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Hard Rock Stadium, Miami Gardens, Florida Weather: 64°, Unknown Attendance: 62,417
San Francisco 49ers at Kansas City Chiefs
- Super Bowl LIV (54) will be the 14th all-time meeting between the two franchises, with the 49ers leading the series by a 7-6 margin. The last 10 games between the teams have been won by the home team, most recently a 38-27 victory for the Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium on September 23, 2018, as Patrick Mahomes threw for 314 yards and three touchdowns.
- The game will be played 18,284 days (just over 50 years) after the Chiefs won their only Super Bowl -- they captured SB IV (4) in the 1969 season (January 11, 1970). It will be the 801st game played by the Chiefs -- regular season plus playoffs -- since Super Bowl IV. Eighteen different franchises have won the Lombardi Trophy since the Chiefs won it for the only time.
- The 49ers' wait since their last Super Bowl win will stand at 9,135 days (just over 25 years) since the team took SB XXIX (29) in the 1994 season; it was the franchise's fifth Lombardi Trophy, all of them coming in a 14-season span. The 49ers can now tie the Steelers and Patriots for the most Super Bowl wins all-time with six.
- San Francisco (plus-169) and Kansas City (plus-143) ranked third and fourth, respectively, in regular-season point differential. Both were especially effective in the first half -- plus-120 for the Chiefs, second in the NFL, and plus-100 for the 49ers, ranking third (Baltimore was the best first-half team, plus-130).
- This will be the fourth Super Bowl in the last 20 years in which both teams finished in the top eight in the regular season in both points scored and points allowed. The previous three involved the Patriots -- 2001 Super Bowl XXXVI (36) against the St. Louis Rams, 2004 Super Bowl XXXIX (39) versus Philadelphia, and 2017 SB LII (52) also against the Eagles.
- In their first two playoff games, the 49ers rushed for 471 yards, or 235.5 per game. Among teams to play at least two games in a postseason year, that average ranks second to only the 1941 Bears, who averaged 242.0 rushing yards in two games. All five Super Bowl-winning 49ers teams averaged at least 125 rushing yards per game in the postseason.
- In the AFC Championship Game, the Chiefs faced Tennessee's Derrick Henry, who had rushed for 195 yards with a 6.5-yard average in his team's Divisional Playoff win. Kansas City held Henry to 69 yards rushing and a 3.6-yard average. Now the Chiefs face San Francisco's Raheem Mostert, who is coming off a 220-yard, four-TD rushing effort in the NFC Championship Game.
- The Chiefs have scored 86 points in their two postseason games -- 51 versus Houston and 35 against Tennessee -- they scored 35-plus points only twice in 16 regular-season contests. The 86 points is the fourth-highest point total by any team in a two-game span in a single postseason in league history (1990 Bills -- 95; 1957 Lions -- 90; 1994 49ers -- 87).
- The 49ers have led for 76.8 percent of the time they've played in the postseason and have not trailed at all. They have led by at least 14 points in the entire fourth quarter of both games, winning both by 17-point margins. Since 1989, only two teams have won three games in a single postseason by 17-plus points -- the 1989 49ers and 2002 Buccaneers.
- The Chiefs have trailed for a total of 52 minutes, 33 seconds in two playoff games -- all in the first half -- thanks to their minus-24 first-quarter point differential (seven points scored, 31 allowed). KC has outscored its opponents by a 42-10 margin in the second quarter this postseason and is plus-142 in the second quarter over the extended season (219 points scored, 77 allowed).
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MIAMI (AP) Few Super Bowls in recent memory have appeared as competitive as the San Francisco 49ers against the Kansas City Chiefs.
No wonder there's a little more buzz about this one.
History and excitement are a nice combination for any championship game.
The history stems from the Chiefs seeking their first title since 1970, when they won the fourth Super Bowl in the final matchup of AFL-NFL. The full merger took place the next season - and Kansas City hasn't been back to the Super Bowl for which its founder, Lamar Hunt, provided the name.
