The Hater’s Guide to Super Bowl 54
Congratulations America, you finally did it! For the first time in 356 years, the Patriots will not be in the Super Bowl. Yes, Derrick Henry and the Titans (the fucking Titans?!?!) successfully executed the Patriots, sending them and their loathsome fans (including yours truly!) to the exit. For their valiant deeds the Titans were burnt alive by Pat Mahomes and the Chiefs, because if you think America rewards people who do nice things you’re not paying attention.
Has this diminished in any way the bile I feel towards this year’s Super Bowl participants? Reader, it has not! Because this Super Bowl, while it doesn’t feature the worst team in the world, does feature two bad teams! So, like the Bloomberg-Biden primary you know this country deserves, you have to decide which of these two terrible options you hate less. Let’s meet the contestants!
Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs went up against two very overmatched teams — the Texans (who have Deshaun Watson and no one else) and the Titans (Derrick Henry and no one else). Both times the Chiefs fell flat on their faces and dug themselves into a huge hole before waking up and burning Houston and Tennessee to the ground. So, props to KC for playing with their food!
Why you should like the Chiefs
PAT MAHOMES IS YOUR GOD! Man, he’s so cool. In Maddens “Create-A-Player” mode it’s possible to make a player who’s comically overpowered, with perfect abilities in everything. Mahomes is that player, if the game developer then fell asleep on the keyboard and accidentally gave him superpowers. He can make every throw a quarterback can make, as well as several that no one should be able to make. And if you somehow manage to keep him from passing, he’ll just run right around you. He’s truly a game-breaking player.
However, for as good as Mahomes is, he can’t reach his true insane potential without the right players around him. And the Chiefs have surrounded this mad god of flamethrowers with speed demons. Tyreek Hill, Mecole Hardman, Travis Kelce are all monsters at their position, easily capable of taking over a game. Sammy Watkins was the #1 receiver for the Bills, but here he’s maybe the fourth most dangerous player, at best? And then, crazy brain genius Andy Reid has developed a massive array of schemes and route concepts to get these monsters one-on-one with hapless defenders. The result?
Last year, in his first year as a full-time starter, Mahomes threw 50 touchdowns, won the MVP and only lost in the AFC Championship in an overtime shootout to the greatest player of all time. This year, he’s in the Super Bowl. He’s only 23. Honestly, who knows what his ceiling is, but watching him play is a hell of a lot of fun.
Also, their defense broadly sucks but Tyrann Mathieu will probably do something nuts this game and any chance to root for the Honey Badger is good.
Why you should hate the Chiefs
Andy Reid is an absolute moron. You may have read pieces that argue that Reid is a sympathetic figure, as the winningest coach to never win a Super Bowl. This is brutally wrong, as Reid’s postseason failures have mostly come directly from his inability to manage the clock, literally the easiest part of his job. The fact that he’s an offensive mastermind makes this even more infuriatingly incomprehensible.
This man was handed Donovan McNabb, and all he could manage was a brutal Super Bowl loss. Even inbred coaching failson Mike McCarthy was able to stumble ass-backwards into a title with Aaron Rodgers, Andy Reid hasn’t even been able to do that. Pat Mahomes doesn’t have to throw seventeen touchdowns a game just because his defense is trash or his running backs are corpses — it’s because he knows any smaller of a lead is subject to Andy’s inane lategame idiocy. The man transforms from a terrifying brilliant wizard to a stupid fat hobbit whenever there’s less than four minutes on the clock. Why. BUY A STOPWATCH ANDY!
Tyreek Hill beat his pregnant girlfriend. Frank Clark was kicked off his college team for punching his girlfriend in the face. Fuck the Chiefs.
My family is from Kansas, and I have relatives in Kansas who I love, so I say this from a place of love: Kansas is the bleakest place in America. It is a never ending horizon of existential despair, opioid addiction and racism. The abyssal void at the center of Daniel Fish’s Oklahoma! is instantly recognizable to anyone who’s spent three consecutive days in Kansas. Kansas voters deserve credit for rejecting Kris Kobach, but then they also created Kris Kobach in the first place. The friendly pastoral kindness that charms jaded urban visitors is always a cover for insanity of some sort. If Iran nuked Kansas no one would notice for a week.
