Plaschke: Super Bowl LVIII: Wrong-way Plaschke picks lovable 49ers over villainous Chiefs


I hate the tomahawk chop.

The Kansas City Chiefs fans will fill the Super Bowl on Sunday with the most racist, senseless cheer in sports, rooting for their team by portraying Native Americans as bloodthirsty savages. It’s crude, it’s wrong, and it’s stunning that the NFL continues to allow it.

I’m sick of Taylor Swift.

The TV networks actually don’t show her all that much — it’s less than a minute per game — but it feels so phony when they do. The weird cheerleading, the awkward high-fives, the stilted hugs, all of it looks like something choreographed for the dancers in a Swift song. Her fling with Travis Kelce feels less like a serious romance than a marketing ploy, and we’re all suckers for buying it.

I’m tired of Patrick Mahomes.

He’s a truly great quarterback, already the next Tom Brady, but he’s also become a whiner who is always blaming someone else. Did you see how he greeted the victorious Josh Allen after the Chiefs lost to the Buffalo Bills earlier this season? He actually complained to Allen about an offsides penalty that cost the Chiefs the victory. It doesn’t help his image that he’s often accompanied by an insufferable attention-seeking brother.

I admire the Chiefs dynasty, but it’s becoming like the New England Patriots dynasty, once fresh and fun, now worn and tired, and I’m not the only one who feels this way, just ask the Chiefs.

“For some reason, everybody used to love us, we used to be one of the most favorite teams,” said Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones this week on Super Bowl media night. “And now everybody’s like, ‘We’re ready for the Chiefs to lose.’ I don’t know why, what changed. What dramatic incidents happened to where everybody felt like we should lose now, but that’s OK. They can continue hating.”

On that same Super Bowl media night at Las Vegas’ Allegiant Stadium, Kelce was mugging for the jeering crowd.

“I love the boos more than I love the cheers!” he shouted. “Keep them coming!”

OK. Boo.

Meanwhile, while as a longtime Angeleno I am prohibited from actually liking the San Francisco 49ers, I must admit, they’re kind of cool.

Who doesn’t admire quarterback Brock Purdy, fighting off doubters from the moment he was the last player taken in the draft, most recently leading the 49ers to fourth-quarter comeback wins in each of their two playoff games? He’s no Mahomes, but with all of his weapons, he doesn’t have to be.

Who doesn’t marvel at Christian McCaffrey’s toughness, Deebo Samuel’s quickness, George Kittle’s smarts, Brandon Aiyuk’s athleticism, and tackle Trent Williams’ leadership?

And then there’s coach Kyle Shanahan, the one figure in this game most in need of redemption. He was the offensive coordinator when the Atlanta Falcons blew the 28-3 Super Bowl lead to the Patriots. He was the 49ers coach when they blew fourth-quarter leads to the Chiefs in the Super Bowl and the Rams in the NFC championship game.

Shanahan is arguably football’s greatest offensive mind who has never won a championship, and for him to finally break through against the legendary Andy Reid … that would be niftier than any story the Chiefs could tell.

The only thing eminently unlikable about these 49ers is their defense, which is inferior to the Chiefs and just allowed Green Bay’s Jordan Love and Detroit’s Jared Goff to dominate them in long stretches. The defense looked particularly bad as the 49ers fell behind by 17 points to the Lions and, after watching film of that NFC championship game, they’re furious.

“That’s unacceptable,” said safety Tashaun Gipson, later adding, “We get paid too much money for the guys to go out there and put that type of effort on there. Myself included. So, it’s just something that we just know that that’s not our brand of football.”

I’m betting that the usually stout unit will be chastened enough to have a monster Super Bowl. I’m betting that all of the 49ers, who feel like heavy underdogs despite being slight point-spread favorites, will be fueled by the doubters.

And I’m betting against the villains.

Anybody who has read my Super Bowl prediction column in the last 25 years knows that I always bet against the villains.

And, quite predictably, I almost always lose.

I pick Super Bowl winners like the Chiefs receivers catch passes. I’ve had a lifelong case of the drops. I’ve picked incorrectly on 17 of my previous 24 attempts in this column.

I once missed 11 straight picks. I once picked the Buffalo Bills for three consecutive seasons. I never picked the Patriots because, as I said, I never liked the Patriots.

I’ve generally failed because I’ve followed my heart instead of my head, although this method recently has worked.

Two years ago I picked the Rams because, well, of course. Last year, when I was still enamored with Kansas City, I picked the Chiefs and scored again.

So as bad as I’ve been, I’m actually going for a three-peat.

And this season’s choice is obvious, not just for sensibility reasons, but also personally sentimental reasons. The last time the 49ers won a Super Bowl, I rushed home from Miami several days before the game to witness the birth of my third child, the marvelous MC.

She just turned 29.

That arduous 49ers drought is about to end. They’re the smart pick. They’re the fun pick. They’re the right pick.

49ers 30, Chiefs 28.

You’re welcome, villains.



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