NO SKIN IN THIS GAME …but it’ll be a great game to watch

Let’s get real; I don’t have a dog in this fight.  As a native Southern Californian, my teams have been lounging around the pool in Miami, or sipping daiquiris in Turks in Caicos for a month. This is Southern California however, lest we forget the barren desert days between 1994 and 2015 when the Raiders and the Rams both moved on to greener (as in Ka-Ching!) pastures.  In that time Southern California was a free-for-all state;  where any number of connections both far fetched and valid led us to align ourselves with a team from a far-off land. 
The most obvious choice for some geographically was to follow the Raiders, Oakland isn’t that far  ( not me -notice I wrote “some”). Some of us donned the baby blue and gold and became loyal to the San Diego Chargers.  Not me. Some of us loved watching a young Peyton Manning on Saturdays as a Tennessee Volunteer and became dyed in the wool Colts Fans.  Also, not me.  Some of us met (and eventually married) a lady from Boulder Colorado who grew up as a child watching Elway pass to Rod Smith, Shannon Sharpe, and Ed McCaffrey (yeah the phenoms Dad) and became Broncos fans (ahem …#Itme -thats mine). 


A great numbers of us, bandwagon moniker be dammed, glommed on to the most successful franchises of the day (mid 90’s) which brings me to those SoCal fans loyal to the San Francisco 49ers and the Kansas City Chiefs.  Oh you know you’re out there…I’ve seen you…Mister- I wear a Chiefs Jersey with a white turtle neck (Gold chain on the outside optional) with a Native American Headdress (it’s true I’ve seen it with my own eyes…ugh!..Cultural Approbation much?) Or how about the dudes who, as five year-olds, watched Joe Montana (remember The Catch?) and later Steve Young march those offenses down the field yielding a harvest of Lomabardi Trophies in 1981, 84, 89, 90, and 95.  Both great some would say legendary teams of their time. 


With the virtual Gobi Desert of the Gridiron for 21-years here in Southern California what other options did we have? I don’t blame you for loving these teams,…i was one of you, but I got no dog in this fight. I have had no less than three interactions in the last week with 49’ers all of them pontificating about how “this is our year.” I hope it is… I got no skin in this game. 

By the same token Chief’s fans have all of a sudden become AFL (American Football League) Historians.  I heard a guy no more than 25 discuss the Chiefs early wins in the AFL Championship games in the early 60’s and the first AFL team to beat an NFL team in Super Bowl IV,-Okay Millennial we get it, you have Wikipedia.   The Chiefs haven’t won the big game since …though, there were defiantly years of promise.  The Marty Schottenheimer Era, The Dick Vermiel Era, and who can forget the Hall of Fame Tony Gonzales and Chiefs great Priest Holmes -trust brosef, as a Bronco fan in those years, we feared the Chiefs. 
We could argue that there has been few more evenly matched Superbowl Games.  Both franchises experiencing a Renaissance in the last couple of years (for KC) and a Cinderella Season for San Francisco.  Both have football visionaries at the helm one experienced the Cheifs Andy Reid and one up and comer (by way of 11 years in the NFL) San Francisco’s Kyle Shanahan.  Both teams have exciting Quarterbacks with different styles of play: Patrick Mahomes, the offense machine that seems to make laser accurate throws off his back and has power to extend plays and keep linemen honest by his explosive run game. 


The Niners Jimmy Garoppolo who was the heir apparent in New England till the Kraft’s chickened out and Shanahan brought him west; with his system style of play executing Shannahan’s plays with a workman like manner. Much like his mentor Tom Brady.


That being stated, this should have all the ingredients that will make a great game for Sunday.  Yes, the number two offense (Kansas City) in the NFL is going up against the number two defense in the NFL (San Francisco)  However, like your old man would say: “Defense wins championships”- okay boomer, on this we agree. 
It’s defense that will shine in this match-up.  But who really cares? 
This is your sheep we’re shearin I’m just holding the legs…
This past off season, the 49ers have acquired and pieced together the deepest defensive line in football. They have five first-round picks on their defensive line alone, two of which don’t start.  Rookie DE Nick Bosa is the best pass rusher of the bunch. Dee Ford,  despite a knee injury, is not far behind but he mostly plays on passing downs. Arik Armstead starts opposite of Bosa as a heavy defensive end whose priority is to stop the run. 


The offense of Kansas City will not be contained but they will be managed.  The one “X” Factor KC’s Mahomes will create problems for the Forty Niners.  The Niners have faced Kyler Murray, Russel Wilson, and Lamar Jackson this season and in these matchups their QBR (Quarter Back Rating) average was 71 while all other teams QB’s San Francisco held to an average QBR rating of 28.  Both sides have their weapons here no one in the NFL is better at targeting inside receivers and  the Tight End position than Garoppolo, look for KC to force long passes to wideouts.  Also 71% of Garoppolo’s completions have come from Play Action passes, assuming that the KC Defense will rush, this is better suited for Garopollo’s game.  Mahomes may be superior athletically and has the ability to extend plays for extra yardage,  however Garoppolo works better in the system tailor made for him by Kyle Shannahan.  It’ll be close but The Niners will win out in the end because of their Defense.  
Don’t get up in arms Chiefs fans, you’ll be back again (and again probably Mahomes and Reid are too good). So, when you are at your favorite Niners Bar, or Chiefs hang out in the greater LA/OC area, don your Priest Holmes or Gonzales Jerseys (please no head dresses- it doesn’t mean what you think it means) or your Jerry Rice, Montana, garb.  I implore you to search your soul and remember that,  where as I don’t blame you for your allegiances, we have our own teams now…right here…like, two of them!  Please consider, without judgement, jumping on the bandwagon one last time for the Rams or the Chargers and maybe we can celebrate our teams like any other NFL city across the country I mean we waited 21 years for them!  Or do what you want… like I stated early I got no skin in this game.

Final Score 49ers =28 Chiefs=24

Post Script- also,  since this is OC Music News- J-Lo, Shakira, Los Tigres Del Norte, among others will be playing the halftime show. So there’s that.  
It’s not whether you get knocked down… it’s whether you get up” Vince Lombardi