Chiefs to face 49ers in Super Bowl

January 20, 2020 - 1:00 am
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A little more than two years ago, a pair of teams gambled on quarterbacks who had all kinds of potential but were far from a sure thing.

Both teams guessed right.

The Kansas City Chiefs will meet the San Francisco 49ers in the Super Bowl on Feb. 2 in Miami. Oddsmakers opened the line at pick ’em in a title game featuring one franchise, the Niners, trying to win a record-tying sixth Lombardi Trophy against another, the Chiefs, making their first appearance in the big game in 50 years.

Their quarterbacks: Patrick Mahomes (KC) and Jimmy Garoppolo (SF).

Mahomes, whose gaudy college stats (his 5,052 passing yards led the country in 2016) were a byproduct of playing at pass-happy Texas Tech, was generally viewed as no better than the second-best quarterback in a 2017 draft that wasn’t considered strong on quarterbacks to begin with.

THE LAMAR HUNT TROPHY IS HOME -- pic.twitter.com/NLgQZTEuLz

— Kansas City Chiefs (@Chiefs) January 19, 2020
Chiefs coach Andy Reid disagreed. He gave up a first-round pick in the following year’s draft to move up to select Mahomes in 2017. Now, in his third season, Mahomes is a Super Bowl quarterback. He has 11 postseason touchdown passes, not a single interception, and has even led the Chiefs in rushing the last two weeks. With its 35-24 win over Tennessee on Sunday in the AFC title game, Kansas City became the first team in NFL history to go from trailing by double digits to winning by double digits in consecutive playoff games.

Garoppolo, a second-round pick by the Patriots in 2014, was considered the quarterback-in-waiting in New England, despite a limited resume as Tom Brady’s backup. But with the Patriots not ready to part ways with their franchise cornerstone, and with Garoppolo’s contract running out, the quarterback became expendable. San Francisco acquired him in the middle of the 2017 season for a second-round pick.

Garoppolo won his first five starts in San Francisco and, before the season was out, he had a five-year contract extension that, at the time, included the highest average yearly salary in NFL history.

Garoppolo threw only eight passes and totaled only 77 yards in San Francisco’s 37-20 win over Green Bay in the NFC title game Sunday. He is helped by a bruising running game recently anchored by Raheem Mostert (220 yards and four TDs on Sunday).

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