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Defending NFL Champs Kansas City To Face San Francisco In Super Bowl LVIII

11.02.2024 12:12

Game to be rematch of 2020 when Chiefs win their 1st title in 50 years.

By Ovunc Kutlu and Corey Blackman

ISTANBUL (AA) ­­- Defending champions Kansas City Chiefs will meet the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LVIII on Sunday to decide who will take home the Vince Lombardi Trophy of the National Football League (NFL).

The game at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas will see a rematch between the two teams who faced off in 2020 when the Chiefs won Super Bowl LIV 31 - 20 for their first title in 50 years.

The Chiefs, who went 11 - 7 in the regular season, will try to lift the Lombardi Trophy for a fourth time after winning in 1970, 2020 and 2023.

A win would be their third title in five years, and their first back-to-back -- a feat last achieved by the New England Patriots in 2003 and 2004.

For 12 - 5 San Francisco, it will be their eighth trip to the Big Game. They won five titles from 1981-1994.

If the 49ers win, they will join an elite list that includes the Pittsburgh Steelers, the New England Patriots and the Dallas Cowboys, which have six Super Bowl victories each.

Star playmaker against newcomer

Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, 28, will try to earn his third Super Bowl title, after winning the game's Most Valuable Player (MVP) awards in 2020 and 2023.

The star playmaker will try to join 49ers quarterback Joe Montana in winning three Super Bowl MVPs, and will be one step closer to legendary retired quarterback Tom Brady who has five MVPs in the championship game.

Mahomes will be joined by his right-hand man, tight-end Travis Kelce, who just surpassed the great Jerry Rice for most receptions in the playoffs with 56 catches in 21 playoff games.

Head coach Andy Reid, 65, will also try to become the fifth coach to lift at least three Lombardi trophies, and the seventh to win a Super Bowl in back-to-back seasons.

The 49ers' head coach Kyle Shanahan, 44, on the other hand, will be trying to win his first Super Bowl, as he led his team in four playoff runs and two Super Bowl appearances since 2017.

San Francisco's quarterback Brock Purdy, 24, shines as a newcomer, after being the final pick in the 2022 NFL Draft and dubbed "Mr. Irrelevant."

Although Purdy began his rookie season last year as the third-string quarterback, he took over the starting role and won all of his five games during the regular season last year and led the 49ers' on a 10-game winning streak.

This season, he had 4,230 passing yards with 31 touchdowns, while Mahomes had 4,183 passing yards and 27 touchdowns.

Roles reversed in rematch

Two-time Grammy winner Usher will headline the halftime show and there is speculation that there will be a surprise guest, or two.

But what is sure not to be a surprise is that the game will feature two teams with plenty of star power.

It will be a rematch of Super Bowl LIV when the explosive Chiefs' offense met the 49ers' tough defense.

This year, however, the roles seem to be reversed.

The 49ers' offense is one of the most dominant in years as they led the NFL with 61 touchdowns, 27 rushing -- also the highest this season. Running back Christian McCaffrey was one of the candidates for NFL MVP, along with Purdy and three others.

McCaffrey was named the NFL offensive player of the year on Saturday, after leading the NFL with 1459 rushing yards.

When you add wide receiver Deebo Samuel and tight-end George Kittle, it will be hard to keep them out of the end zone.

The Chiefs are ranked 16th in the league with 39 touchdowns, while their defense against the rush is ranked 27 out of 32.

On defense, however, the Chiefs allowed just 15.6 points per game this season, including the playoffs, which is their lowest average since Reid became the head coach in 2013.

The defense is led by coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, who has been with the team for five years and is the only defensive coordinator to lead two teams to a victory in the Super Bowl. He first did it with the Giants in 2007.

Kansas City is anchored by Chris Jones at tackle with 10.5 sacks this season -- tied for 17th. Willie Gay has been an excellent linebacker and L'Jaris Sneed has played shutdown coverage all season.

But what many watching the Big Game at home and in the stadium will be looking for is the appearance of Taylor Swift.

The only artist to win four Album of the Year awards at the Grammys is expected to be at the game to cheer on boyfriend Travis Kelce. Her legion of fans have adopted a love for the game, many because they get to see her on television.

Swift will be on tour in Japan but the singer will be on time to make the trip to Las Vegas, with the Japanese Embassy issuing a statement.

"Despite the 12-hour flight and 17-hour time difference, the Embassy can confidently Speak Now to say that if she departs Tokyo in the evening after her concert, she should comfortably arrive in Las Vegas before the Super Bowl begins," it said with a nod to Swift's recent album. -

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