There are so many comparisons to look towards for Super Bowl LIV. Today, we will talk about four certain players or groups that will be talked about equally entering the big game in just under two weeks. Some of these discussions are not just discussed for the Super Bowl. However, guys like Travis Kelce and George Kittle have been constantly debated for who is currently the best tight end in the NFL. With that said, let’s get things started with our conversation on the top Super Bowl comparisons or matchups.
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Who’s Number 1?
Let’s keep sticking with the Kelce versus Kittle discussion. There are valid points to say that each player is the number one tight end in the league. Different styles may come from how certain players try to idolize their favorites from growing up. Elsewhere, the type of offense a team employs could go a long way in how these guys look to find an edge.
If you argue for Kelce being the best, you could likely start at how defenders do not know what to expect when guarding him. His ability to find the soft spots in zone coverage looks easier said than done. Additionally, the breaks at the top of his routes confuse a good deal of opponents. Both tight ends are near the top of the NFL in yards after the catch. But, Kelce does it differently than Kittle. The Chiefs tight end gains a ton of explosive plays due to his ability to escape from defenders while the ball is in the air. Meanwhile, Kittle is a beast to bring down. When the ball is in his hands, the 49ers tight end can run you over or outrace you.
Kittle is just as effective in deep routes, as he is in the intermediate game. Where does he stand out more compared to Kelce? The speed is always on full display. Very rarely, does Kittle not go 100 MPH on a given play. This is not to say Kelce gives little effort. More so, he is subtle in how he tries to attack or beat defenders. Many would argue Kittle is more effective as a blocker. He is a mauler, while Kelce can cutdown opponents in the open field like he did in the AFC Championship Game. Each guy will be a focal point in the Super Bowl. But, there will be different ways to how they win or get slowed down.
The Chiefs and 49ers each present problems for offensive lines. San Francisco has continued to prioritize this part of their team in the beginning of the draft. Largely, it has paid off. Nick Bosa, Arik Armstead, DeForest Buckner and Solomon Thomas were all first round picks by the 49ers within the last five drafts. Furthermore, Dee Ford was also a former first round pick by the Chiefs. Now he has combined with these guys to form a formidable 49ers pass rush. This group is relentless and has the speed to catch anybody from behind down the field. San Francisco defensive coordinator Robert Saleh has become a well regarded name in coaching circles. All three levels of their defense is dangerous. Yet, the pass rush is what sticks out the most when talking about the Super Bowl.
On the other hand, the Chiefs pass rush is entering the Super Bowl under the radar. Frank Clark is now fully healthy. He began his first campaign in Kansas City at 60 percent. Now, he has shown up to help lead the Chiefs to their goal of winning the AFC. Also, Chris Jones is one of the best defensive tackles in the game at just 25 years old. He is due for a big free agent contract soon. A good showing in the Super Bowl could help the Chiefs and the star defender come closer to an agreement in the future.
Besides Clark and Jones, the depth has really shown to be effective for the Chiefs. The in season addition of Mike Pennel has made the interior defensive line that much more stout. Pennel, who group up a Chiefs fan, is looking to win a Super Bowl to cap off his whirlwind year. Tanoh Kpassagnon has come a long way since being drafted in 2017. He has found himself in this defensive scheme. Others like Khalen Saunders and Derrick Nnadi are still undervalued on the Kansas City defense. And of course, you cannot forget about Terrell Suggs. He has a Super Bowl win on his resume. However, he was not expected to be in position to win one until very late in the season. He is so close to another.
Will Not Be Denied
Both Patrick Mahomes and Jimmy Garoppolo have had tremendous seasons. I still do not understand how so many people have slept on Garoppolo throughout the duration of the season. What makes Jimmy G so effective? He executes the 49ers offense perfectly to the type of mix they want between the run and pass. To boot, he is just as capable of dueling in a shootout as Mahomes. The Kansas City QB may be regarded as the best thrower of the football by some. But for Garoppolo, he can be just as mistake free, while dragging his team over the finish line. The accuracy can be deadly for opposing defenses. The Chiefs definitely won’t underestimate Jimmy G in the Super Bowl, but there could still be some throws that surprise them.
Mahomes is just not fair. In the AFC title game, the Titans did a nice job to knock Kansas City receivers off their routes and pressured the quarterback. Yet, Mahomes rolled out and found Tyreek Hill for 26 yards. The aforementioned 49ers pass rush will be important in this Super Bowl for San Francisco. Mitigating Mahomes chances takes so much concentration though for 60 minutes. This QB matchup is juicy. But, so is seeing how both Mahomes and Garoppolo will perform when things get difficult. We are likely to see some iconic plays from these two in the Super Bowl.
The two head coaches for this Super Bowl are bound to pull off dazzling tricks against the defenses. Andy Reid has been one of the top play designers for over two decades. Concurrently, Kyle Shanahan has done damage as an offensive coordinator. He has even surprised some of his past head coaches that he worked under. Now as a head coach, Shanahan has found new trends that leave defenses shaking their heads. He also learned well from his dad, Mike Shanahan.
The pressure is likely on Reid more to win this game. We have seen him make different decisions, during this run than in the past with the Chiefs. Being able to swing for the fences will be key. Failure should not be an option for Reid. Watching how calculated both the grizzled vet and young wizard could be in this Super Bowl will be another entertaining aspect to watch for.
So many comparisons make this game that much more exciting to talk about. Be on the lookout for more Super Bowl and Chiefs coverage throughout this week. Also, check out our latest episode of the FPC Chiefs Podcast. For more great sports and NFL content, stay tuned to Full Press Coverage.
– Braden Holecek is the Kansas City Chiefs managing editor for Full Press Coverage. He covers the NFL. Like and follow on Follow @ebearcat9//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js Follow @FPC_Chiefs//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js and Facebook.