Super Bowl LVII: Two Key Matchups Ahead of the Big Game
Super Bowl LVII is full of storylines galore.
Here’s a deeper look at two that the game will most likely come down to:
Andy Reid vs. Nick Sirianni
Philadelphia and Kansas City are quite familiar places for each opposing head coach.
Nick Sirianni coached in Kansas City for four years, mainly as a wide receivers coach.
Andy Reid was the head coach in Philadelphia from 1999-2012 and went to the Super Bowl in 2004, but both parties went their separate ways after 14 seasons following a disappointing 4-12 campaign.
Reid was swiftly scooped up by the Chiefs and didn’t hesitate to start crafting his staff as soon as he got there. His first move? Telling a 31-year-old Nick Sirianni to pack his bags.
It probably didn’t go down that harshly. In fact, there’s not any bad blood between the two at all.
“When I came here, I was told Nick Sirianni is really a special coach,” Reid said. “I loved his personality… But I had David [Culley]. He was my assistant head coach and he’d been with me for 14 years, so he was coming with me."
It was a no-brainer move from Reid, naturally and he did it with class. Plus, things worked out well for both parties.
“It was just kind of receiving my fate there,” Sirianni said. “[Reid] told me face-to-face that he had a guy but had heard good things about me. And I appreciated that, his honesty, his ability to get to me as soon as he possibly could so I could move on and find another job.”
Although, that’s not to say that Sirianni won’t be coming into the big game vying for revenge.
It’s special to face the person who fired you in your first big game, and someone like Sirianni will surely have a chip on his shoulder.
Both head coaches have their uber-talented assistants at their side, which makes this game even more interesting.
For the Chiefs, offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy is one of the greatest offensive minds in the league and defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, likewise, on the defensive end. Both are just about as proven and established as it gets.
On the other hand, the Eagles have two budding prodigies in Shane Steichen on offense and Jonathan Gannon on defense. Each coordinator has gotten head coach buzz at some point in their careers, Steichen and Gannon most recently.
Back to Reid and Sirianni, the two coaches couldn’t be more polar opposites of each other. But both have proved to be effective as their teams are one win away from hoisting the Lombardi.
Sirianni is high-energy and borderline cocky, while Reid is more tactical and composed.
But what’s done behind the scenes will be what decides the victor in this high-stakes coaching matchup.
Sirianni has a chance to do what Reid never did and win a Super Bowl for the city of Philadelphia in just his second season, while Reid can become the 14th head coach ever to win multiple.
Patrick Mahomes vs. Jalen Hurts
There’s a lot of chatter surrounding Reid facing his former team in the Super Bowl, and even the Sirianni narrative is picking up some steam.
Then there’s obviously the Kelce brothers - Jason Kelce and Travis Kelce - the first pair of brothers to ever clash in the Super Bowl, which is cool.
But surprisingly, the quarterback matchup might be the most overlooked storyline heading into the big game.
Patrick Mahomes and Jalen Hurts are the first pair of black quarterbacks to ever face off against each other in the Super Bowl, and there’s set to be fireworks.
The fact that both of them are injured doesn’t help matters.
But in a way, it’s football, so that makes it more exciting. Both teams may be “healthy” on paper, but everyone’s bumped and bruised at this point in the season.
Mahomes and Hurts were the two front runners for MVP in the latter half of the season, and the finish would be a lot closer had Hurts not stumbled and hurt his shoulder causing him to miss two games.
Mahomes is now banged up after suffering a nasty looking ankle injury in the Divisional Round against the Jaguars.
Their injuries are the only reason this matchup isn’t generating more waves, as a lot of people are unsure what the capacity is for these two dynamic playmakers. But they both have two weeks to rest up, rehabilitate and in all reality the game’s going to come down to the plays these two make.
It won’t be the same conditions for each, however.
Mahomes has to face a potent Philadelphia pass rush that led the league with 70 sacks this season and has the league’s top pass defense.
The Chiefs boast the second-most sacks, actually, with 55. But their pass defense is a significant step down from the Eagles.
Hurts also might not have to do as much as Mahomes, as in the last two rounds the Eagles have proven they can put teams away early without Hurts needing to put up huge numbers.
But they haven’t faced a quarterback like Mahomes, who already has one Lombardi under his belt and is seeking a second.
The last time Hurts was in a championship game it was at Alabama in the 2018 SEC title game where he led a 35-28 comeback win against Georgia for an injured Tua Tagovailoa.
The stage is certainly bigger this time around.
On Sunday, February 12, all eyes will be on 1 and 15.
Zach Donaldson is a senior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Senior / Broadcast Journalism