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Five Super Bowl LIV storylines

Kansas City Chiefs' Travis Kelce celebrates after the

Kansas City Chiefs' Travis Kelce celebrates after the AFC Championship Game against the Tennessee Titans Sunday, Jan. 19, 2020, in Kansas City, Mo. Credit: AP/Ed Zurga

Can the 49ers slow down Patrick Mahomes?

The most impressive part of the Chiefs’ offense in the postseason has not been the number of points but the breakneck speed at which they are scored. The 49ers have a great defense with strength up front and skill on the back end, but will it be enough to keep Mahomes and Co. from running away with the game?

Which coach will overcome his past Super Bowl flop?

Both Andy Reid and Kyle Shanahan have Super Bowls they’d rather forget. For Reid, it was mismanaging the clock for the Eagles in the fourth quarter of a 24-21 loss to the Patriots in Super Bowl XXXIX. For Shanahan, it was his play-calling as offensive coordinator that helped the Patriots come back from a 28-3 deficit against the Falcons in Super Bowl LI. One of them will walk away with a ring, the other with another Super Bowl loss. 

Is Jimmy Garoppolo legit?

The 49ers quarterback has a staggering 23-5 record as a starter, including 2-0 in this year's playoffs and 2-0 in the regular season with the Patriots in 2016. But there are many who still wonder if he has the ability to lead a team to a Lombardi Trophy. His eight pass attempts in the NFC Championship did little to diminish the idea that he is simply along for the ride with this run-first team, but a strong performance in the Super Bowl will catapult him in class.

Who is the game’s best tight end?

George Kittle and Travis Kelce are the top two tight ends in the NFL, and each led his team in receiving yards this season. Both are strong blockers and route-runners, but Kittle probably has an advantage at the line of scrimmage while Kelce is better finding open spaces in the secondary. The truth is that each is a perfect fit for the offense of his team and whichever team wins the Super Bowl will likely owe a lot to its tight end.

Will Dee Ford find redemption?

A year ago, Dee Ford’s jump offside negated a late Tom Brady interception and allowed the Patriots to beat the Chiefs in the AFC Championship. This year, he’s looking to end the season for the Chiefs once again . . . only now it’s on purpose, The defensive end was traded from Kansas City to the 49ers where he became part of a dominant front.

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