SuperBowl LVII – 2023

Yesterday came the semifinal games between the San Francisco 49ers versus the Philadelphia Eagles and the Cincinatti Bengals versus the Kansas City Chiefs.

The end result was that the Eagles beat the 49ers pretty impressively and the Chiefs outlasted the Bengals. For those counting, I predicted the Eagles win but felt the Bengals might have the edge over the Chiefs (you can read my .500 prediction here!).

However, the results of the Eagles/49ers game shows why predictions about sporting events are often the proverbial roll of the dice.

In the 49ers first series, quarterback Brock Purdy, who to that point has shown flashes of brilliance, sustained an injury to his throwing arm. Note that Mr. Purdy, who was the very last pick in the previous year’s draft (Mr. Irrelevant, as the joke goes) and who only got to be quarterback because of injuries to the other quarterbacks before him, had not lost a single game since he became QB of the 49ers.

His injury meant fourth string quarterback Josh Johnson was inserted into the game and, shortly thereafter, he fell back and apparently sustained a head injury/concussion and suddenly the 49ers had to bring Purdy back in for the bulk of the game… even though he could no longer throw the ball.

So what we had was a game where the Eagles knew each and every play would be a run and, let’s face it, the 31-7 loss they sustained could have been a lot worse given these circumstances.

Essentially any prediction about this game was null and void because of Purdy’s injury, and that, my friends, is why sports is a tough beast to predict. Had Purdy not sustained the injury, I suspect the game would have been closer but… I dunno.

Regarding the Chiefs and the Bengals, as I wrote in my prediction, I worried starting Chief QB Patrick Mahomes -easily one of the very best QBs playing the game right now- came into the game with a “high ankle sprain” and, frankly, I wondered if he would be able to win against the Bengals, who were healthier and dismantled the Buffalo Bills the week before.

Welp… it was a tight game and Mahomes gutted it out and obviously played with a lot of pain and, in the end, they managed to kick the winning field goal with only seconds left to play.

Which brings us to the SuperBowl in two weeks.

Who do I think can win?

You know… I’m at a loss. My head says the Eagles. They appear to be a very complete team although their QB, Jalen Hurts, is nursing a sprained sternoclavicular joint. This is where the clavicle or collarbone meets the sternum/breastbone. Sounds painful.

Still, we are talking about a team that is a very fearsome unit.

My heart, on the other hand, feels like the Chiefs -and especially QB Mahomes- really, really, really wants this, as was demonstrated in the way he played yesterday.

Does Mahomes have another -quite literally the last- gutsy game to play? Or will the Eagles continue their march?

We’ll see in two weeks, won’t we?