you want to make the comparison.
Save your mileage and just head north to Aventura/Biscayne, Hollywood Beach or Fort Lauderdale Beach. They are pretty much the same, except they are a lot closer to the stadium and less crowded.
Don’t get me wrong, Miami is a great city. I love it dearly. It’s one of the largest cities in America and the most diverse. I graduated from Florida International University. That is as Miami as it gets, because of how many diverse students the school brings every year.
The food is great, The sun is always shining, the night clubs are lit, there are no state income taxes and the Cuban Coffee is to die for. Ask Andy Reid. However, as big as Miami is, it is also the most expensive. So paying for a week’s trip would be like paying for six months’ rent here. I hope you have deep pockets if you have any plans on living there someday.
Now that I got that out of the way, here is my prediction. I’m very old-fashioned when it comes to football. I get that it’s a quarterback-driven league and Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes personifies that, but I’m a firm believer of defense wins championships, and the 49ers have the Super Bowl-winning defense the same way the Chiefs have the quarterback that can win them the Super Bowl for the first time in 50 years..
I believe Mahomes will have a solid game, but will it be enough? Mahomes is going to do what he does best but I will pay close attention to the offensive line unit as they have a tough task. Now granted, the offensive line has improved drastically as they allowed three sacks during the postseason compared to last season’s postseason, where they allowed eight.
The reason why San Francisco is in this position now is because of their front four, which includes Arik Armstead, Nick Bosa, DeForest Buckner and Dee Ford. All were first-rounders. The 49ers are No.2 in total defense and has recorded 48 sacks. A good matchup to watch would be all-pro Bosa, a Fort Lauderdale native, going one-on-one against Chiefs left tackle, Eric Fisher. Two former first-round picks going at it on the line of scrimmage kind of interest me. Chances are, Bosa, who has nine sacks in his rookie season, might take Fisher’s lunch money, but I’m intrigued by how the front five will handle protecting Mahomes.
As for the Chiefs defense. They have a simple task. Stop the run. Easier said than done, right, which has been an issue for the Chiefs all year as they allowed an average 128.2 yards a game, which is ranked 26th in the NFL. There’s really nothing fancy about the Niners offense. As you all saw what they did against the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship. They don’t have to rely too much on Jimmy Garropolo. I don’t believe Raheem Mostert is going to rush 220 yards again, but San Francisco have ways of making plays in the backfield.
The Chiefs biggest matchup will be rookie Deebo Samuels. For those who have not seen the movie “Friday,” the character “Deebo” was the neighborhood bully who makes a living off jacking people’s possessions and beating up people. I feel the same way about Samuels on the field. The 5-foo-11 215 pounder is not a burner like Tyree Hil is for the Chiefs, but when it comes to yards after the contact, that’s when Samuels makes his money. Samuels will be targeted in screen passes and some jet sweeps. He is built like a running back and will be hard to make open-field tackles against him.
I think the game will end somewhere in the 20s and I expect it to come down to the last drive.
Kansas City Chiefs 24
San Francisco 49ers 21