In honor of the 49ers being in a Super Bowl for the first time in seven years, Daisy Barringer has returned to SFist to do pre- and post-game coverage. Her 'Daisy Does the Niners' column ran on SFist, ICYMI, from 2011 to 2017.
And… I’m back. For those who are new around these parts, I’m a die-hard 49ers fan and SF native who pretty much lives for football season. Like, I don’t care if you’re my best friend in the whole world; if you’re getting married on a Sunday when the Niners are playing, I’m gonna miss the wedding. Like, if I were trying to have a baby, I definitely wouldn’t have unprotected sex in the months of April or May lest that thing decide it wants to come out during a 49ers playoff game. So you can only imagine how I’m feeling right now on the eve of the 49ers seventh Super Bowl appearance. Their #QuestForSix. I’m so anxious that my hands are shaking as I type this. I anticipate a sleepless night ahead knowing that by tomorrow evening, I will either be the happiest human in all of San Francisco or seriously contemplating self-defenestration.
Here’s the thing about 49ers football. It’s not actually very fun for me to watch games. Especially this season where so many games came down to the final drive or even the final play. It’s basically three hours of nail-biting anxiety, hopefully with a few amazing joy-inducing moments, but always with at least a few plays that send me flying off my couch in a mild rage. It’s not until the game is finally over that I’m able to feel happiness. And that’s, of course, only if we win.
Luckily, the 49ers have made a habit of winning this season. So much, that we find ourselves playing in the championship game. We’ve been called “pretenders” by pretty much every media outlet. We’ve been told that Jimmy Garoppolo is nothing more than a game manager with an extremely handsome face. Even when we were the only undefeated team in the NFL, people were still saying, “Yeah, but…”
And yet here we are. In the biggest game we’ve played since the 2012 season, a devastating loss that all of these years later still has me shouting, "JUST GIVE THE BALL TO GORE." It’s been a rough road since then with some pretty devastating seasons (the Niners are the third team ever to make it to the Super Bowl after winning four or fewer games the previous season), but tomorrow we have a chance to win our sixth Super Bowl, and tie with the Steelers and the Patriots for most championship titles in the NFL. Vegas has the Chiefs favored to win by a point and a half and of 194 media people, 116 have picked the Chiefs to win.
But, I, of course, think the Niners are going to bring it home. Here’s why:
- The 49ers have the league’s best defense. The Chiefs may be able to throw the ball downfield better than any other team, but the Niners D has allowed the fewest passing yards in the league. They also do an excellent job of rushing the passer to the point that I never thought I’d get over Nick Bosa’s tweets praising Donald Trump, but now I’m basically the president of his fan club. I’ve also turned the corner on Richard Sherman and all of that charisma that used to drive me bananas is now one of his most endearing qualities. (I do, however, remain blocked by him on Twitter.) Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes is undoubtedly going to make some big plays, but if our defense can get to him in the pocket and stop him from scrambling, I think we’ll be able to hold them to few enough points that we’ll win.
- The 49ers' running game. The Niners love to run the ball (only Baltimore had more rushing yards in the regular season). And Kansas City’s defense just … isn’t that great. (They were 28th in the regular season against the run.) Plus, who doesn’t love 49ers RB Raheem Mostert’s story, getting released by six different teams in two seasons before finally landing with the Niners (he looks at a list of all of the teams that cut him before every game as motivation) and his surfing TD celebration (he was offered a surfing sponsorship in high school but turned it down to play college ball) is one of the best in the NFL.
- The 49ers' passing game. So here’s the thing. Everyone says that the key for the Chiefs will be to make Jimmy G throw the ball, but what people seem to be forgetting is that he’s actually good at doing just that. And our receivers and tight ends are good at catching it. They’re also good at making blocks to allow other people to make big plays. Is Jimmy G going to throw the ball a ton? Probably not, but he’ll certainly have more than the eight passes he had against Green Bay and I expect some of them will come as a shock to Chief’s fans who expect him to either throw too high or hold onto the ball for too long. Also: let’s just take a moment to appreciate George Kittle who is not only a beast, but always looks like he’s having the most fun of any human ever.
- Patrick Mahomes, duh. Patrick Mahomes is a really, really good quarterback. He won the NFL Most Valuable Player award in 2018. He’s thrown 76 touchdown passes in the last two seasons. His arm strength is insane. So is his mobility. He rarely gets sacked and almost never throws interceptions. Plus, he has some great receivers and their tight end Travis Kelce is dangerous when it comes to deep passes. Okay, now that I’m typing all of this I’m getting nervous again.
- Tyrann Mathieu. The Chiefs safety makes big plays. If someone is going to intercept Garoppolo, it’s going to be him. In fact, I’d almost be surprised if it doesn’t happen. I hate myself for saying that, but I’m trying to keep it real.
The Rest of It
- I imagine this game is going to be very close and also high scoring. Like so many Niners games this season, I won’t be surprised if it comes down to who has the ball last. The over/under is 54; if you’re a betting man or women, I’d take the over.
- I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the Niners win the coin toss and defer to the second half. I think if we can get on the field and force the Chiefs to go three-and-out on the first drive of the game, that will set us up for success.
- It’s been raining like crazy in Miami, but the weather forecast says the sun should be out, which doesn’t bode as well for us as it does the Chiefs since we prefer to keep the ball on the ground anyway.
- This is the first time these two teams have ever met in the Super Bowl and the Chiefs first appearance in 50 years. The won that game against the Minnesota Vikings. The last time the 49ers won was against the San Diego Chargers in 1995. That was 25 years ago.
- I actually don’t love the fact that Jimmy Garoppolo is so handsome (in my opinion, the best looking man to ever play football) because it’s distracting. I need to focus on football not on chiseled jawlines and a smile that makes my heart go pitter-patter. (Sorry, just thought y’all should know my thoughts on that very important matter.)
- I need to go take a Xanax now, but I’ll be back on Monday with my thoughts about the game. GO NINERS! #BeLegendary
Kickoff from Hard Rock Stadium in Miami is slated for 3:30 p.m. PT and will be televised by FOX. I will be tweeting furiously which you can follow along with @daisy on Twitter.
Photo: 49ers Twitter/Daisy Barringer