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The Starting 11 – Super Bowl LVIII

San Francisco, Kansas City battle for Vince Lombardi Trophy in Super Bowl LVIII Sunday​

LAS VEGAS ­— PATRICK MAHOMES and BROCK PURDY were both in elementary school the last time an NFL team won consecutive Super Bowls.

When New England defeated Philadelphia on Feb. 6, 2005, to secure a second straight title in Super Bowl XXXIX, ANDY REID was on the Eagles’ sideline in a 24-21 loss. This time, Reid, Mahomes and the Chiefs have an opportunity to break the longest stretch of seasons without a repeat champion in NFL history. There were eight repeat winners over the first 39 Super Bowls, but none over the last 18.

Nineteen years ago, KYLE SHANAHAN had just ended his first season as an NFL assistant coach with Tampa Bay. And after watching his father, Mike, win consecutive Super Bowls (1997-98) as head coach of the Denver Broncos, the younger Shanahan with a victory this week would make that father-son tandem the first such duo in NFL annals to win Super Bowls as head coaches.

CHRISTIAN McCAFFREY’s dad, Ed, was a wide receiver on each of those Broncos teams and he also earned a ring in San Francisco’s last Super Bowl-winning season, 1994, when Mike Shanahan was the 49ers’ offensive coordinator. Could the Shanahans and McCaffreys create a remarkable generational milestone this week?

Not if CHRIS JONES and the vaunted Chiefs defense has their way. And not if Mahomes can capture his third Super Bowl victory, something only four previous quarterbacks have accomplished: TOM BRADY (seven) and Pro Football Hall of Famers TERRY BRADSHAW (four), JOE MONTANA (four) and TROY AIKMAN (three).

So stock up that pantry, don’t forget ice for the coolers, dust off your favorite Super Bowl recipes and join more than 100 million of your closest friends watching on CBS.

Super Bowl LVIII is here.

The Starting 11 entering Super Bowl LVIII…

  1. SOMETHING’S GOTTA GIVE: Since Allegiant Stadium opened in 2020, the Chiefs and 49ers are a combined 5-0 at the facility. Kansas City is 4-0 all-time in Las Vegas, including a Week 12 victory over the Raiders earlier this season. The 49ers, meanwhile, won their only regular-season game at the stadium, a 37-34 overtime triumph over Las Vegas in Week 17 of the 2022 season.
  2. NUMBER OF THE WEEK – 11: The number of Pro Bowl selections, including 2023, earned by 49ers tackle TRENT WILLIAMS prior to playing in his first Super Bowl this week. Only three other players – Pro Football Hall of Famers CHAMP BAILEY (12), BRUCE MATTHEWS (12) and REGGIE WHITE (11) – earned as many Pro Bowl selections prior to playing in their first Super Bowls.
  3. LEGENDARY PACE: Kansas City’s PATRICK MAHOMES at age 28 will become the youngest quarterback in history to start a fourth Super Bowl, two years faster than the previous youngest, 30-year-old TOM BRADY in 2007. With a victory, Mahomes would join Brady and Pro Football Hall of Famer TROY AIKMAN as the only quarterbacks ever to win three Super Bowls prior to their 30th birthdays.
  4. SPOTLIGHT – INDIVIDUAL MATCHUP: The key to victory in Super Bowl LVIII could be in the middle of the field. When the nearest defender was a linebacker, Kansas City’s TRAVIS KELCE led all NFL tight ends during the regular season with 393 receiving yards, according to Next Gen Stats. Meanwhile, San Francisco’s FRED WARNER allowed only a 61.9 passer rating as the nearest defender in coverage this season, lowest among NFL linebackers per NGS.
  5. SPOTLIGHT – TEAM MATCHUP: Sunday features one of the best defensive matchups in Super Bowl history. During the regular season, Kansas City allowed just 17.3 points per game, second in the league behind Baltimore. San Francisco’s defense (17.5) ranked third.
  6. STREAK SPEAK: Kansas City moved quickly to hire ANDY REID as head coach on Jan. 7, 2013. Since that day, over 11 seasons, the Chiefs have not experienced a losing campaign. No other NFL team has an active streak of winning seasons longer than five years. Reid has led his team to Super Bowls in four of the past five seasons after the franchise went 49 straight years (1970-2018) without a Super Bowl berth.
  7. DID YOU KNOW?: Niners running back CHRISTIAN MCCAFFREY and Pro Football Hall of Famer TERRELL DAVIS are the only players in league annals to average at least 110 scrimmage yards per game in both the regular season and postseason (minimum 75 and five games, respectively).
  8. UNDER-THE-RADAR STORYLINE: Middle Tennessee State in Murfreesboro, Tenn., has produced three players expected to see action in Super Bowl LVIII: Chiefs linebacker DARIUS HARRIS and wide receiver RICHIE JAMES, and 49ers cornerback CHARVARIUS WARD. In fact, this week marks the fifth consecutive season in which an MTSU product will don a Super Bowl uniform. James and Ward actually played for the opposite teams in Super Bowl LIV, James for the 49ers and Ward for the Chiefs. Ward made his way to Murfreesboro in serendipitous fashion. The MTSU defensive backs coach, Steve Ellis, was on a recruiting trip at Hinds (Miss.) Community College when he discovered Ward, who caught the attention of Ellis when the 155-pound athlete delivered a monster dunk in a pickup basketball game. Ward used MTSU as a springboard to the NFL, where he led the league with 23 passes defensed and earned his first Pro Bowl selection this season.​
  9. TREND TIME: San Francisco quarterback BROCK PURDY entered the league as the final choice in the 2022 NFL Draft, held in Las Vegas. Since that day, Purdy has an .808 winning percentage as a starter, has passed for 9.2 yards per attempt, has compiled a 47-14 touchdown-to-interception ratio and owns a 111.2 passer rating – all the best marks in the NFL among quarterbacks with a minimum of 20 starts (including the postseason).
  10. NEXT GEN STAT OF THE WEEK: San Francisco wide receiver BRANDON AIYUK entered the NFL and joined the 49ers in the first round of a virtual 2020 NFL Draft less than three months after they lost to Kansas City in Super Bowl LIV. Fast forward three years to the 2023 NFC Championship Game. With 6:29 remaining in the third quarter and the 49ers trailing, 24-10, Aiyuk kept his focus in tracking a deflected deep ball and hauled in a 51-yard reception at the Lions’ 6-yard line. According to Next Gen Stats, Aiyuk traveled 10.3 yards while securing that completion. Three plays later, he caught a 6-yard touchdown pass from BROCK PURDY to cut the Detroit lead to one score. Inspired by Aiyuk’s miraculous catch, San Francisco went on to win, 34-31.
  11. AND LAST BUT NOT LEAST: Kansas City’s ISIAH PACHECO is expected to become the first running back since Pro Football Hall of Famer TONY DORSETT in 1977-78 to start Super Bowls in each of his first two NFL seasons. The Chiefs selected Pacheco 251st overall, 11 picks before BROCK PURDY (262nd), in the seventh round of the 2022 NFL Draft. Like Purdy, Pacheco’s name was announced at a podium in Las Vegas.
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