There is no more important position in the National Football League than quarterback and this season’s Super Bowl, the San Francisco 49ers v Kansas City Chiefs, sees two very different QBs go head-to-head.
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Patrick Mahomes has emerged as the NFL’s newest start over the past couple of seasons and is now selling more jerseys than Tom Brady. It is not hard to see why either – this young man can do it all and by the time he is done he will have almost certainly revolutionised the position with the help of Lamar Jackson, Deshaun Watson and the men that are going to follow in the next few NFL Drafts.
From his rocket of an arm to his ability to scramble, from those incredible plays that should only work on the playground to his no-look passes, Mahomes is fun to watch if you are associated with the Chiefs and a nightmare if you are associated with the team on the opposite sideline.
Jimmy Garoppolo, meanwhile, is the complete opposite of Mahomes. San Francisco’s offense is not built on the back of explosive, out-of-nowhere plays, it is built on the back of a gruelling run game that is designed to chew up the clock and wear down opposition defences. This tactic has brought plenty of success this season, but it has also resulted in Garoppolo becoming something of a ‘game manager’ at times – just look at the NFC Championship Game where he did not even reach double figures for passing attempts.
However, the former New England Patriot has proved that when his arm has called upon he can compete with the gunslingers of the National Football League. He went toe-for-toe with Drew Brees in New Orleans in early December and led the 49ers on a game-winning drive with less than a minute on the clock, throwing a couple of huge passes to George Kittle to set up Robbie Gould’s game-winning field goal.
So if Garoppolo is called up in Super Bowl LIV he has all of the tools to deliver, but can the San Francisco QB outshine the league’s hottest and brightest young star, or will Mahomes lift the Vince Lombardi Trophy in only his second season as a starter and take the first major step on the road to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio?
Patrick Mahomes – Mahomes may have a cannon of an arm, but since returning from a dislocated knee he has passed the 295.5-yard mark passing on just three occasions. San Francisco have only allowed two QBs to throw for over 295.5 yards against them all season, and one of those occasions was when they had already built up a massive lead and took their foot off the gas.
Jimmy Garoppolo – Garoppolo showed against Saints that he can led the team to victory with his arm, but the 49ers have not relied on that for the vast majority of the season and are unlikely to rely on it again here. Garoppolo has not thrown more than 31.5 times since a Week 15 loss to Atlanta and has only passed that number of attempts on seven occasions. On two of them, the 49ers lost (they were beaten three times during the regular season.
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The Defenses: San Francisco vs. Kansas City