By Tim Monk @Tim_MonkF10Y
The Super Bowl is done and dusted and the analysis is ongoing for the foreseeable future. Here I take a look at some storylines coming out of the Super Bowl and the 2 teams.
The sizeable difference in talent at the QB position
Patrick Mahomes only needed 1 quarter to obliterate double digit leads held by the 49ers, Titans and Texans in this years playoffs. Mahomes led the Chiefs to 21 unanswered points in the 4th quarter in the biggest game of them all. By doing so, he has put down another bit of tarmac on his path towards Canton.
On the other side, Jimmy Garoppolo went missing in the 4th quarter after doing what he was told for the first 45 minutes. “Jimmy G” seems to split opinion on how good/bad a Quarterback he is; The yay-sayers will point to his winning record as a starter, his TDs and his yards per play. The nay-sayers will point to the scheme, the HC and his supporting cast getting YAC, masking the actual air yards per attempt.
No matter what side of the fence you sit on, there was a gulf in class on the field at the Quarterback position and was essentially what it came down to at Hard Rock on Sunday.
The one big question to be taken from SF though is the state Kyle Shanahan’s belief, trust and allegiance to his handsome Quarterback. It’s not beyond the realms of possibility that Jimmy G will not be the SF 49ers QB after next season (or maybe even the 2020 season!) if the tendencies of the HC from Sunday’s game are to be any indication of that relationship.
One thing we will learn in 2020 is whether or not Jimmy G can bounce back, whether he’ll thrive under the pressure and the character that the man possesses.
The running back debate
Super Bowl running backs Damien Williams and Raheem Mostert were both undrafted free agents.
One could argue they have ascended into NFL relevance and proved all the critics wrong and are here to stay in the NFL after bouncing around the league trying to find their spot. They recently exchanged jersey’s due to their friendship and appreciation of one another, leading to Mostert actually handing back his exchanged jersey to the Super Bowl winning RB.
Williams was the first player in Super Bowl history to garner 100 rush yards along with a rush and receiving TD. Raheem Mostert was one of the stories if not THE story of the 2nd half of the NFL season culminating in 220 rush yards and 4 TDs in the NFC championship game.
Both these players are on paltry contracts in comparison to the other skills positions on offence and the running back position is undervalued generally by most of the 32 teams in the league.
Despite their efforts in getting their respective teams to the biggest game of them all, they’ll have a tough time persuading each of their front offices for a healthy rise.
Todd Gurley, LeVeon Bell, Devonta Freeman, Melvin Gordon and Jerick McKinnon are all running backs that have been paid handsomely over the past few years and it’s fair to say those investments have not returned the required production relative to the rest of the league. Add in Derrick Henry’s recent quotes of wanting to equal Ezekiel Elliott’s money, it’s very hard for running backs to get their due in this league.
Deebo Samuel could be a star
One of the stars from the losing side in Super Bowl LIV was Deebo Samuel.
Samuel, a 2nd round pick, enjoyed a stellar first season in the NFL totaling over 1,000 scrimmage yards (inc payoffs) and 6 total touchdowns.
He may have only mustered 159 of those yards in the postseason and may not have found pay dirt in January, but Deebo Samuel put down a marker in his first season and is a perfect fit for the Kyle Shanahan system due to his rushing ability and his versatility to fulfil a variety of roles in this highly creative offence including as a blocker.
Expect more to come from “Deebo” in 2020.
1 curse laid to rest, 1 still to pacify.
In the NFL there are two well known curses. The Madden Curse and the Super Bowl hangover.
The Madden curse for those that don’t know, stems from an American Football computer game. Each year, a different players sports the spotlight and hits the game’s front cover and bestowed upon them, a curse which has thought to be such a thing, that players have declined the opportunity to appear on it.
Go back over the past 10 years and you’ll see some of the greatest names to play the sport and the majority will find their way in to the Hall of Fame. They include Brett Favre, Drew Brees, Odell Beckham and Tom Brady. For each season each superstar graced the Madden cover, a mysterious spell was cast over their following season. All but 1 player (Richard Sherman) saw their PFF grade drop from the previous season and as a rule, you were lucky to play all 16 games and in some instances fell off the face of the earth (insert image of Peyton Hillis on a milk carton).
Step forward Patrick Mahomes. The man who can do no wrong.
The Kansas City QB glowed over the red and yellow background for Madden 20 and has hopefully laid to rest the curse once and for all. But, it was looking dicey for the new prodigy as a dislocated knee injury struck Mahomes down during the regular season. He was able to see the field again fairly quickly and go on to win a Super Bowl win to add to his MVP award last season hopefully allays all the fears from the front cover going forward. Or perhaps we can just continue to keep Mahomes on it forever more and give him the gig full time?
The other curse is a 2-parter: The Super Bowl Curse and the Super Bowl Hangover.
The curse is relating to the team hosting the Super Bowl; No team has ever played the big game in their own back yard. Atlanta and Minnesota, the 2 hosting teams prior to Miami this year were more than equipped to go all the way, only to fail. Minnesota were however, the closest to breaking that curse when they got all the way to the championship game (including the Minneaplois Miracle), eventually losing to Philadelphia.
It’s a 54 year curse that is yet to be broken…on to you Tampa.
Whilst Tampa cannot attribute their poor recent run of form to a Super Bowl appearence, Carolina, Atlanta and most recent sufferers, the LA Rams have all struggled after Super Bowl defeats.
This is known as the Super Bowl hangover.
Some people point to a shorter offseason due to an extended run from the season prior whilst some point to a change in attitude in the locker room, with many players demanding a more lucrative salary and the coaching staff being poached by other teams wanting to taste the same success.
Only 3 teams have managed a Super Bowl win after a Super Bowl loss and whilst the league is aligned to making it difficult to achieve the feat, it seems unexplainable the struggles some teams suffer after an appearance in the big game.
It’s not something the Patriots have had to worry about however, much to the dismay of the other 15 AFC teams.