BEVINS: Picking a Super Bowl LIV team to root for
As a Washington fan who cheers for the Browns as long as they’re not matched up against my Redskins, it’s been a long time since I’ve had much of a rooting interest on Super Bowl Sunday.
I came close this year, since my oldest daughter is a Tennessee Titans fan, by virtue of them having more pink on their uniforms a few years back during October (Breast Cancer Awareness Month) than the aforementioned Browns.
But their Cinderella run came to an end in the AFC Championship game against the Kansas City Chiefs. Because of that, neither of my Titans-fan daughters plan to watch Sunday’s game, but have assured me they’ll be rooting for the San Francisco 49ers anyway.
If you and your kids aren’t fans of — or angry at — the 49ers or Chiefs though, you may be rather ambivalent toward them. That doesn’t mean you can’t watch and enjoy the game, but I’ve always found it more fun to pull for one team or the other.
And so, in a tradition that is almost as old as the News and Sentinel’s own Madeline Scarborough, I’m once again offering advice on how to pick a team to root for when you otherwise just don’t care.
Disclaimer: This is not intended to tell you who will win the game. The correct answer to that is either the team with the most points or the team for which Joe Montana played.
1. Without the Browns, Bengals or Steelers, there’s not a “home” team to cheer on. At 766 miles from Parkersburg, Kansas City, Missouri, doesn’t seem very local. But distance is relative, especially compared to the 2,566-mile trek to Santa Clara, California, where the 49ers play.
CHIEFS 1, 49ERS 0
2. ALMA MATERS
Even if there’s no local connection with the teams, there might be with the players. That’s not the case if you’re a fan or alum of West Virginia, Marshall or Ohio Universities, but the Ohio State Buckeyes are represented on both squads.
The Chiefs have the edge in volume, with backup linebacker Darron Lee and practice squad running back Mike Weber.
But I score this one for San Francisco, whose sole OSU player is defensive lineman and first-round draft pick Nick Bosa, whose name is more likely to be called during the broadcast.
49ERS 1, CHIEFS 1
When all else fails, some folks just pick the team whose uniforms they like best. The Chiefs’ red-and-white jerseys are simple and striking, but the 49ers take those colors and add gold for a classic uniform that hasn’t changed significantly over the years. Thus they’ve been spared some of the modern looks that are, frankly, hard to look at.
49ERS 2, CHIEFS 1
San Francisco — who did poorly enough last season to snag Bosa with the No. 2 overall draft pick — got to this Super Bowl a little ahead of schedule.
People expected them to be better this season, but not this good. That makes them a bit of an underdog, with a young head coach in Kyle Shanahan, Tom Brady’s longtime backup Jimmy Garoppolo at quarterback and a lot of unheralded players making major contributions.
The Chiefs were expected to contend, with quarterback Patrick Mahomes poised to be a star for the next decade-plus. Andy Reid is one of the most successful and innovative coaches in league history, but when it comes to the Super Bowl, he’s never won a ring to go with his iconic ‘stache. I think he’s the sentimental favorite for a lot of folks to put a crowning achievement on a Hall of Fame career.
CHIEFS 2, 49ERS 2
Kansas City seems to have a volume advantage here too, since their name is the Chiefs and their actual mascot is a cartoonish canine named KC Wolf. Appealing to the masses or dodging politcally correct criticisms that a Redskins fan certainly can’t make, who knows?
But I always give weight to originality here and despite UNC Charlotte’s sports teams also using the 49er moniker (due to the school becoming a separate college rather than closed as an extension of Chapel Hill in 1949), San Francisco takes it. The 49ers are synonymous with the California gold rush, a nickname that ties this team to its location as well as any in sports, even the Utah Jazz.
49ERS 3, CHIEFS 2
Contact Evan Bevins and email@example.com.