Betting on the Super Bowl

I had planned a whole article about the Chiefs advancing to their first Super Bowl in my lifetime, but what good is talking about a Super Bowl appearance when they have every chance to secure a Super Bowl win? There is a slight difference between the two. While I’m totally thrilled to get to watch my team in this game — again, for the first time ever — it’s undeniable the added anxiety it brings. It’s a balancing act between being happy to just be here and preparing myself for the fall.

After falling behind 24-0 only to rout the Texans, 51-31, in the Divisional Round, the Chiefs twice trailed the Titans by double digits — first 10-0, then 17-7 — before scoring 28 unanswered points and triumphing by a final of 35-24 in the AFC Championship. It’s just what Kansas City does: they open games by breathing life into their opponents before Patrick Mahomes steals all the oxygen.

The team they are playing in the Super Bowl, the 49ers, offered their fan base no such drama during the playoffs. At 13-3 and the #1 seed in the NFC, San Francisco dismantled the Vikings 27-10 before taking the Packers manhood in a 37-20 beatdown where quarterback Jimmy G only had to throw the ball eight times. I don’t know a lot of things, but I am absolutely certain if the 49ers only have eight passing attempts in the Super Bowl then it’s going to be a very, very good day for them.

Anyway, this line has mostly been Chiefs -1 since it opened; some sports books are up to Chiefs -1.5, so for purposes of this article we will roll with that.

San Francisco 49ers (+1.5) vs. Kansas City Chiefs

It’s highly likely that my head is up my own ass making this pick. Let’s be serious: how is a Chiefs fan going to pick against his own team? That’s a logical question, but only until you make the distinction between being a fan and trying to make money. Obviously I want the Chiefs to win this game, and obviously I want Patrick Mahomes to win Super Bowl MVP. But… is that not just a little too ordinary of an outcome here? How often does the storybook ending play out exactly how you want it?

I have been a Chiefs fan since 1997. I’ve seen Elvis Grbac, Trent Green, Tyler Palko, Matt Cassel, Tyler Thigpen, Brody Croyle, Brady Quinn, Alex Smith, and a whole bunch of others play quarterback. I’ve seen good coaches — great coaches — like Marty Schottenheimer and Dick Vermeil and Herm Edwards come and go without any titles. Without any… anything, really.

So now you are going to come and tell me the Chiefs are in the Super Bowl, and that Andy Reid is their coach, and that Pat Mahomes is their quarterback, and suddenly something good is supposed to happen? Is that seriously the line you are going to approach me with? No. I refuse to believe it. I can’t fathom that my favorite team is capable of winning the Super Bowl.

The 49ers are a great team. They have a great defense, a great young coach, a great running game. They have all the necessary ingredients to win the big game. And it’s my humble opinion that the 49ers, the team I said was probably going to win the Super Bowl when I wrote my Championship Round preview, is going to do the damn thing.

Life tends to be ironic. My best friend and I used to speculate which ironic way we would end up dying, because that’s usually the way it goes. So, since sports are a part of life — a major part of life depending on which 29 year-old white guy you ask — I think this game plays out ironically. Let’s discuss:

  1. Kansas City, as I mentioned earlier, has trailed by double digits in both of their previous playoff games;
  2. San Francisco has used their running game to dominate both of their previous playoff matchups;
  3. Jimmy Garoppolo hasn’t had to throw hardly at all lately for the Niners to win;
  4. Chiefs head coach Andy Reid has never won a Super Bowl, pretty much the only glitch in his otherwise immaculate, Hall of Fame resumé.

So that’s what it is. What if I told you that all of those bullet points, or numbers, as it were, ended up playing a major role in the narrative of this Super Bowl? What if I told you that most of them would play out in reality exactly opposite?

Here’s how the game is going to go: the Chiefs are going to score a touchdown on their first possession, then they are going to stop the 49ers and score again. Kansas City is either going to be up 10-0 or 14-0, and the 49ers are going to end up winning the football game.

How can such a thing happen? Well, naturally, San Francisco is going to have to abandon the running game, and Jimmy G — the guy who hasn’t had to pass the ball very much during the playoffs — is going to throw them back into the game. Maybe the Chiefs get stopped on offense and they will have to punt, maybe the 49ers are going to force an interception, but the only thing I know for certain is that Kansas City is going to be dangerously close to winning, only to see the Niners squeeze their way back into contention.

Then, and only then, can people begin to hear the whispers from Kansas City’s past. The one where they haven’t won the big game since Super Bowl IV, where they have had great regular seasons without making much noise during the playoffs. Andy Reid, that great coach who could never climb the mountaintop.

I don’t know if the game is going to play out this way, I’m just saying after some twenty-plus years of following sports — and my favorite sports teams, specifically — what I’ve come to realize is sports exist to punish me. They exist to fuck with me. I care too much. I love my teams too much. Good things are not supposed to happen to me.

I dream of an overwhelming Chiefs blowout. I dream of Patrick Mahomes throwing four of five touchdowns on his way to winning Super Bowl MVP. I can already see the confetti coming down, Mahomes in a long embrace with Andy Reid, and Travis Kelce acting a fool on national television. I don’t believe in god and I won’t be praying for such a moment, but in my mind I can see it happening. I can almost taste it.

But then I’m reminded of the fact that I’m a Chiefs fan. This isn’t going to happen, because it can’t happen. It isn’t meant to happen. Kansas City is going to give me all the hope in the world. They are going to take a lead in this game and make me start believing.

And then the 49ers are going to show up, and Jimmy G is going to rip my heart out. The media has been talking nonstop over the last two weeks about how the Niners running game is strong, and how the Chiefs run defense is weak, and neither of those two things are going to matter. It’s going to be Jimmy G — the ex-Patriots’ backup quarterback — who was put on this earth to haunt my sports fan dreams. Let it happen. I’m ready for it.

While my heart wishes so desperately for a 35-17 Chiefs victory, I know it won’t be that easy. I know I’ll be sitting at the edge of my seat, hoping and believing, until finally the clock runs out and I realize I’m going to have to wait, forever and ever, until next season finally comes.

Final score: 49ers 35, Chiefs 32

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