We’re a week or so away from finding out which two teams will contest Super Bowl LIV in Miami.
The NFC has two strong teams with big fanbases – Green Bay and San Francisco – while the AFC has the glamourous Chiefs and their powerful offense and the underdog Tennessee Titans who have upset New England and Baltimore.
Super Bowl LIV numbers will be strong – it’s always the #1 rated sporting event on TV – but there’s no doubt certain teams (Green Bay, San Francisco) carry a cachet that others don’t.
Interestingly, none of these teams have long histories with each other; none have played more than 14 times against each other in the regular season and only the Chiefs and Packers have ever met in the post-season.
1. Packers v Chiefs
Tough to pick a #1, but this game would feature a certain Hall of Famer (Aaron Rodgers) against a potential Hall of Famer (Patrick Mahomes) in a matchup of the two teams that played in the first ever Super Bowl. It’s made even more intriguing by the fact that Mahomes didn’t play in the regular season meeting between the two.
Met this season? Yes, Week 8: Green Bay 31 @ Kansas City 24. Matt Moore started for Kansas City with Mahomes injured. The game was very even statistically, with each team earning 21 first downs and the Packers barely outgaining the Chiefs 256 yards to 249. Rodgers was 23/33 for 305 yards and 3 touchdowns but was sacked five times. Moore was 24/36 for 267 yards and 2 touchdowns. Note: The Packers also won a pre-season meeting 27-20.
TV prestige? Strong. The Packers, despite being the NFL’s only ‘community team,’ are well-known and well-supported throughout the country (and the world) and would have arguably an even greater prestige factor than the 49ers.
Historical perspective? Relatively strong despite the fact that they’ve only played 13 times overall (the Chiefs hold a 7-5-1 advantage). These two franchises played in 1967 in the first ever Super Bowl, which was actually called the AFL-NFL World Championship Game back then. This would be a huge matchup given there’s been so much hype around this being the NFL’s 100th season.
2. 49ers v Chiefs
Surely the choice of many neutrals and anyone who wants to see the team with the best record in the AFC play the team with the best record in the NFC. Also would feature two of the NFL’s up-and-coming star quarterbacks in Jimmy Garoppolo and Patrick Mahomes.
Met this season? Not in the regular season, but the 49ers did win a pre-season game 27-17.
TV prestige? Strong. This would probably be the preferred game for Fox, who have rights to the Super Bowl. San Francisco is the biggest TV market of the teams left and along with Green Bay, the most prestigious franchise.
Historical perspective? Weak. They’ve met 13 times (49ers hold a 7-6 advantage) but never in the Super Bowl. Have played only three times in the regular season in the last 10 years (Chiefs have won twice).
3. Packers v Titans
Hard to split ‘em if the Chiefs are knocked out, but surely a Rodgers v Ryan Tannehill matchup is preferable to Tannehill v Jimmy Garoppolo? The Titans are going to be a tough sell anyway with their run-heavy offense.
Met this season? No.
TV prestige? Somewhat weak. Fox would be happy with the Packers, but you can only promote the underdog, Derrick Henry and Tannehill returning to Miami so often.
Historical perspective? Weak. Have only met 12 times, six as Houston Oilers, once as Tennessee Oilers and five times as Tennessee Titans. Only played twice in last 10 years, with results split between the two teams.
4. 49ers v Titans
Despite the non-glamourous QB matchup, the San Francisco defense against the running of Derrick Henry would be an intriguing battle. As mentioned, Fox really wants the Chiefs in the Super Bowl.
Met this season? No.
TV prestige? Weak. The 49ers are glamourous but the Titans, as mentioned, don’t resonate with most US fans.
Historical perspective? Weak. Have met only 14 times, 9 times as Houston Oilers and 5 times as Tennessee Titans (49ers lead series 9-5). Have only played twice in last 10 years and San Francisco has won both.