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Super Bowl LVIII Preview

By Brendan Kaufman, Staff Writer

After three weeks of NFL playoff games, the biggest game of the year is nearly upon us. With the powerhouse Kansas City Chiefs representing the AFC and the consistent threat of the San Francisco 49ers representing the NFC, it’s a matchup for the ages and a rematch of Super Bowl LIV.

The playoffs leading up to this point have been filled with exciting matchups and shocking upsets. In the end, the two teams that were seen as most likely to make the Super Bowl by experts ended up being the final two remaining. 

Freshman broadcasting major Mike Voltaggio points out a few of the highlights from the postseason so far and his general thoughts on the NFL playoffs as a whole.

“The playoffs have really been all over the place to be honest,” Voltaggio said. “Some teams that were expected to do well didn’t do so hot and some teams that no one saw doing much did more than expected. I think the matchup between the Chiefs and Niners was always expected and while it wasn’t the matchup that most people probably wanted, it was the game that they knew was going to happen and I think it’ll live up to that hype.”

Meanwhile, broadcasting alumni Ryan Boettcher had a more negative outlook on this year’s postseason as a whole.

“I’m gonna be real with you, these playoffs have been pretty mid,” Boettcher stated. “Outside of the Rams-Lions game and the Lions-Niners game, the overall play was not very good. I want to see more competition in the playoffs and not whatever we saw this season.”

Courtesy of Paramount

The matchups that people wanted going into the big game vary from person to person. Some fans were hoping for the Detroit Lions to finally make it to their first Super Bowl, while others were hoping Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens could get over the playoff choker stigma and head to the biggest stage. Voltaggio shares his thoughts on wanting these two teams to make the Super Bowl.

“I wanted to see the Ravens versus the Lions,” he said. “I had a feeling at a certain point that it wasn’t going to happen, but I think it would’ve been a really cool matchup to see at the end of it all. The matchup we got is going to be a fairly good game though, so it’s not the end of the world.”

Boettcher, on the other hand, had a surprising opinion on the matter.

“At the beginning of the playoffs, I actually wanted to see the Buccaneers play the Ravens in the Super Bowl,” he said. “But once we made it to the conference championships, I wanted the Lions to make it. No one really wanted to see a 49ers-Chiefs matchup again.”

The Kansas City Chiefs head into this game after winning their fourth AFC championship game in six years. The combination of Patrick Mahomes, Andy Reid and a much-improved defense has paved the way for this Chiefs team to maintain a high level of consistency in the NFL. However, Voltaggio still believes the Chiefs have a little bit more to prove to the world.

“I mean, the Chiefs have done a lot these past few years,” he said. “Patrick Mahomes is going to his fourth Super Bowl in six years, after making the AFC championship every single year. He really wants to prove this year that he should absolutely be in the conversation with guys like Brady, who he’s lost to every time they faced in the playoffs. Another ring this year would put the argument between those two to such an intense level.”

The San Francisco 49ers come into this game with a lot more hunger as they lost to the Chiefs in 2020 during Super Bowl LIV. Their high-powered offense, coached by Kyle Shanahan and piloted by stars such as Brock Purdy, Christian McCaffrey and George Kittle, in combination with their fierce defense, makes them a team that no one wants to face at full strength. Time may be running out for their window, however, as Boettcher brings up their situation after this season’s conclusion.

“The Niners need to win this Super Bowl,” he said. “You’re going to need to pay guys soon. Purdy wants to get paid, Aiyuk wants to get paid, McCaffrey wants an extension and their defense is getting older and older. I think Shanahan can keep them competitive but they have to get it done this time if they want to win one.”

The 49ers are currently favored slightly to win over the Chiefs by a margin of less than a field goal. A close matchup is expected between these two teams, an expectation that Voltaggio shares.

“It’s going to be a very offensive and very close game,” he said. “I think whoever gets the ball last is going to win the game so I can’t really say a specific team for right now. The final score is going to be something like 38-35 off a last-second field goal.”

Meanwhile, Boettcher foresees a storybook ending to this NFL season.

“I’m gonna say Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce have a great game,” he said. “Two touchdowns between those two and it’s gonna come down to a field goal attempt as time expires to give the Chiefs a 38-35 win, just like last year. Taylor Swift is gonna be at the game so I think it would be fitting for her to get her first ring as well.”

The two teams face off for the final game of the NFL season on Sunday, Feb. 11 at 6:30 p.m. Millions of fans from across the country will be tuning in to catch the largest American sporting event of the year as the Kansas City Chiefs try to defend their title from the San Francisco 49ers.

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