“I think he would be amazed,” said his son, Clark Hunt, who now oversees the Chiefs. “He and my mother actually talked about that at one of the last Super Bowls they attended together about 15 years ago. He said, 'I always knew it was going to be big, but I didn't know it was going to be this big.”
Then there's Andy Reid, whose NFL head coaching resume goes back to 1999 in Philadelphia. He has a Super Bowl ring from work as an assistant coach in Green Bay, but Reid is 0-1 in the big game.
“Just getting him here isn't the goal,” star tight end Travis Kelce said. “Winning this thing for him is.”
San Francisco is seeking its sixth Vince Lombardi Trophy, which would equal the record held by Pittsburgh and New England. The 49ers also are looking to be only the second team to go from 4-12 the previous season to the top of the heap.
“It's been quite a journey,” said halfback Raheem Mostert, who himself has had quite the sojourn in the NFL. He was cut by seven teams and was a special-teamer for the 49ers before getting a chance - and taking off running with it. Mostert rushed for 220 yards and four touchdowns in the NFC title game.
“This franchise has a lot of history and accomplishments. Of course we want to add to that.”
Mostert is one of a field full of players who will push the thrill throttle to the floor and keep it there. So is Kelce.
But Kelce might not be the best tight end in the game. It's close, but 49ers All-Pro George Kittle is just as capable of breaking open this Super Bowl with something spectacular.
And celebrate it almost as adeptly as J-Lo and Shakira will fill the halftime stage.
“I think we both have a really good time playing football,” Kittle said. “You can see that on the tape. We both just enjoy being out there with our teammates. We both make plays when we’re asked to, and I think we both make plays when we’re not asked to.”
Both teams have wideouts capable of swinging momentum in their team's favor. For the Chiefs it's perhaps the speediest group the NFL has seen. Tyreek Hill is sure of it.
"If I'm healthy and my mind is in the right place, I'd go try out for the Olympics, put together a relay," Hill said. “We'd show these track guys, 'Hey, we football players can do that, too.'”
"It almost looks like they got their roster from the Olympic relay team and threw them all on the football field," 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh said. “Not to say they can't run routes and catch either, because they can do that. They're a special group and you can see why they're there.”
Still, the 49ers have a clutch receiver in veteran Emmanuel Sanders, a rookie with no fear of going anywhere on the field - or above it - to make a catch in Deebo Samuel, and an emerging talent in Kendrick Bourne. Just like with Kansas City, they're capable of making a difference.
So is San Francisco's defense, and it will need to be at optimal precision to deal with perhaps the most electrifying player of them all in this Super Bowl: Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes.
The 49ers have a powerful pass rush sparked by a deep front four that includes a sack threat at every spot - including one rookie, Nick Bosa. A year ago, the Niners were so bad they had the second overall draft pick. They took edge rusher Bosa, and look where they are now.
“We believe in each other,” Sherman said. “We believe in the scheme. We believe in what we've done all year, and we plan on going out there and putting a good product on tape and seeing how it goes.”
For Kansas City, whose defense performed particularly well down the stretch of the regular season but hasn't been so stingy in spots during the postseason, how it goes Sunday very possibly will depend on how successful Mahomes is. The 49ers don't need their QB, Jimmy Garoppolo, to be extra special; he's been more of a caretaker behind that monstrous running game and defense in the two postseason victories.
Make no mistake about Mahomes: Kansas City needs him to be, well, vintage Mahomes.
Which means big plays with his arm, thrown from angles we didn't know existed. Howitzer throws as he rolls out - even to his left - and doesn't bother fully planting his legs. Maybe even the tightrope kind of run down the sideline that still has NFL folks shaking their heads in wonder.
“You have to accept the excitement that it is,” Mahomes said this week as he stood on a podium and spoke to reporters. “It’s amazing to be here, to be in this atmosphere, to be at this podium. It’s where you want to be when you start training camp in St. Joe, Missouri. For me, to be in this moment, I’m just enjoying it as much as possible.”
Chances are, Mahomes and his teammates, along with the 49ers, will produce one of those enjoyable, memorable, perhaps even classic Super Bowls.
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Updated January 30, 2020