Longest-tenured 49er Ward suddenly has become key fixture – NBCSports.com

thumbnail

Super Bowl LIV was awesome. Certainly more enjoyable for fans of the Kansas City Chiefs than it was for those of the 49ers, but it was a fantastic game nonetheless.

A prolific offense matched up against a dominant defense. Superstars all over the field. A fourth-quarter comeback. It had just about everything, and it kept viewers on the edge of their seats until the final minute.

So, naturally, a rematch in Super Bowl LV would make for the best possible matchup for the Lombardi Trophy in the season ahead, correct?

Not according to Fox Sports’ Jason McIntyre, who incorrectly ranked San Francisco-Kansas City as only the fourth-best potential Super Bowl matchup.

Fourth?! What could possibly be ahead of it?

Above all other potential matchups, McIntyre would like to see the Tampa Bay Buccaneers face the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LV. He then ranked New Orleans Saints vs. Chiefs and Bucs vs. Baltimore Ravens second and third, respectively.

[49ERS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

We’ll give McIntyre his first choice. After all, Tom Brady has played in nine Super Bowls for Bill Belichick, but never against him. With Super Bowl LV taking place in Tampa, the Bucs could become the first team in NFL history to host the Super Bowl in their home stadium.

But, Saints-Chiefs? Bucs-Ravens? Sure, Drew Brees could theoretically walk off into the sunset, and yes, the Bucs’ home-field advantage would remain in the latter matchup. But, come on.

The Brees element is the only compelling thing a Saints-Chiefs matchup would have over San Francisco-Kansas City, and it’s not even certain that he intends to retire at season’s end. He just signed a two-year contract after all, though only the first season is guaranteed.

You know what’s compelling? A rematch.

As for Bucs-Ravens, that doesn’t even have the Brees element. It’s just the flavor of the month matched up against the other predominant team in the AFC. Baltimore and San Francisco combined for one of the best games throughout all of last season, which the Ravens ultimately won 20-17. Why 49ers-Ravens wouldn’t be more anticipated than Bucs-Ravens … well, you’ll have to ask McIntyre.

Brady vs. Belichick is tough to contend with, so there’s no issue with making that the best possible Super Bowl LV matchup. But, 49ers-Chiefs should be No. 2, and frankly, it isn’t close. In fact, I’d argue 49ers-Ravens should be third, followed by Saints-Chiefs and Saints-Ravens. After all, we want to see the best teams, right?

There’s no doubt a 49ers-Chiefs rematch would be another great game. Of McIntyre’s top four choices, only Ravens (-1) vs. Bucs has a smaller spread than Kansas City (-2) vs. San Francisco, according to FOX Bet. And, for what it’s worth, McIntyre would bet on the 49ers in that situation — just as he did in Super Bowl LIV.

“I don’t see a significant drop-off coming for the 49ers defense,” McIntyre wrote, “and with healthy running backs and Kyle Shanahan now having been a part of two blown second-half Super Bowl leads (who can forget Falcons 28, Patriots 3, when he was the OC in Atlanta), there’s just no way he gets conservative again. Right? Right?”

[RELATED: Like Mack, 49ers’ Bosa should see big Year 2 improvement]

Who knows if Shanahan and the 49ers would be able to get that monkey off their back against the same team that put it there.

But one thing is for certain: We want to find out.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back To Top