Two weeks ago, the city of Seattle tuned into the divisional round of the playoffs with unbridled anticipation and excitement for a possible Seattle Seahawks Super Bowl appearance.
Despite having a team that was destroyed by injuries — forcing the team to sign legendary running back Marshawn Lynch, who was straight out of retirement and fresh off of serving tequila shots to Oakland Raiders fans the week before — Seattle was one win away from a rematch with the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC championship.
Instead of an NFC championship appearance, the Seahawks were overwhelmed early by the Packers. And despite a second half comeback, the Seahawks season ended with a 28-23 loss. A week later the Packers were gashed 37-20 by the 49ers who were looking to win their first Super Bowl in 25 years.
The 49ers and the Chiefs are the two survivors of the 2019-2020 NFL season and will receive the privilege of playing in one of the most watched and glamorized pop culture events in America.
For Seattle Pacific University students, the big game brings on a variety of rooting interests and emotions. According to a poll of 100 SPU students, 43% of those students will be supporting the Chiefs on February 2, 32% will be supporting the 49ers and 25% don’t care either way.
Among those polled, there seemed to be a consistent hatred for the Seahawks rival.
“I’m rooting for the Chiefs because the 49ers beat us and I’m still salty about that,” Josiah Cowart said.
“Something about the 49ers, I just can’t like,” Nathan Campbell echoed.
Despite being in enemy territory, there are many 49er fans at SPU still holding faithful.
Cecilia Krause took a social justice angle in her super bowl rooting interest.
“I want to support the first woman and first LGBT coach in the super bowl,” Krause said, referring to 49ers coach Katie Sowers.
Super Bowl LIV will be the final game played during the anniversary of the hundredth season of the NFL. With the matchup living up to the excitement that this NFL season has brought, there is no doubt that this matchup will be a game to see.
Both teams are led by two of the top quarterbacks this season, with Patrick Mahomes II leading the Chiefs offense and Jimmy Garoppolo at the head of the 49ers.
Both of these teams have well equipped offenses for scoring and a question mark is placed on which team will dominate on defense. Whichever team does that will be the champions of Super Bowl LIV.
Defense will be the key to this game. The question is whether the Chiefs defense, led by safety Tyrann Mathieu and a defense who has intercepted 16 passes on the season, hold up against a 49ers offense who put up the second most points in the regular season this year? Or will it be a strong San Francisco defense, led by cornerback Richard Sherman, who has dominated all throughout the season, but has had some struggles playing against elite offenses, giving up 48 points to the New Orleans Saints in the regular season, the best offense in the league.
This game will also come down to the quality of play-calling on both teams.
With both teams having two of the best coaches this season, fans cannot help but wonder which team will make the right calls and which calls will be question after the game is said and done.
The Chiefs’ play-calling is left in the hands of Andy Reid, who has been coaching in the NFL since 1992 and played a hand in leading many teams to a conference championship game. Or will it be the coach of the 49ers Kyle Shanahan, son of former NFL coach Mike Shanahan who has been on a coaching staff in the NFL since 2004 but got his first head coaching position in 2017 with the 49ers.
The Chiefs and 49ers have had two weeks to prepare for the biggest game of the season. There will be multiple press conferences and interviews for both teams and their players for the week leading up to the big game. With all the distractions both teams are experiencing from the media and fans, the biggest challenge will be keeping their focus on their main objective: winning a championship.
Super Bowl LIV will be played on Feb. 2 at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, FL. The game is set to kickoff at 6:30 pm ET and will be aired on Fox.