Great barbecue though!
San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers faced down the Vikings, a good team with solid players, as well as the Packers, powered by All-World QB Aaron Rodgers. Both times the 49ers smiled and ground their opponents into paste. The games were over by halftime. Props to the 49ers for not fucking around!
Reasons to like them
The 49ers probably have the best offensive line and defensive line combo in the league. While the Chiefs have built their team around space-age tactics, esoteric formations, and artistic deployments of speed demons, the 49ers have embraced the fact that football is primarily a game about large men hitting each other very hard. They’ve bet that if their large men hit yours hard enough, none of that 2020 fancy space-age passing stuff actually works. So, if you embrace football as a primal game of cavemen hitting each other over the head with large rocks, watching the 49ers is pretty fun.
Also, if you’re a Patriots hater like 99% of the country, watching former Patriots backup and crown prince Jimmy Garroppolo play in a Super Bowl while Tom Brady fumes at home is probably pretty funny.
Reasons not to like them
You don’t actually like line play, don’t lie to me. At least when the Chiefs are clobbering you they’re doing it with cool highlight-reel throws. There is nothing fun about watching Raheem Mostert run for six yards over, and over and over again. The 49ers suck the life out of every game they play in, by design. Jimmy Garroppolo and Deebo Samuel are actually pretty good, but this team barely even pretends to pass! Instead they run the ball a million times, never give the other team the ball, and when the other team gets the ball Nick Bosa and Dee Ford rip off the quarterback’s arms. Which, fine as a strategy, but it makes for a very boring viewing experience. The only entertainment value this team provides is watching diagnosed lunatic George Kittle hunt down and dismember fleeing defenders, and even that gets boring after a while.
Nick Bosa is a Trump supporter. George Kittle is an insane person. If Kyle Shanahan wins this everyone will stop making fun of him for blowing a 28–3 second-half lead in the Super Bowl. Fuck the Niners.
San Francisco might be better than Kansas City (in the same way a concussion is better than cancer) but it is still a terrible place. Everyone Limes/Ubers/Lyfts everywhere because if you spend 10 minutes walking around San Francisco you’ll be stabbed by a homeless person or worse, cornered by a startup founder asking for a third round of funding. Late capitalism has taken a fun, vibrant weird city and populated it entirely with recent MBA grads who are all product managers at Google. The culture of the city today is an insufferable mix of the worst parts of New York materialism, Boston provincialism and California exceptionalism.
Things get even bleaker in the greater Bay Area! Palo Alto is the worst place on earth. I spent an hour in Redwood City once and sheer boredom took at least two years off my life. Berkeley is fine, but not as cool as Berkeley people think it is. If there was a god who cared about us they would not allow Menlo Park or Mountainview to exist. If Iran nuked the Bay Area everyone would be performatively sad, but secretly happy they never had to hear from tech bros who founded BlockBark (a blockchain-secured dating app for dogs) again.
Oakland is cool though!
Now you know why you should hate both teams, and why neither team should win. Unfortunately, barring the 0–0 tie these teams deserve, it seems like someone is going to have to win this game. So who should you root for?
The sentimental pick
As distasteful as the Chiefs are, the appeal of Patrick Mahomes is pretty overpowering here. And sure, a fanbase finally winning a Super Bowl after 50 years is pretty cool. Fine, give Andy Reid his participation trophy Super Bowl. Most importantly — fuck the Niners. Chiefs all the way!
The smart pick
In almost every Super Bowl, people get suckered into believing that the best quarterback can will their team to victory, when the most recent evidence is actually in the opposite direction (See Foles, Nick). While Pat Mahomes is an amazing unbeatable god, if you did want to beat him, you’d probably need a team with a devastating ground game to churn up the clock and an insanely good defensive line that can pressure him without blitzing. Which — the 49ers have. The Niners have the defense to slow down Mahomes, and the ground game to score easily and keep the ball out of his hands. Even worse, the Chiefs defense is terrible against the run, and the Niners just eviscerated two teams that had decent run defenses. Fuck, the Niners are going to win this, aren’t they.
49ers 375, Chiefs 30, Pat Mahomes 136
Enjoy the game!