With one of the most potent offences going up against one of the most impenetrable defences, something has to give as the Kansas City take on San Fransisco on Sunday night at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami.
AFC Champions the Kansas City Chiefs will be making just their second-ever Super Bowl appearance with their last being their victory in Super Bowl IV some 50 years ago.
Meanwhile, the 49ers are looking to clinch their first title since 1994 when they defeated the San Diego Chargers also in Miami.
Much of the pre-game talk is of the Chiefs’ blisteringly quick offence led by young quarterback sensation Patrick Mahomes, playing just his second full season in the NFL.
At 24 years and 138 days old, Mahomes is the fifth-youngest quarterback to start in the Super Bowl and last year’s league MVP is looking to join Ben Roethlisberger and Tom Brady as the only quarterbacks to win a Lombardi Trophy before their 25th birthday.
Mahomes has 75 touchdown passes and 9,238 passing yards in his first 30 games as a pro, the most by any player at this stage in their career in NFL history.
Since Mahomes came to Kansas City to start the 2018 season, no quarterback in 250 attempts has thrown for more yards per attempt (8.58), adjusted yards per attempt (9.29) or adjusted net yards per attempt (8.66) than the 24-year-old Superstar.
As a result, the Chiefs have scored at least 30 points in each of Mahomes’ first four career postseason starts and should they be victorious on Sunday night, Mahomes will become the youngest player to win both an NFL MVP award and a Super Bowl title, along with the great Emmitt Smith.
However, if Mahomes and the Chiefs’ are to make history then they will have to overcome a San Fransisco side making their first Super Bowl appearance for 26 years looking for their sixth title.
With five Lombardi Trophies to their name, the Niners can draw level with the New England Patriots and Pittsburgh Steelers as the most successful franchises in the NFL if they are victorious on Sunday.
Much of their success has been built on a formidable defensive line featuring Arik Armstead, Nick Bosa, DeForest Buckner and Dee Ford; who have piled the pressure on opposing quarterbacks as the 49ers’ secondary cleaned-up this season.
San Francisco allowed the fewest passing yards (2,707) and the 10th-most passes (74) this season and though they intercepted just 12 passes, Kyler Murray, Andy Dalton and Drew Brees were the only quarterbacks to throw 300 yards or more in a single game against the 49ers.
They have also allowed the fewest 20+ yard downfield passes than anyone else in the league – a vital weapon in their armoury if they are to stop the Mahomes long throw.
But it’s not all been about the defence, with quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo completing 69.1% of his passes for 3,978 yards, 27 touchdowns and a 102.0 passer rating this campaign.
Garoppolo featured in all 16 regular-season games in 2019 as well as the post-season having suffered a frustrating 2018 which saw him tear his ACL in the third game of the year as the 49ers finished the season 4-12.
He has two Super Bowl rings to his name already having been Tom Brady’s backup for the Patriots but will be going all out to secure one in his own right as a starter with Brady apparently texting him this week to say: “Just go win.”
How to Watch Super Bowl LIV
UK viewers can watch all the action on free-to-air TV as the game will be shown live and in full on BBC ONE and the BBC iPlayer.
Meanwhile, Sky customers can also choose to watch with their favourite pundits on Sky Sports Main Event and Action.
The game starts at 11.30pm UK time and should go through to around 2.30am – providing there’s no overtime drama.
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