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Super Bowl 54 story lines: Can Patrick Mahomes remove the Andy Reid stigma?

Rick Stroud | From Patrick Mahomes’ no-look passes to a possibly incredible double honor for John Lynch, they won’t disappoint.
Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes holds the Lamar Hunt Trophy as he celebrates winning a NFL, AFC Championship football game against the Tennessee Titans, Sunday, Jan. 19, 2020, in Kansas City, MO. The Chiefs won 35-24 to advance to Super Bowl 54. (AP Photo/Colin E. Braley)
Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes holds the Lamar Hunt Trophy as he celebrates winning a NFL, AFC Championship football game against the Tennessee Titans, Sunday, Jan. 19, 2020, in Kansas City, MO. The Chiefs won 35-24 to advance to Super Bowl 54. (AP Photo/Colin E. Braley) [ COLIN E. BRALEY | AP ]
Published Jan. 27, 2020

TAMPA — The quarterback who brought the no-look pass to football is the player you won’t be able to take your eyes off during this week at Super Bowl 54 in south Florida.

Patrick Mahomes, the 24-year-old son of a major league pitcher, is not only the new face of the Kansas City Chiefs but could soon become the most recognizable figure in the NFL.

You’ll hear imitations of his Kermit the Frog voice, learn how his Show Me haircut (shaved on the sides and flowing on top) is growing on so many kids in the Midwest, how he didn’t start playing football until he got to Whitehouse (Texas) High School.

Related: What do the Bucs have in common with the Super Bowl? Read on

Mahomes sat behind Alex Smith as a rookie. By then, he had already learned what it takes to be a pro by hanging out at ballparks with his dad, Pat, who pitched in the majors for 11 seasons. Mahomes was a right-handed pitcher who was drafted by Detroit — the Tigers, not the Lions.

Mahomes lasted until the No. 10 overall pick in the 2017 NFL draft, much to the derision of Bears (Mitchell Trubisky), Chargers (Mike Williams) and Bengals (John Ross) fans. Even the NFC Champion 49ers, who held the third overall pick and went for Stanford defensive lineman Solomon Thomas, have to answer for that. Mahomes won the league’s Most Valuable Player award in his first season as a starter, became the first player to throw 50 touchdown passes and seems poised to be back in this game for years to come.

Here are some other Chief-49ers storylines:

The Andy Reid stigma

The Chiefs head coach currently holds the title as the greatest NFL coach to never win a Super Bowl. It’s been 15 years since Reid has been in this game. Reid won five NFC championships with the Eagles but his only appearance in the big game fell short in Super Bowl 39 against the Patriots. He’s 61, but with Mahomes, he could have several more chances. Reid said he can’t wait to rock his Tommy Bahama shirts in south Florida. “I’m fired up. I’m fired to go to Miami,’’ Reid said after the Chiefs beat the Titans in the AFC Championship game. “I need to get on a diet so I can fit in my clothes.’’

Could this be John Lynch Week?

The 49ers general manager endured an 0-9 start to his career as the boss and then went 4-12 in 2017 after quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo suffered a torn ACL. He has done a boffo job building the team from the inside out. The Niners are known for their fierce pass rush where they have five former first-round picks, including free agent Dee Ford. He traded a second-round pick for Garoppolo. The Niners defense is a big topic unto itself. But the former Bucs safety is a finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame for the seventh straight year and will learn Saturday if he gets the call to Canton. On Sunday, he could win the Super Bowl as a general manager. Or he could walk away from Miami empty-handed.

Related: It wouldn’t be a Super Bowl without a former Buc in the headlines

The Shanahan family

There’s never been a father and son duo to win a Super Bowl as head coaches. Mike Shanahan won two with the Denver Broncos. We’ll learn how much he combs over 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan’s game plans, but he certainly suggests come things. Nepotism is a big reason people get jobs and it’s no different in the NFL. But Kyle, 40, earned this opportunity. He started as an offensive quality control coach with the Bucs under Jon Gruden in 2004-05. People hated on him as the offensive coordinator for the Texans, Browns and Falcons, where he may have been very responsible for a 28-3 collapse in the Super Bowl to the Patriots. He has the same aggressive and run-first style of coaching as his dad.

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A very Gronk-like Super Bowl

Hey, if you like tight end play, we’ve got a Super Bowl for you. The 49ers have George Kittle, who led his team with 85 catches for 1,053 yards and five touchdowns. He also can get it done as a run blocker and brings all the energy to the San Francisco offense. Travis Kelce can do everything for the Chiefs that Kittle can do. He had an even better year with 97 catches for 1,227 yards and five scores. This may determine who is the NFL’s best tight end.

Bad things happen at Miami Super Bowls

On the eve of Super Bowl 23, Bengals running back Stanley Wilson told teammates he was going to study his playbook before the team’s last meeting. Running backs coach Jim Anderson found Wilson in the bathroom, blacked out from a cocaine high. The relapse was Wilson’s third relapse under the NFL drug policy. He didn’t play in the game that the Niners won and was banned for life. Remember Falcons safety Eugene Robinson? On the eve of Super Bowl 33, he was given the Bart Starr Award for the player who displays the most moral character. Late that evening, Robinson was arrested by an undercover female police officer posing as a prostitute as he offered her $40 for oral sex. He played in the Falcons’ 34-19 to Denver, yielding John Elway’s 80-yard touchdown pass to Rod Smith.

Related: NFL shamelessly grabs Kaepernick’s message

Raheem Mostert’s redemption

Before he rushed for 220 yards and four touchdowns in the 49ers 23-10 win over Green Bay in NFC championship game, 49ers running back Raheem Mostert was cut by six NFL teams — the Eagles, Dolphins, Ravens, Browns, Jets and Bears. The undrafted running back from Purdue is the reason Garoppolo attempted only eight passes last week and 27 in two playoff games.

Super Bowl 55 anyone?

Hey, one year from now, the Super Bowl is in Tampa Bay! There will be a large contingent of people promoting the game during the week in Miami. It hasn’t been here since 2009 and the event has changed a bunch since.