‘Welcome to Arizona where the sun is shining outside and the stars on the field look to do battle in Super Bowl LVII. Today, we have a rematch of Super Bowl XIX pitting the NFC Champion San Francisco 49ers against the surprise AFC Champion Miami Dolphins.’
Could this actually come to be the words from the announcing crew at State Farm Stadium on February 12th? Are we really headed for a rematch of the only Super Bowl Dan Marino participated in and where he lost to Joe Montana and the 49rs to complete the 1984 season?
In a year that saw the Buffalo Bills open as the prohibitive favorite and expected to be challenged by the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC, it was the Dolphins who weaved their way through the competition to represent the AFC in the contest to decide the winner of the Vince Lombardi Trophy. Meanwhile, where the defending Super Bowl Champion Los Angeles Rams dropped like an anvil off a roof and the team that was a favorite in the NFC, the Green Bay Packers, missed the playoffs, it is the 49ers who emerged from the conference race to give Jimmy Garoppolo one more chance to silence his critics in his second Super Bowl appearance in four years.
All that is left to be decided this season is whether Tua Tagovailoa can continue his magical breakout season in this third professional year, or will he fall victim like Marino did 38 years ago to the 49ers in what turned out to be his best chance to earn a Super Bowl ring?
Am I getting ahead of myself here?
Sure, but that is my job. And I’ve got some pretty good information that points to these two teams meeting for the second time in a Super Bowl. Here is why:
The Miami Dolphins are doing something that is common for a Super Bowl winner … they are winning the close games while not dominating the point spread results and playing out of a division that is one of the best in football. All four teams in the AFC East Division had talent and seasons that could have spelled success for any of them. When a team is tested by worthy competition in their division, like the Dolphins were by the Bills, New York Jets and New England Patriots, they gain the mettle that serves them well in highly contested postseason games.
The Dolphins are also under the direction of a head coach they are inspired by to play their best. It was a surprise move that the Dolphins replaced Brian Flores with Mike McDaniel this offseason. From the outside, in his three years as head coach of the Dolphins, Flores seemed to have this team headed in the right direction. But, not unlike the National Basketball Association Golden State Warriors, who replaced Mark Jackson with Steve Kerr after Jackson seemed to turn a doormat franchise into a contender before Kerr made the Warriors champions, McDaniel did the same with the Dolphins.
In San Francisco, the 49ers stumbled out of the gate this year with an opening loss to the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field and were defeated on the road by two more teams that weren’t in the playoff field at season end, the Denver Broncos and Atlanta Falcons. Then, a second week injury to second-year quarterback Trey Lance handed the offense back to Garoppolo in a year of redemption for a quarterback that gets reviews in contrast to his winning percentages.
In October, the 49ers acquired offensive juggernaut Christian McCaffrey, and the team just got better and better as their explosive offense was designed by their talented coach, Kyle Shanahan. Now, he gets to gain his own redemption after being the closest offensive coordinator in NFL history to winning a Super Bowl that didn’t. He was on the wrong side of Tom Brady’s miracle comeback in Super Bowl LI when his Falcons surrendered a 28-3 second half lead en route to a crushing overtime loss, 34-28.
So let’s get down …..
“Wake up Dennis, you’ve got to get to work?”
“Why were you smiling in your sleep?”
“Oh, I was dreaming? I was thinking about the 49ers and Dolphins in Super Bowl LVII.”
“The Super Bowl? It’s not even Thanksgiving yet,” my wife said while still waking me up.
Do dreams come true?
Sometimes, maybe this time.
Let’s start here, with the game in Mexico this Monday night when the 49ers meet the Arizona Cardinals. After a character building tough win over the Los Angeles Chargers last Sunday night this one is going to come easy to the talented ‘Super Bowl bound’ 49ers.
Qoxhi Picks: San Francisco 49ers (-8) over Arizona Cardinals