Fresh off the Super Bowl, there was one glaring difference between the San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs. The temperament behind the center.
One quarterback rallied his troops in the eyes of defeat, while the other panicked and shot from the hip. The quarterback leadership is an undervalued story of the Super Bowl.
Patrick Mahomes‘ Emotional Defiance
There is a sense of pride in a quarterback who can lead his team to victory after being down double digits. Much can be said when it’s done in every game in the playoffs including the Super Bowl. Mahomes led the Chiefs to victories after being down 21 and 10 (twice) during the playoffs.
While trailing to the Houston Texans, Mahomes was on the sideline preaching to his distraught teammates. “Let’s go do something special,” he said with his mantra being “one play at a time.” The emotional intelligence displayed by identifying then redirecting natural negative energy to a feeling of belief proved to be what the Chiefs needed to spark their comeback.
Mix that sheer determination with arguably the best arm talent in the NFL and Mahomes has the potential to go down as one of the best quarterbacks of this era. Having already been the league MVP now the Super Bowl MVP in his first three years, Mahomes’ trajectory is through the roof.
Jimmy Garoppolo‘s Missed Moment
Garoppolo is on the other side of the fence. His teammates will go to bat for him (as they should), but what is demonstrated on the field doesn’t lie. Forget about the skill set, Garoppolo needs lessons in quarterback leadership.
Throughout the playoffs, and much of the season, Kyle Shanahan was able to “hide” Garoppolo due to the run game being so dominant. In the game against the Packers, Garoppolo threw only eight passes as the 49ers cruised to victory.
Sunday night, the game was there for the 49ers to win. Even after their defense allowed 14 straight points in the fourth quarter, the 49ers were in a good position to take the lead with 2:44 remaining. Players looked panicked as if they were unsure of Garoppolo. Down four points, he couldn’t complete a pass in Chiefs’ territory and took a sack on fourth and 10. It was clear that the moment was too big for him. His teammates knew it and so did his coach.
Both teams went into the game with their respective strengths and weaknesses. Both teams have great coaches. However, it was the ability of Patrick Mahomes to galvanize the troops that led to the Chiefs hoisting the Lombardi trophy for the first time in 50 years. When the 49ers needed him to step up in the fourth quarter, Garoppolo shrunk. Garoppolo could have started his legacy, instead, he allowed Mahomes to solidify his own.
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