February 22, 2024

Storylines to keep an eye on for Super Bowl LVIII


The Super Bowl LVIII matchup between the 49ers and Chiefs features its fair share of great storylines. These storylines stand out heading into the big game on Feb. 11.

 

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Super Bowl LIV rematch

Super Bowl LIV rematch

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Just four years removed from the classic Super Bowl LIV that saw the Chiefs come back to win 31-20, the 49ers and Chiefs have a rematch in the big game. Many of the faces are the same, including head coaches Andy Reid and Kyle Shanahan.

 

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Chiefs officially a dynasty?

Chiefs officially a dynasty?

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Some would argue the Chiefs are already a dynasty after reaching six straight AFC Championships and now appearing in their fourth Super Bowl during that period. Winning a third Super Bowl would almost assuredly seal that title.

 

Kyle Shanahan's Super Bowl heartache

Kelley L. Cox / USA Today Sports Images

Shanahan’s Super Bowl history has been very forgettable. The San Francisco head coach notoriously saw his team give up a 28-3 lead to the Patriots as the Falcons offensive coordinator in Super Bowl LI. History repeated itself in some ways three years later, when Shanahan’s 49ers relinquished a 20-10 lead in the fourth quarter of Super Bowl LIV. He’d like nothing more than to put those two experiences behind him and win a ring.

 

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Andy Reid’s crowning achievement?

Andy Reid's crowning achievement?

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Reid is well on his way to the Hall of Fame as one of the greatest head coaches in NFL history, and speculation persists that he could hang up his headset if he wins his third Super Bowl in four years. Turning 66 in March, the speculation won’t end until Reid puts it to bed.

 

Brock Purdy in big games

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Purdy has been a spectacular quarterback since he took the reins last season, but he has yet to quiet the narrative that he struggles in big games. He tore his elbow in last season’s NFC Championship, was blown out by the Ravens earlier this season, and played poorly vs. Green Bay in the Divisional Round. Purdy can create a new story by leading his team to Super Bowl victory.

 

Patrick Mahomes' place in history

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The 28-year-old Mahomes is already considered one of the greatest players in NFL history, with a chance to win his third Super Bowl. Winning the game would tie Troy Aikman for fourth all-time and trail only Tom Brady (seven), Terry Bradshaw (four), and Joe Montana (four).

 

49ers pass rush

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San Francisco has prioritized their pass rush over the past year, giving Javon Hargrave big money in free agency and trading for Randy Gregory and Chase Young. Adding them to Nick Bosa and Arik Armstead to make a scary defensive line that could wreak havoc on Patrick Mahomes.

 

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Chiefs offensive line

Chiefs offensive line

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The Chiefs offensive line has faced its share of struggles this season, with a high rate of penalties from new tackles Donovan Smith and Jawaan Taylor. The status of All-Pro left guard Joe Thuney is also up in the air due to injury, so the microscope will be on the Chiefs offensive line.

 

Tight End U

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Tight ends Travis Kelce and George Kittle are founding members of “Tight End University,” an offseason program for players at the position. The duo are among the best players in the league at their position, and will matchup in a Super Bowl for the second time.

 

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Defensive momentum

Defensive momentum

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The Super Bowl features talented defenses that have been going in opposite directions recently. San Francisco has allowed at least 20 points in five of their last six games, while the Chiefs defense has been at its best in the playoffs, allowing fewer than 14 points per game. It will be interesting to see if the recent trends continue in the playoffs.

 

Christian McCaffrey joining his father

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Christian McCaffrey’s father, former NFL wideout Ed McCaffrey, won three Super Bowls during his 13-year NFL career. They would be only the sixth father-son duo to both win Super Bowls if the 49ers emerge victorious.

 

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Steve Spagnuolo’s place in history

Steve Spagnuolo's place in history

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Spagnuolo has put his name among the all-time great defensive coordinators with his three Super Bowl rings between the Giants and Chiefs, and he has a chance to add to his resume. This year’s Chiefs defense is arguably his best since being hired in 2019.

 

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Charles Omenihu’s absence

Charles Omenihu's absence

Mark Konezny / USA Today Sports Images

Omenihu has been a key addition to the Chief’s defense this season, including a strip-sack in the AFC Championship. Unfortunately, he suffered a torn ACL during the game and will miss the Super Bowl. His absence will force first-round rookie Felix Anudike-Uzomah into action.

 

Chiefs wideouts

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The drops among the Chiefs wide receivers have been a massive story during the regular season, but the receivers have been very reliable during the playoffs. It remains to be seen how the unit will react on the biggest stage.

 

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Travis and Taylor

Travis and Taylor

Sam Greene / USA Today Sports Images

There has been no bigger off-field NFL story this season than the romance between Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce and Taylor Swift. Many sportsbooks are accepting bets on a post-game marriage proposal. Either way, NFL fans are likely to see the duo on their televisions throughout the game.

 

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Kansas City defensive stars swan songs?

Kansas City defensive stars swan songs?

Denny Medley / USA Today Sports Images

The Chiefs could be set to lose significant talent on defense following Sunday’s game, with pending free agents Chris Jones and L’Jarius Sneed leading the way. As well as Kansas City’s defense has played this season, fans could see the last of the team’s defensive stars in red.

 

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Super Bowl experience

Super Bowl experience

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With both teams playing in recent Super Bowls, experience in the big game is present throughout the rosters. Of course, Kansas City has more experience playing in the game more recently, but the experience of the players that have been under the lights already could play a factor in early nerves.

 

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Return to Las Vegas

Return to Las Vegas

Gary A. Vasquez / USA Today Sports Images

For what it’s worth, the Chiefs are visiting the home of the AFC West division rival Raiders. Kansas City is very familiar with Allegiant Stadium, playing there once annually and going 4-0. Meanwhile, San Francisco has visited Allegiant Stadium only once, defeating the Raiders in overtime during the 2022 season.





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