Super Bowl LVIII (58) – Las Vegas Hosts Kansas City Chiefs Vs. San Francisco 49ers Rematch – Who Will Win?

Tomorrow night, we will see the NFL Champion crowned. It’s a bittersweet moment as we cross over two irreversible truths – 

The best team of 2023 is revealed, and the offseason has officially begun. 

This will be the 9th time a pair of teams play a rematch of a previous Super Bowl, with the first occurrence taking place following the 1978 season. This is the second Super Bowl rematch for the 49ers and the first for the Chiefs. 

Ultimately, this is the biggest game of the NFL season because it decides the best team, but also because it’s the only game played on a Sunday during the season when no other games are played. After a season filled with football, it all comes down to one Sunday and one game. Then it’s over until September.  

This will be the 4th Super Bowl appearance for Kansas City QB Patrick Mahomes and the 5th for head coach Andy Reid. It’s the 1st appearance for San Francisco QB Brock Purdy and the 2nd for head coach Kyle Shannahan. Mahomes is 2-1, Reid is 2-2, while Shanahan is 0-1. 

There is a ton riding on this game for all of these players and coaches, but there is probably a little more on the shoulders of the 49ers as they need to prove they can win on the biggest stage again, something they haven’t done in nearly 30 years after winning five championships between 1981 and 1994. They returned to the Super Bowl in 2012 after an 18-year hiatus only to lose, returned in 2019 only to lose again, and now here they are hoping the third time’s the charm. 

The Chiefs appeared in the first Super Bowl and lost, returned to win in 1969, and then spent 50 years trying to get back. It was worth the wait as they won their second title in 2019, returning in 2020 only to lose before returning in 2022 and winning their second trophy with Mahomes and third overall. Even though they are the defending champs going into the game, they need to prove they can still win on the biggest stage despite an offense running lean on superstar players, something the 49ers are certainly not lacking this time. 

Super Bowl Rematches 

There have been eight rematches in the Super Bowl previously, and the team that won the first meeting is 5-3 in the rematch. The Steelers and Cowboys first played in 1976, with the Steelers winning, then faced each other again in 1979, with the Steelers winning again. Washington lost to Miami in 1973, then got revenge in 1983. San Francisco defeated Cincinnati in 1981 and won again in the 1988 rematch. Dallas defeated Buffalo in 1993 and 1994. Dallas followed that up by getting revenge against Pittsburgh in 1996. The Patriots beat the Rams in 2001 and again in 2018. The Giants beat the Patriots in 2007, met up again four years later, and defeated the Pats. New England beat the Eagles in 2004 and met up again in 2017, but the Eagles won this time around. 

And that brings us to Super Rematch number nine, with the 49ers hoping to get revenge for losing to the Chiefs four years ago. Can the 49ers find the magic, or will the Chiefs add to the repeat winner’s circle? We’ll find out soon. 

By The Numbers 

Fun fact – this is the 56th Super Bowl to get its name from Roman Numerals. The first two games were initially called the “AFL-NFL World Championship” before retroactively being named Super Bowl I and II.  

You may have already heard plenty of stats and trends about these two teams and the regular seasons they had, but here’s the thing – the regular season means nothing in the playoffs. Coaches reach deep into their bag of tricks, and the players elevate their games to levels we may not have seen before when the playoffs roll around, which means double in the weeks leading up to the Super Bowl. 

With everything on the line, you’ll still get glimpses of the team you know, but you will see plenty of things you’ve either never seen before or seen so rarely you forgot they could happen. 

On offense, the 49ers have more star power than the Chiefs, but the numbers are pretty close. San Francisco averages just 20 more yards of offense. They average 15 more yards through the air and five more on the ground. Football is often called a game of inches, and the game may come down to a few yards here or a few yards there, but don’t assume just because the 49ers have a crowded offense that they are head and shoulders above the Chiefs. Kansas City still knows how to move the ball when it counts. 

Where it gets interesting is the 49ers average exactly a touchdown more per game than Kansas City, and an extra touchdown could be the difference between champions and runner-ups. 

On defense, Kansas City has held serve in the playoffs. They allow 60 fewer yards per game than the 49ers, 20 fewer through the air and 40 fewer on the ground. If a game comes down to a few yards, it might be tougher to move the ball on the Chiefs than the 49ers, even if San Francisco scored on Green Bay and Detroit, who are not known for their defense. Points allowed is a big one, and it’s a big difference. In their playoff games, the Chiefs allow two fewer scores than San Francisco. So that tiny edge the 49ers appear to have on offense might be more even-up once you factor in the Chiefs’ defense and how solid they have been in these playoffs. 

Turnovers are a stalemate; both teams take care of the ball and get enough takeaways to give their offense extra possessions while keeping their opponent off the field. 

In their first Super Bowl matchup, the Chiefs were the #2 seed in the AFC and were favored to win as the home team. The 49ers were the #1 seed in the NFC and were the underdogs and the away team. 

This time, the Chiefs are the #3 seed in the AFC and the underdogs as the home team. San Francisco is the NFC #1 and is favored to win as the away team. Mahomes has been the favorite in the Super Bowl twice, winning one and losing one. He was the underdog last year and came away as the winner. In their previous two Super Bowls, the 49ers were the #2 seed and favored in 2012, but they lost. In 2019, they were the underdog and lost as the NFC #1 seed. So, there is not much to take away from the seeds, the favorite, or the home team. It’s all a toss-up. 

Prediction

The 49ers are favored by 2 points, and Vegas has to favor someone, but you get the impression this game is pretty dang even. What it boils down to is this – who do you trust in the biggest moments of the biggest game? I really like Brock Purdy, Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk, George Kittle, and Christian McCaffrey … but I trust Patrick Mahomes and Andy Reid. It’s entirely possible the 49ers will go full buzzsaw and put the entire world on notice on an international broadcast featuring cartoon characters (if you watch the game on the correct channel), but I don’t think so. 

This will be a classic back-and-forth game, with multiple (more than five) lead changes and some white-knuckle drives to close the game out. And in the end, the 49ers will do many things really well, but they won’t win. I predict the Chiefs will grind out a 24-21 win for their third title in five years and are crowned champions while becoming the latest dynasty in NFL lore. A win for the Chiefs would also mean the first back-to-back champions since the 2003-2004 New England Patriots. 

Game Notes

Pregame ceremony

National Anthem – Reba McEntire

America the Beautiful – Post Malone

Lift Every Voice and Sing – Andra Day 

Kickoff

3:30pm with live broadcast on CBS or Nickelodeon 

CBS team – Jim Nance, Tony Romo, Tracy Wolfson, Gene Steratore

Nickelodeon team – Noah Eagle, Nate Burleson, SpongeBob SquarePants, Patrick Star, Sandy Cheeks. 

Halftime Performer

Usher

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About Casey Mabbott 253 Articles
Casey Mabbott is a writer and podcast host born and raised in West Philadelphia where he spent most of his days on the basketball court perfecting his million dollar jumpshot. Wait, no, that’s all wrong. Casey has spent his entire life here in the Pacific NorthWest other than his one year stint as mayor of Hill Valley in an alternate reality 1985. He’s never been to Philadelphia, and his closest friends will tell you that his jumpshot is the farthest thing from being worth a million bucks. Casey enjoys all sports and covering them with written words or spoken rants. He has made an art of movie references, and is a devout follower of 80's movies and music. I don't know why you would to, but you can probably find him on the street corner waiting for the trolley to take him to the stadium or his favorite pub, where he will be telling people the answers to questions they don’t remember asking. And it only goes downhill from there if he drinks. He’s a real treat.