Chiefs-Eagles Super Bowl primer: Historic QBs, the Kelces and one coach firing the other | Opinion
OK the Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles are set for what should be a terrific Super Bowl, with two pedigreed recent NFL champions, a combined won-lost record of 32-6 and a near pick-’em point spread reflected in ESPN’s Football Power Index giving a 50.1 percent likelihood of winning to the Eagles.
So it is time here to look ahead to what every football fan is thinking about: the big game on deck.
Talk about a tough-to-predict tossup! Will it be the Peyton Manning-coached AFC squad or brother Eli’s NFC team prevailing next Sunday in the Pro Bowl 7-on-7 flag-football game in Las Vegas? Anybody seen a betting line? I mean on whether Peyton be holding a large bag of Lay’s potato chips on the sideline in an unsubtle product placement ruse.
Also super-excited about Thursday’s Pro Bowl Skills Competition (dodgeball, especially!) as we witness the Pro Bowl devolving from an event nobody used to care about into a clownier event even easier to ridicule and delight in not watching.
Ah but the February 12 Chiefs-Eagles Super Bowl itself — that looks like a masterpiece in waiting, a rhapsody of opportunity for the Fox-TV crew that will be headed to Glendale, Arizona.
It could be the perfect game as K.C. aims for its second championship in the past four seasons and Philly tries to reprise its 2017-season crown. No Cinderellas allowed this time; sorry, Cincy.
Here is our Super Bowl primer with the biggest story lines, nationally and from a Miami perspective, that Your Friend The Media will be ramming down your throat during the next two weeks. First, the broader national talking points:
▪ The Quarterbacks — The passer matchup is required by law to be where a Super Bowl analysis begins, but this one merits the spotlight. Patrick Mahomes and Jalen Hurts will be the first Black QBs to face off in the Super Bowl’s 57-year history. Mahomes, 27, and Hurts, 24, together also will be the youngest starting starting QBs ever. (Coincidentally, combined they are only five years older than Tom Brady.)
Mahomes’ legacy would be assured if he wins a second ring, especially one that would be won with a high ankle sprain and him limping like Walter Brennan’s Grandpa in “The Real McCoys.” (Look it up, kids.)
Hurts also made the Pro Bowl this season, but, because he was a second-round draft pick, runs as lot and isn’t Mahomes, he will be cast as the underdog QB fighting for national respect.
▪ Coaching bad blood? — Well, if there isn’t ... there should be! Eagles coach Nick Sirianni was on Kansas City’s staff in 2009-12, but when the Chiefs fired Romeo Crennel, the new coach they brought in — one Andy Reid — did not retain Sirianni.
Better known is that Reid, before he joined the Chiefs and fired Sirianni, spent 14 seasons with Philadephia, most of them doubling as executive VP in charge of football ops. Reid, in fact, is the coach on the Eagles’ 75th Anniversary Team.
▪ The Kelce Bowl! — You know that Travis Kelce is the Chiefs’ star tight end and younger brother Jason is the Eagles’ starting center and that they’re the first bros to face each other in an SB. And if you didn’t, you will be reminded 346 times over the next two weeks.
Pity parents Ed and Donna Kelce and the times they will be besieged for heartwarming stories of the boys growing up and search for different ways to answer as grinning TV reporters asks who they’ll be rooting for.
▪ Philly cheesesteak vs. Kansas City barbecue — C’mon city mayors. You know you have to make the silly civic bet. In this case at least the two competing cities really do have a signature food. (When in K.C., make my barbecue brisket if you would. Burnt ends, please.)
Now let’s fine-tune a Chiefs-Eagles matchup and mine it for Miami-themed content:
▪ Tyreek Hill — Came to the Dolphins in a blockbuster trade and oh no how would Mahomes ever survive the sudden loss of his most dynamic receiver!? Hill threw some shade in saying Tua Tagovailoa throws the most catchable balls he has seen. Are you happy for the Chiefs, Tyreek?
▪ Tua and Jalen at Bama — Tagovailoa replaced Hurts at halftime of the 2017 national championship game with Alabama trailing Georgia 13-0. Tua rallied the Tide to a 26-23 win. Hurts would later transfer to Oklahoma but not before leading Bama to a 35-28 win over Georgia a year later in the SEC title game after Tua got hurt. Frosty relationship? Nah, they say. “I want to see him win and I know he wants to see me win,” Hurts said after the Eagles practiced at Miami’s facility in the preseason. Said Tua: “We don’t spend time together in the offseason, but we text each other.”
▪ Chiefs with Miami ties — Backup QB Chad Henne was a Dolphin of little note from 2008 to 2011, throwing 31 TDs and 39 interceptions. Deon Bush (born Miami, Columbus High, Miami Hurricanes) is a backup safety. And on K.C.’s practice squad are fabulously named cornerback Dicaprio Bootle (born Miami, Killian and Southridge High), and running back La’Mical Perine, who was signed to Dolphins’ practice squad in October before being signed by K.C.
▪ Eagles with Miami ties — Philly’s backup defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh was a Dolphin of high-priced note from 2015 to 2017, totaling 15 1/2 sacks and making one Pro Bowl. Backup defensive end Robert Quinn had 6 1/2 sacks for the Dolphins in 2018. Reserve cornerback Josh Jobe was born in Miami and went to Columbus High.
▪ Canes coaches with Philly — Eagles run-game coordinator Jeff Stoutland was Miami Hurricanes’ offensive line coach from 2007 to 2010 and interim head coach for one game in 2010 when Randy Shannon was fired. Philly special teams assistant Joe Pannunzio coached UM tight ends from 2006 to 2010, helping develop Jimmy Graham and Greg Olsen.
All right there’s our Super Bowl primer.
Wait. Over/under has been set at 125 seconds on country singer Chris Stapleton’s pregame national anthem. Might like the high end on that one. Dude can stretch a note.