Greg Cote: Super Bowl primer: Top 10 storylines you'll grow sick of as Chiefs, 49ers head to Miami

Greg Cote, Miami Herald on

Published in Football

MIAMI -- Parochially you know Miami wanted Ryan Tannehill for the Super Bowl it is hosting. The idea of the longtime Dolphins quarterback playing for an NFL championship in his former stadium, under the nose of the team that discarded him, would have been rather surreal and delicious.

But get over it, already. Moving on. The matchup we got for Super Bowl 54, minted Sunday night, will have no problem filling two weeks of mountainous buildup. So: Ready, set ... hype! Here's your primer. Our Top 10 storylines you'll be sick of way before the Feb. 2 game at Hard Rock Stadium:

1. The Drought Bowl: The Kansas City Chiefs last won a Super Bowl in the 1969 season -- think Hank Stram, Len Dawson, Richard Nixon and the moon landing. The San Francisco 49ers last won in 1994 -- think George Seifert, Steve Young and O.J. Simpson in a white Ford Bronco.

That's a half century and quarter century ago. Of the 20 franchises that have won an SB, only the Jets (by one year) have waited longer to win again than the Chiefs. Their wait is even four years droughtier than the Dolphins, whose starved fans have waited since 1973. (A Niners' win would tie the Patriots and Steelers with six Super Bowl titles).

The Niners' and Chiefs' combined 75-year gap between wins is the longest of any Super Bowl matchup between clubs that have before. The previous record combined drought was 57 years by the Colts and Bears in the 2006-season game.

2. Quarterbacks: Patrick Mahomes vs. Jimmy Garoppolo: Yeah, there was a visceral desire for Tannehill to make it to Miami and maybe to get Aaron Rodgers gunning for his second career ring. But Kansas City's Mahomes vs. San Fran's Garoppolo fills a marquee pretty good.


Mahomes' arrival has been the most instantly dynamic the NFL has seen of a quarterback since Miami's Dan Marino in 1983-84. But can the chief Chief now accomplish what Marino never could?

Unlike K.C., the Niners don't live and die with their QB's arm, but primarily with running and defense. Heck, Garoppolo needed throw only eight passes (Holy Bob Griese!) in Sunday's elimination of Green Bay. Still, as Tom Brady fades fast, you know Bill Belichick is wishing his Patriots had never traded Jimmy G. in midseason 2017.

3. Head coaches: Andy Reid vs. Kyle Shanahan: We love a contrast, and get one in K.C.'s Reid vs. San Fran's Shanahan.

Reid, 61, is the seventh-winningest coach of all time with 207 in 21 seasons, the past seven in Kansas City. But what he mostly is is the man who has coached the most playoff games (28) without ever winning a Super Bowl. Can he finally get off the schneid? His 15-year gap between Super Bowls is the second-longest by a coach, to Dick Vermeil's 19 years.


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