Sports editor Fernando Molina Bier gives his prediction on Super Bowl LVII.
Column: Why the Chiefs are Obvious Favorites Over the Eagles in Super Bowl LVII
Glendale, Arizona awaits the Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles for Super Bowl LVII Feb. 12. In the first ever matchup between two African American quarterbacks on the most viewed yearly event in America, this year’s Super Bowl will be historic.
The No. 1 seeds of their respective conferences have made the final game of the season. The last time that happened, the Eagles defeated the Patriots regime with quarterback Tom Brady and Head Coach Bill Belichick to win their first Super Bowl in 2017. Unfortunately for the Eagles, history will not repeat itself this year.
Before I tell you why I believe the Chiefs will win, I think it’s fair you know I was at the NFC Championship rooting for the 49ers. My uncle and I walked into Lincoln Financial Field in San Francisco 49ers jerseys and got called every single insult you can fathom.
What’s funny is I wasn’t bothered by it. I enjoyed the competitive spirit and the crazy environment of gameday, especially at a championship game — it’s part of what makes sports great. What did bother me, though, was the gloating Eagles fans who thought they were after defeating a team with a fourth-string quarterback.
I want the Eagles to lose. Now let me tell you, objectively, why I believe they will lose. Philadelphia has the best roster; but this game isn’t about depth — it’s about coaching, experience and playmakers.
Philadelphia makes for a great story. Their quarterback, Jalen Hurts, has been an underdog for his entire career. A starter for the University of Alabama, Hurts got benched in the 2018 College Football National Playoff Championship during halftime, just to see his backup overcome the team’s 13-point deficit to win the title. Now he’ll be starting in a Super Bowl.
Coaching the Eagles is Nick Sirianni, a former wide receiver at the University of Mount Union, a Division III NCAA program. In his two seasons of experience as a head coach with the Eagles, he’s led the team to a 25-12 record while earning the respect of one of the most demanding fan bases in football.
Across the gridiron, quarterbacking Kansas City is Patrick Mahomes. Making his third trip to the Super Bowl, Mahomes already has a Lombardi trophy on his shelf, taking home Super Bowl MVP honors with him along the way.
Head Coach Andy Reid is calling the plays for the Chiefs. A two-time Super Bowl Champion with an overall record of 268-154-1, he stands fifth all-time in regular season wins with 247, and his 21 playoff wins are second all-time by a head coach, according to CBS Sports.
Mahomes and Reid have a 9-3 record in the playoffs and have gone up against the best, with two of their losses falling at the hands of Brady. Experience-wise, Philadelphia is heavily outmatched.
This postseason alone, Philadelphia’s road to the playoffs was a gift, defeating a mediocre Giants team and the 49ers with their fourth-string quarterback. Meanwhile, the Chiefs defeated the Bengals — who were on a 10-game winning streak — eliminating the Super Bowl favorites Buffalo Bills on their way to the matchup.
The Eagles haven’t trailed in the postseason either, so we don’t know what they might look like when they’re losing. After jumping to early leads, they’ve been comfortable sticking to their highly effective rushing offense to consistently advance yards while burning time. But the Chiefs won’t give them any breathing room, which will force them to throw the ball more often.
Hurts hasn’t thrown for more than 154 yards in the postseason. Against the 49ers, he completed just one pass over 11 yards in 25 passing attempts, scrambling in the pocket and looking unsure when looking to pass downfield.
If you know anything about football, it’s that no lead is safe when playing against Mahomes and Reid, especially with tight end Travis Kelce in the mix. Mahomes has led three postseason game-winning drives, one of them coming in Super Bowl LIV. Hurts has none.
The only way to beat the Chiefs’ fire is with fire. Their offense will score on any defense, and Hurts will find himself forced to air the ball out to keep up with Mahomes. His passing insecurity in the playoffs will hurt the Eagles against a passing defense that intercepted Burrow twice while allowing just one passing touchdown in the AFC Championship.
Inspiring stories and depth don’t win Super Bowls — coaching, experience and playmakers do. The Chiefs are superior in all three categories, but I might be wrong. Anything can happen on any given Sunday. That’s the beauty of the sport.
Featured image by Fernando Molina Bier | The Phoenix