So, Vegas has the Kansas City Chiefs favored by a single point over the San Francisco Forty Niners this Sunday in the Super Bowl at Hard Rock Stadium. Millions of fans across the country and the world will be rooting for one team or the other, and millions more will probably tune in who don’t even know what a first down is, but just want to watch the game nonetheless, because they think they’re supposed to. Fair enough.
However, it would be better for the future of the league if the Forty Niners were to win this game, and I’ll tell you why. The upstart Chiefs represent everything about the NFL that has changed over the past two decades or so — get a hot young quarterback and a credible group of receivers, a coaching staff that knows how to deploy them, and play in a relatively weak division, and, hey, your team could wind up in this game a couple of years from now, too.
The Niners, on the other hand, represent largely the first eighty years of the league’s history, rather than the last twenty: build stout offensive and defensive lines, a punishing running attack, and draft one of the league’s most physical tight ends to make a title run. I, for one think the NFL may have bitten off more than it could chew with implementing so many rules changes, or increasing the emphasis on existing rules, particularly making potential pass interference calls subject to replay review, which I expect will be overturned in the next off-season or two. A San Francisco victory on Sunday would go a long way toward restoring some of the NFL’s balance and equilibrium that has been lost in recent seasons, due in no small part to the aforementioned rules changes, just as the Seattle Seahawks’ and Denver Broncos’ stalwart defensive efforts did after the 2013 and 2015 seasons, respectively.
Ironically, it was almost 35 years ago to the day, in late January, 1985, when this same Forty Niner franchise squared off against the fearsome Miami Dolphins aerial attack and almost completely shut them down. Then, as now, two teams which represented an old and new school style of play took the field to determine the Super Bowl champion. The difference of course, is that the league wasn’t ready for Dan Marino and the Dolphins in 1984-85, while Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs have been given every advantage in the rule book to mount their championship charge this season. That’s just one reason why I maintain that Dan Marino, in his prime, is still the best quarterback to ever strap on a helmet, but that’s another argument for another day.
Finally, to the guy who went absolutely ballistic when the Dolphins drafted Laremy Tunsil four years ago, calling him a horrible draft pick, yet recently said that the only two recent first round picks by Miami that ‘didn’t leave him scratching his head’ were Tunsil and Parker, sorry, I’m not gonna let you get away with that one. We all know that you absolutely despise first round picks being used on offensive linemen, and you can’t say you liked the Tunsil pick four years ago, just because Chris Grier got two number ones for him five months ago. If I can admit that I wanted Brandon Weeden over Ryan Tannehill in 2012, you can admit you hated the Laremy Tunsil pick the night it was announced. You’re still my buddy, but I’ve got to give you some tough love on that one. That’s the wrap for today, everybody, have a great week.