It’s full throttle towards Super Bowl LVIII this week and we are edging closer and closer to Chiefs 49ers on Sunday. In a repeat of the 2020 Super Bowl, we will be comparing and contrasting the 2020 and the 2024 Chiefs 49ers Super Bowls.
Four years ago, the Kansas City Chiefs defeated the San Francisco 49ers 31-20 at Hard Rock Stadium, Miami. It was Patrick Mahomes’ first-ever Super Bowl victory, and the Chiefs’ first since 1969.
A lot of things have changed since then. However, there are also a ton of similarities. Below, we will be comparing the 2020 vs. 2024 Chiefs 49ers Super Bowls!
Chiefs 49ers 2020 Recap
Can you remember Super Bowl 2020 between Chiefs 49ers? Well, if not, we’ve got a quick game recap for you!
After San Francisco took a 20-10 lead heading into the 4th quarter, it looked as though head coach Kyle Shanahan would be delivering the 49ers’ first championship since 1994. However, the final six minutes showed just a glimpse of what Mahomes would do over the next half a decade. The 49ers just simply couldn’t contain the star QB any longer.
In just his second season as the starting quarterback at Kansas City, the Texan would deliver Andy Reid’s maiden Super Bowl. He led two touchdown drives in the remaining minutes, throwing two TD passes for Travis Kelce and Damien Williams.
The defense had to see the game out in the final two minutes, but at that point, Mahomes had already provided the momentum shift that was needed. He would receive all the plaudits for his display, too, being named Super Bowl MVP. It was just the third time in Super Bowl history that a team had overturned a double-digit deficit inside the final quarter.
It’s interesting to see that Bill Vinovich will once again referee the Chiefs 49ers Super Bowl. Vinovich was also the referee in 2020, and he hasn’t refereed any of the three championship games since.
He will be joined by officials Terry Killens (umpire), Patrick Holt (down judge), Mark Perlman (line judge), Tom Hill (field judge), Brad Freeman (back judge), Allen Baynes (side judge) and Mike Chase (replay official).
Mike Chase is the only other official to be joining Vinovich from 2020. This will be the third time that Vinovich is the referee for the Super Bowl. He was also the official for Super Bowl XLIX between the New England Patriots and the Seattle Seahawks.
And it's the most in the league by six 👏 pic.twitter.com/SRinf14Qac— Kansas City Chiefs (@Chiefs) February 7, 2024
Chiefs 49ers Roster & Staff Comparisons
A number of members of staff and players will be returning for Super Bowl 2024 after featuring in 2020. The head coaches remain the same in Reid and Shanahan. The Chiefs still have the same general manager in Brett Veach, whilst John Lynch remains the GM at the 49ers.
Dave Toub is still the assistant head coach/special teams coordinator at Kansas City, but the assistant coach for the Niners for the 2019 season in Jon Embree has left. Instead, Anthony Lynn has undertaken the role as assistant coach/running backs.
A couple of coordinator differences can be seen between the two teams. Eric Bieniemy is no longer the Chiefs’ offensive coordinator. He has since been replaced by former Chicago Bears coach Matt Nagy. Steve Spagnuolo is still the defensive coordinator, though, and he thwarted the Niners in 2020. It was also Spagnuolo’s first season as DC at Kansas City, and he could make yet another big impact on Chiefs 49ers this time around.
Shanahan will continue to run the Niners offense like he did in 2019. There have been changes on the other side of the ball, however. Current New York Jets coach Robert Saleh was the defensive coordinator for the 49ers in 2020, but Steve Wilks has now undertaken the role.
In terms of players, Mahomes will, of course, make his return. He is bidding for his third ring and third Super Bowl MVP award. Defensive tackle Derrick Nnadi will feature again for Kansas City as well. It will be the same tight end battle between Travis Kelce and George Kittle.
Corner Charvarius Ward will be appearing again, but he has switched allegiances this time after playing for the Chiefs in 2020. The Niners still have the likes of Deebo Samuel, Fred Warner, Nick Bosa, Dre Greelaw and Arik Armstead still on the roster four years on.
Roster Differences – 49ers
Of course, there are a host of differences between the Chiefs 49ers rosters from 2020 to 2024. However, we will be going through the predominant deviations.
The main difference for San Francisco is that Jimmy Garoppolo is no longer the signal caller, and, instead, Brock Purdy will start under center. Mr. Irrelevant has quickly proven his ability to be a starting QB in the NFL, despite being drafted last overall in the 2022 NFL Draft.
