How crazy is the Super Bowl build-up? I just saw Martha Stewart joining the broadcast crew on NFL Network. Every TV and radio show is camped out on radio row, and scrambling for guests. It’s a tradition of this week I enjoy, as there are tons of interviews with relevant guests – ex-players, current players, coaches, and now, cooking show hosts. Martha brings more than just cooking and entertaining chops though. She’s got street cred after doing jail time, hanging with Snoop Dog, hitting the bong with Snoop and Willie in Willie’s tour bus, becoming the meat in a Willie and Snoop sandwich. Ok, I made that last part up.
Fantasies aside, I’d rather listen to current players who played against the Super Bowl teams. Especially as I’m evaluating my pick for the big game. Some years there are teams I dislike that I view as favorites, so I’ll bet on them but I can enjoy it if they lose (obviously I don’t bet very much money).
The Steelers always fall into that category. This year is no different. I can never bring myself to like the 49ers as they have ripped my heart out in both Super Bowls, as well as other regular-season games.
In 1987 Sam Wyche mishandled the clock and gave the Niners one last chance to score, which they did with time running out while most of the crowd was heading over the bridge to Oktoberfest to celebrate the win. That turned into an ugly, dark, drunken Oktoberfest as Bengal fans, already hammered from tailgating and the game, reached blackout stage as they came to grips with the shocking loss. Many cars were left downtown that night. And yes, we all really CARED about the Bengals back then.
So rooting for the 49ers is out. Conversely, I like the Chiefs and hope they win. Andy Reid deserves a Super Bowl win. Patrick Mahomes is a joy to watch. He’s a gunslinger in the Brett Farve mode, with a better sense of when to hold onto the ball. He is adept at scampering for a first down. He has brought his team back from big deficits by hitting another gear and taking the Chiefs on huge offensive scoring runs that we see more in college basketball than the NFL. Cincinnati Bearcat Travis Kelce is Mahomes’ tight end, and he joins 49er tight end George Kittle as the two best tight ends in the game. If San Francisco is up a score or two in the fourth quarter the game is definitely NOT over. Not with Mahomes in control. Bettors who have big money on the slim point spread or the over/under will likely be holding their breath towards the end of this one. Mahomes’ ability to run could negate the fearsome 49er pass rush, and might make the difference.
When the 49ers played the Bengals early this season, I thought they looked like the most complete team in the NFL, with an explosive running game, efficient passing game, and a good defense elevated by an all-world defensive line. I thought the result might have been influenced by the hapless Bengals, who looked like a high school team coached by a janitor. But then I watched the Niners destroy the Packers a couple of weeks later. Now, here we are in the final week and those attributes have been on full display throughout the playoffs. As much as I like every aspect of the Chiefs I just can’t pick them to win. Especially with the 49ers getting points. Right now the line is49ers +1.5.
I would probably buy that down and take the Niners to win outright.
That juices the payout a bit. I like the under at 54.5. These defenses are both underrated, and they can create turnovers and score. I don’t think the scoreboard will light up as much as some people think. If I get tripped up on these bets, it will be because of Patrick Mahomes’ late-game magic. And I’m more than ok with that.
Chiefs vs 49ers
Sunday, 6:30 PM.49ers + 1.5Over/Under 54.5
I like the 49ers straight up and the under, just barely. I hope we see very few injuries, and fewer flags from the refs. With Mahomes slinging it all over, and the Niners running the old Shannahan running schemes, which feature borderline illegal blocking on many plays, the refs could play a huge difference in the result. The nature of these teams will stretch the capability of the refs to interpret the various curious rules of today’s NFL. I’m hoping the teams can settle the result, and not the refs. If we see lots of early pass interference calls, and illegal chop block and holding calls, then we’ll know it’ll be a long day of flying flags.
I also hope the playing field is in good condition. I’m sick of watching big football games with questionable turf conditions. The Bengals 1989 game was played on a terrible field, which contributed to Tim Krumrie’s broken leg. C’mon, NFL, it shouldn’t be that hard to give us a good field for the Super Bowl. The City of Miami hosts a great Super Bowl. The weather looks great, as it was in 1989. I spent five incredible days with my buddies in 1989 playing golf, hanging by the pool, eating stone crabs, checking out various forms of the local scenery in the evenings. I wish I was there right now. Since I’m not, I can only hope for a great football game that puts a few bucks in my pocket.