This week’s Super Bowl matchup pits a pair of the games’ best quarterbacks; Patrick Mahomes and Brock Purdy. Both currently have stats and success that likely will land them in the Hall of Fame … that is if Purdy remains on the pace he has established in just over a full season as a starter, beginning last December, and twice leading San Francisco deep into the playoffs. Mahomes could call it a career and has already done enough work to earn a first ballot entrance into the Canton shrine.
Mahomes has a pair of Super Bowl wins and two of his all-time playoff losses were against Tom Brady. First, in his initial season as a starter in the AFC Championship Game against the New England Patriots, and two years later versus Brady and his Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Super Bowl LV. Mahomes overall record in postseason play is 14-3 with a pair of Super Bowl triumphs.
Purdy, the last player selected in the 2022 National Football League draft, was forced into the starting role after a pair of signal callers for the Niners, Trey Lance and Jimmy Garoppolo, were lost for the season to injuries. Tagged with the title Mr. Irrelevant, for being the last player selected in the draft, Purdy has upset the draft projections just like a sixth round choice did in 2000, Tom Brady.
Purdy led the 49ers to the playoffs last season after taking the reins of the team in December. He completed the Niners drive to the playoffs and scored a pair of postseason victories before being injured in the first quarter of last year’s NFC Championship Game in Philadelphia. That is the only postseason game Purdy has lost, twice winning this season with a pair of comebacks against the Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions.
Okay, we’ve got a couple outstanding quarterbacks to battle in Super Bowl LVIII, but one would have to give the edge to Mahomes. Wouldn't they?
Seems logical, given his experience and postseason record.
Then why, I pose, are the 49ers favored on the point spread in this game?
This, after all, is a year in which the Chiefs defense allowed less points than every team in the league except the Baltimore Ravens, who gave up 280 during the regular season while Andy Reid’s squad surrendered 294. The Chiefs already beat the Ravens in the AFC Championship Game in Baltimore’s home stadium, and now get the 49ers on a neutral field.
Where is the advantage for the 49ers in that?
The 49ers gave up the third fewest points this year, four more than the Chiefs, with 298. So I’m still looking for a 49ers edge.
It is tough to think the 49ers passing game with Purdy is superior to that led by Mahomes, but Purdy has averaged 8.7 yards per attempt this season while Mahomes has gained 6.6 yards per pass attempt.
Defensively, these are two of the best teams in the league in defending opponents passing games, both allowing less than six-yards per attempt.
Okay, we can look at the quarterback comparison and see Mahomes has not had his best season, more attributable to a suspect receiving corps than his skills, and Purdy has only one full season under his belt and has been downright impressive.
Still, add it all up, and you can see why nearly 70% of the wagers on this game are backing Mahomes and the defending Super Bowl Champions.
Then why, we pose again, are the 49ers favored in Sunday’s Super Bowl?
Only one reason.