Purdy has an overall playoff record of 4-1, and has taken the Niners one step further than last year. However, he was injured in the Conference Championship game last season. This time, he was able to help lead the 49ers past the Detroit Lions.
Another dominating factor that can improve the Niners’ chances this time around is star left tackle Trent Williams. He has been pivotal in what would otherwise be an underwhelming Niners offensive line.
The Chiefs will have to contain an elite running back this time too. Raheem Mostert was the lead back for the 49ers in 2020, and he did in fact score a TD in the loss. However, Christian McCaffrey is a different level of back, and he could make a huge impact.
CMC had an incredible regular season, rushing for 1,459 yards and 14 touchdowns. He also added a further 564 receiving yards and 7 TDs. He has scored a total of 4 TDs throughout the postseason.
With Samuel still on the roster, the Niners’ pass-catching corps has significantly improved from 2020 to 2024. After drafting Brandon Aiyuk in the 2020 NFL Draft, he has provided excellent depth at wide receiver. He had a career-best 1,342 receiving yards during the regular season, also scoring 7 TDs.
Roster Differences – Chiefs
After trading All-Pro and No.1 receiver Tyreek Hill to the Miami Dolphins, the Chiefs no longer can call upon Cheetah’s services this time around. Hill led Kansas City with 9 receptions and 105 yards at Super Bowl 2020, and his absence is set to make a big difference on Chiefs 49ers in 2024.
Mahomes can’t target Hill on Sunday, but Kelce has been elite throughout the postseason. The star tight end will likely be the leading pass-catching option for Mahomes, but 2023 second-round pick Rashee Rice is the new leading wide receiver in Kansas city.
Rice failed to hit 1000 receiving yards during the regular season. However, he has shown a lot of flashes of how good he can be in this Chiefs offense. He has made a total of 20 catches, 223 receiving yards and a TD throughout the playoffs thus far, and recorded eight receptions each against the Dolphins and the Baltimore Ravens.
We can’t forget about running back Isiah Pacheco either. Although Williams was excellent throughout the playoffs for Kansas City back in 2020, Pacheco is a better back. The 49ers run defense has been a clear weakness, especially during the postseason. San Francisco has allowed 159.0 rushing yards per game (RYPG) during the playoffs.
Pacheco could be in for a big day, and he accumulated 68 rushing yards and a score off of 24 carries against the Ravens. Clearly, Reid isn’t afraid to give the 2022 seventh-round pick opportunities, and he could be a difference maker in Chiefs 49ers here.
It is widely known that the Kansas City defense has been one of its best assets this season. Credit has to be given to coordinator Spagnuolo, but they have added a number of players on the roster to help make improvements.
For example, L’Jarius Sneed has been a revelation at cornerback, and he was drafted a few months after the 2020 Super Bowl victory. Guys such as Trent McDuffie, Nick Bolton, Leo Chenal and Justin Reid have also made a big impact on defense.
Trent McDuffie's statline from MNF:— Kansas City Chiefs (@Chiefs) November 22, 2023
– 4 pressures
– 2 sacks
– 1 pass defended
– 1 forced fumble pic.twitter.com/h1HKi83Lv5
Over the course of the season, we have been able to see the different team trends for Chiefs 49ers. Statistically, it appears the two teams have swapped places in terms of overall play.
For example, for the 2019 season, the Chiefs relied on an explosive offense that utilized the arm capabilities of Mahomes, and the speed of Hill. However, now, they are a more balanced unit, similar to that of San Francisco four years ago. They’ve had to adapt to their changing roster, and they have done so wonderfully.
Ultimately, their defense was nowhere near as strong as it is now in 2024. The Chiefs allowed the 7th-most rushing yards in 2019, and 25th-most passing yards. Compared to 2023, Kansas City has allowed the 18th-least RYPG, and the 4th-least passing yards per game (PYPG).
On the other hand, the 49ers have become reliant on their offense, with the defense failing to limit scoring, particularly in the postseason. The Niners gave up the least passing yards in the league in 2019, and ranked in the middle of the pack for their run defense. However, the 49ers have allowed more RYPG and more PYPG than the Chiefs throughout the postseason.
With Pacheco now on the Chiefs roster, it’s looking like he could be the difference maker come Sunday, capitalizing on the 49ers’ run D woes. Of course, there are a host of star players who can make game-changing plays throughout. Either way, we should be in for a blockbuster!