When the 49ers and Chiefs face off this upcoming Sunday for Super Bowl LIV, the deciding factor will be the difference in the head coach and quarterback position.  The alliance of those two groups is perhaps the most vital to an NFL team’s success and it’s the main reason why the Browns turned in a disappointing 6-10 in 2019.  Here, we’ll discuss where both conference champions stand with their signal callers, how they match up, and who has the edge going into Super Bowl Sunday.

Jimmy Garoppolo (SF): Chiefs defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo won’t have much tape to review on Garoppolo, at least over the past few games. He threw just eight passes in the NFC Championship Game vs. Green Bay and has thrown just 14 over the past six quarters of play.  It’s not an attempt to cover his shortcomings, it’s just that the Niners’ twin rushing attack has been so effective. Head coach Kyle Shanahan loves to line up tight ends and fullbacks, taking a lot of pressure off the quarterback. Where Garoppolo’s strength lies is managing the game, as he’s been quite effective over the 2019 campaign. In his first full season as an NFL starter, he threw for nearly 4000 yards while tossing 27 touchdowns to 13 interceptions. The best path for San Francisco to win involves a heavy dose of Tevin Coleman, Raheem Mostert and Matt Breida, setting up Garoppolo for big play-action passes. The art of controlling the game, setting the tone and maximizing your QB’s skills have been lost on the NFL in recent years, but Shanahan has refused the pull of throwing 50 passes a game. The question that arises in this game, however, is how long can Garoppolo can sit back while the high-flying Chiefs go to work on the other side. Ultimately, Shanahan should try to avoid the scenario where Garoppolo is forced to go throw-for-throw with the best signal-caller in football.

And with that…

Patrick Mahomes (KC): Despite a statistical drop from his incredible 2018 output, Mahomes’ 2019-2020 production has arguably been more impressive. Although throwing for about half as many touchdowns as last season, Mahomes has improved greatly on the most important stat: wins. Yes, the breathtaking throws and improvisation continued. He now faces perhaps the best pass rush in football, one that will surely test his ability to maneuver in the pocket and find open windows. Robert Saleh’s defense possesses the most talent Mahomes will face, but the 24-year-old gunslinger is actually better throwing on the run. He easily escapes the pocket, drawing linebackers and safeties, allowing his receivers to run wide-open vertically down the field. Combine that with his arm talent and it’s easy to see how Andy Reid’s team erased two=straight deficits on their home field within a manner of minutes.








Kansas City!

Just from sheer talent alone, Mahomes gets the advantage. This is no way an insult to Garoppolo. He’s gotten out of Tom Brady’s shadow and proven to be a more than capable NFL starter. He plays well in play-action and throws a smooth ball, but Mahomes has “the look” this year. Frankly, it’s tough to envision him losing if he’s on his game, but San Francisco has a path to victory if they run the ball down Kansas City’s throat, controls the clock and keeps the ball out of Mahomes’ hands for as long as possible. Shanahan was able to do this to Aaron Rodgers, but Mahomes is on another level. Either way, Super Bowl LIV is shaping up to be a competitive game with evenly matched coaches.

The difference will come down to the QB position.

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