Expect A Heavyweight Clash in Super Bowl LVII

On Sunday the 12th, the best teams in football will go head to head for the sought after Super Bowl ring. In some years, calling the teams who happened to make the Super Bowl the best two would be a stretch, but not this year. The Eagles and the Chiefs were the best teams in their conferences throughout the season, both one and two in record and points scored. 

The Eagles are only two years removed from a four win season. Led by head coach Nick Sirianni, the Eagles have a 14-3 record. The headliner of the team is Quarterback Jalen Hurts, who has consistently improved across the board, setting career highs in basically every category in his third year in the league. Hurts oozes confidence about himself and his teammates.

Hurts has been a star for a long time. In his college days, he was the first true freshman to start for Alabama in 32 years. He has shown himself to be a natural born leader since his first snap for Alabama. 

Famously, however, in 2018, he was taken out of the National Championship game by Alabama coach Nick Saban and replaced by Tua Tagovailoa, who also became an NFL star. Tua took over at halftime and won the game for Alabama. No one celebrated Tua’s performance more than Hurts. Hurts transferred to Oklahoma for his senior year and had, by far, his best year in college.

Hurts is now poised to bring the Super Bowl trophy back to Philadelphia. Hurts would be the first to tell you that he is not the only reason for Philly’s offensive success. He is aided by an elite offensive line that can take over a game and the best rushing offense in the league.  When the offensive line plays to its capability, the Eagles can run the ball at will against any defense. 

Miles Sanders, their lead back, had a very good year, playing well and benefitting from the system he plays in. Jalen Hurts also plays a big role in the rushing game. He has no fear of taking off and running. The offense also has impressive receiving. In a blockbuster draft day trade, the Eagles got star receiver A.J. Brown. Brown has been the final piece of the puzzle for the Eagles’ offense. Brown is a big, strong, fast big play and red zone threat. 

Brown had a relationship with Hurts before they were teammates and they have clicked strongly since becoming teammates. Brown had a career year in his first season with Philadelphia and The Chiefs will have to put in a lot of effort to beat him. 

The problem with focusing on Brown is that it frees up the incredibly talented Devonta Smith. Smith, who teamed up with Hurts for two years at Alabama, is also coming off his best season in his second year in the NFL. Smith won the Heisman in 2020, becoming the first Wide Receiver to win the award since 1991, and only the fourth of all time. Still, people had concerns with Smith’s stature. Although Smith was dominant in college, scouts worried about his weight because he only comes in around 170 pounds. The Heisman trophy winner was drafted tenth and has continued to excel in the NFL. The duo of him and Brown has worked wonders for the Eagles offense. 

Although the Eagles’ offensive play has been dominant, their defense has arguably been even better. In the two playoff games, they only gave up 14 points combined. They are a defense without a clear weak link. The Eagles have four players with double digit sacks. Haason Reddick led the team with 17 sacks. In two postseason games he has 3.5 sacks and a forced fumble. Reddick and his defense make life very difficult for opposing quarterbacks. The Eagles also have stars in the secondary. Safety C.J Gardner-Johnson tied for the NFL lead in interceptions. Darius Slay and James Bradberry are both very solid Cornerbacks. 

The Eagles won their two playoff games by a total of 55 points. The only argument some have against the Eagles is that they haven’t been tested, and there is no greater test than Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs. 

The Chiefs are coached by Andy Reid, who is a story in himself. Reid found immense success with the Eagles throughout his first coaching gig, yet never got the elusive trophy. After Reid’s very successful thirteen year run with the Eagles, when they made the playoffs nine times,  the team chose not to bring him back. 

Reid was snapped up by the Chiefs and he immediately found success in Kansas City. In ten years with the Chiefs, Reid has only missed the playoffs once. He finally got his Super Bowl in 2019 and hopes to get his second. Reid, an elder statesman of the NFL, is revered and respected throughout football. His unique, brilliant offensive schemes and play style make his Chiefs a joy to watch. 

Reid’s success of course is helped by a one of a kind player. Patrick Mahomes has made the Conference Championship in each of his five years as the Chiefs starting Quarterback. Nothing I can say about Mahomes hasn’t already been said. The two-time, soon to be three-time, MVP is in a league of his own. He achieves things on the football field that no one tried, let alone accomplished, before him. Patrick Mahomes makes this a competitive game. The Eagles pretty clearly have the better roster, yet Mahomes is the great equalizer. 

In the Chiefs’ first playoff game this year, Mahomes sprained his ankle. The competitor that he is, Mahomes fought to play most of the game. He did so with no mobility and no ability to put pressure on the ankle. In the Conference Championship game, he was able to put more pressure on his foot but he still had no mobility, which is a huge part of his game. Mahomes’ ability to scramble outside the pocket and improvise is part of what makes him so hard to stop. The condition of his ankle will be much discussed during the build up to the game and it’s something to watch for in the game. 

Mahomes will rely on his most trusted target, Travis Kelce. This season, Kelce had career highs in receptions and touchdowns. The two always seem to be on the same wavelength. No matter how much a team game plans for Kelce, he always finds a way to get open and come up big for his Chiefs. 

Although the Chiefs’ defense is not as dominant as the Eagles’, they still are very solid. Their best player, by a pretty wide margin, is Chris Jones. Jones’s 15.5 sacks as a Tackle is impressive. He also had two sacks in the Conference Championship game. Jones’ success is vital for disrupting the Eagles’ rhythm on offense. The secondary is an interesting unit that relies on inexperienced players. Trent McDuffie, one of the Chiefs’ first round picks, has turned into their most important cornerback. He will have a big role in stopping the Eagles passing attack.

The Super Bowl should be a high quality fight. And for non-football fans, Rihanna is doing the Halftime Show!