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Super Bowl cheat sheet: Top 10 storylines as 49ers head to Miami

Chris Biderman, The Sacramento Bee on

Published in Football

The 49ers last played in the Super Bowl following the 2012 season and are looking to match the Patriots and Steelers for the most titles in the league with six.

Put another way, fans in the Bay Area haven't gone long without seeing the 49ers as contenders since the 1980. That can't be said about those in Kansas City, who have waited lifetimes for this kind of opportunity.

6. RAHEEM MOSTERT'S RAPID RISE

Raheem Mostert became the first player in postseason history to have 220 yards and four touchdowns last week against the Packers.

His rise is a perfect sports story. He came into the league as an unheralded running back who was mainly a kickoff returner in college, and then was released by six teams during his first year and a half in the NFL before landing with the 49ers in 2016 when Chip Kelly was the head coach.

Mostert was one of the few players that stuck on the roster when Shanahan and John Lynch were hired in 2017 because of his value on special teams. But he blossomed into the best running back on the league's No. 2 rushing team as the season wore on.

Mostert finished the regular season with eight touchdowns and 515 yards over the final seven games, earning his shot to star against the Packers.

"I did have a lot of doubters and naysayers, and now I get to actually tell them look at where I'm at now," Mostert said. "I never gave up on my dream."

Expect Mostert to be a popular figure in Miami.

7. TIGHT END MEETS WORLD

Speaking of popular figures, only one 49er has a personality as gravitational as Sherman's.

That's George Kittle.

The All-Pro tight end is well-known in the Bay Area for his love of wrestling and easy-going persona. But Kittle's sense of humor hasn't quite hit the national stage yet. That will come this week during the "Opening Night" festivities and his other various media obligations.

If Kittle isn't a well-known star going into this week in Miami, he likely will be afterwards.

 

8. DISTRACTIONS IN MIAMI? YOU DON'T SAY.

Miami is known for its beaches, restaurants, nightlife and, ahem, scenery.

There will be all sorts of distractions pulling players away from football and testing their focus on preparation.

The media will surely use the location as a story line during the week, particularly if players are seen around town enjoying themselves rather than being holed up in their hotel rooms studying their iPads.

9. TOP-RANKED DEFENSE VS. BEST QUARTERBACK

Patrick Mahomes, the reigning MVP, and the San Francisco's defense, the best of the last decade, is such an intriguing match up, it deserves its own full-length story.

10. THE TIES TO THE 49ERS' PAST

Legendary quarterback Joe Montana played for both the 49ers and Chiefs, and tweeted this week that it's guaranteed his team will win the Super Bowl (we see what you did there, Joe).

The 49ers are also returning to the scene where they won Super Bowl XXIX, which gave Steve Young his first championship as a starter, where he was flanked by Jerry Rice, Ricky Watters, Deion Sanders, Dana Stubblefield, Bryant Young, Brent Jones and a slew of others.

Many of those players were at the NFC title game last week at Levi's Stadium, including Rice, who ran the length of the field pre-game last week to get the fans of the home team in a full lather before kickoff. That's unlikely to happen Sunday, but don't be surprised if Rice, Young, Montana and a slew of other former 49ers champions are in the building Feb. 2.

(c)2020 The Sacramento Bee (Sacramento, Calif.)

Visit The Sacramento Bee (Sacramento, Calif.) at www.sacbee.com

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

 

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