Seriously, who gets to see their two favorite teams play each other in the SuperBowl??
But man, did it take a lot to get here.
I began following the NFL sometime in the very early 80’s. I have memories of watching Pittsburgh beat the Rams in 1980, and the next year I recall cheering on the Eagles as they lost to those damn Raiders in SuperBowl XV. At that point, I didn’t have any rooting interest, I just knew that I didn’t much care for the Raiders.
Everything changed just one year later. January 24, 1982. My Dad invited me and a friend over to his apartment in Burnaby to watch the SuperBowl. I was twelve. Honestly, if you ask me how many good memories I have of spending time with my Dad in my adolescence, I could count them on one hand and have fingers left over. This happens to be one of those memories. It’s not that he did anything spectacular….I mean, we went over, watched a football game, had some cold appetizers, and that was it. But there was nothing negative about the day, as far as I remember. He didn’t get drunk. He didn’t do or say anything to embarrass me. He was just Dad, watching a football game with his son and his son’s friend. That was as good as it got for him.
Oh, and this was one of the few periods in his life that he lived alone. My Dad hopped from woman to woman like a kangaroo in a jumping bean factory. And, sorry Mom, he had some fucking terrible taste in women. That was just another reason that spending time with him was so unpleasant most of the time.
None of that applied on this day. It was the San Francisco 49ers vs. the Cincinnati Bengals. I had no allegiance, but I decided I wanted one; so I chose the Niners. No particular reason that I remember, other than thinking the Bengals uniforms were silly. The Niners had cool unis; bright red with white and gold trim.
Uniforms. Can you imagine if I happened to be attracted to the black and orange of the Bengals that day?? I’d be a BUNGLES fan?!?! Oh, the humanity.
The 49ers were really never threatened in this game, opening up a 20-0 lead, mostly on the arm of Joe Montana, throwing to the likes of the late-great Dwight Clark and Freddie Solomon. This was the rookie season for all-world safety Ronnie Lott, but it also pre-dates a lot of the names that you might associate with the great 49ers teams. No Jerry Rice, no Roger Craig. The Bengals would rally and score late to get within 5 points, but an onside kick attempt would be unsuccessful, and the 49ers were World Champions, winning 26-21. Joe Montana was game MVP for the first time (not the last).
I should actually call him “GOAT Joe Montana”, because he’s the best that ever played the game, and it’s not that close. And Tom Brady fans can kiss my you know what, he’s not even in the discussion.
Anyway, my love for the Niners had begun, and grew only stronger with each passing year. Through Montana’s other three SuperBowl wins (against ZERO losses….gee can you really be the best if you LOST three SuperBowls???), through the eventual passing of the torch to Steve Young and Young’s only victory, a trouncing of the Chargers in 1995, and even through the darker days when the team was a shell of it’s glorious past. And as every year passed, one other thing grew and grew: My hatred of those damn Seahawks.
Wait, what? Where did THAT come from?
Well, try being a 49ers fan in the 80’s, before the internet, before NFL Sunday Ticket, before you had choices. If I wanted to watch the NFL, I had to watch what games were on TV. And despite the fact that the 49ers were generally a top draw, and usually kicking the bejeezus out of whomever was unfortunate enough to be their opponent that week, I rarely got to see them. Why? Because of the fucking Seahawks, and the NFL’s rules forcing blackouts of games up against local competition.
Given that those two teams were in the same time zone, they usually played at the same time, meaning that we would only get the Seahawks game. So instead of seeing Montana, Rice, Lott, Craig…..we got Jim Zorn. Dave Kreig. Nesby Glasgow. Jacob Green. And whatever bunch of ragtag misfits they were putting out there this week. They won more than 9 games exactly TWICE in the 80’s. TWICE. And except in the rare case where they played the 49ers (remember, they were not in the same conference back then so it was once every four years), watching them gave me only one pleasure: Cheering for whomever they were playing.
Unless it was the Raiders. Then I wouldn’t watch at all, I’d just go and have a nap or something. I even recall cheering on the Chargers a few times. I generally had to go shower afterwards.
There HAD to be something I could do about this, right? Since there was no way to get less Seahawks games on TV, well, I’d just have to find a team to cheer for that I’d get to watch more often. Let’s see, who is in the Seahawks division?
The Raiders? Yeah, no.
Chargers? Hard pass.
The Kansas City Chiefs.
Hey, nice red uniforms. Crazy loyal fans. And they kind of suck, so there is nowhere to go but up. And, most importantly, they play the Seahawks twice a year. And they aren’t the Raiders or Chargers. Sign me up.
The 80’s weren’t so great, but in the early 90’s the Chiefs made some headway, making the playoffs six straight years, and seven of eight. They were lead by future Hall of Famer Marcus Allen, the late-great Derrick Thomas, the Nigerian Nightmare Christian Okoye… and, for the last two seasons of his brilliant career, Joe Montana!! Montana took them to the AFC Championship in 1993, losing to Jim Kelly’s Buffalo Bills. That was a great time to be a fan of these two franchises.
So I guess I have the Seahawks to thank.
Someone asked me if this is my idea of a “perfect” SuperBowl. I said yes, although I will feel bad for whomever loses. I guess a truly “perfect” SuperBowl would be the 49ers kicking the living shit out of the Patriots, and next year the Chiefs beat the Seahawks by about 75 points. THAT would be perfect…..but this will just have to do.
So, who’s gonna win?
Looking at this as objectively as I can, it’s a really tough call. Nobody can stop Patrick Mahomes. But…maybe this 49ers defense can? They should be able to generate enough pressure by rushing just 4 guys to make Mahomes’ life miserable. Perhaps they can force him into an interception? Maybe a strip-sack?
Can the Chiefs run defense stand up to San Francisco’s ridiculously dominant running game? Can they make Jimmy Garoppolo throw the ball more than the 8 times he had to throw it in the Niners last game? And if they do, can they stop him?
It says here that they can’t. The Niners defense will hold up enough to force the Chiefs into field goals, and limit their big play ability. Mahomes throws in the direction of Richard Sherman only three or four times, but Sherman intercepts one of them and scores a defensive TD. Their three-legged-monster of a run game will combine for over 230 yards, and Garoppolo, despite having to throw only around 15 passes, will throw 2 TD’s as the Niners shock just about everyone with a double-digit win.
San Francisco 31, Kansas City 19
Next year, Chiefs. Next year.
(There is likely a stampede of bettors who just read this prediction placing bets on the Chiefs, and on the over).