2023 Super Bowl: Ranking intangibles between Eagles and Chiefs, including coaching, depth, experience
As Super Bowl LVII approaches, there are plenty of matches to watch. In fact, if you go position by position, you will see pretty quickly that this is a Chiefs vs. Eagles showdown. more coin toss than you might expect. But what about the immeasurable qualities of these two contenders? A secret hidden weapon that works in every club’s favor?
Here’s a quick look at the five different Super Bowl intangibles and which team has the upper hand ahead of Sunday’s competition:
We talk a lot about coaches, yes, and we can witness at least some of their decisions, such as in an ad hoc play call. But it is still difficult to fully quantify the impact of, say, the resume or philosophy of the entire coaching staff. It looks like the Chiefs will easily win here by hiring one of the greatest coaches ever appear in several Super Bowls in Andy Reed. There’s no doubt that Big Red is an offensive innovator whose biggest toy is the player wearing the number 15, further spurring his creative instincts. His defensive coordinator, Steve Spagnolo, can be just as playful thanks to well-timed blitzes. But the Eagles probably don’t get the credit they deserve either. DC Jonathan Gannon relies more on front quad direct pressure – and relatively safe rear end alignment – to get results. But the tandem of Nick Sirianni and the main caller Shane Steichen turned out to be one of the most aggressive and successful on such key downs as the fourth and short.
It’s intangible only in the sense that you can’t know exactly what type of performance awaits on the bench in the event of an emergency. It’s also a pretty obvious victory for the Eagles. First, start with the most important position: If Patrick Mahomes loses in Kansas City, the Chiefs’ title hopes will be taken by 37-year-old Chad Henn, who has thrown all 18 passes in the past two years. If Jalen Hurts is out of the Philadelphia roster, the Eagles will turn to Gardner Minshew, who has started 24 games in the past four seasons. Other premium spots are also better stocked on the Eagles’ side, such as up front, where former starting left tackle Andre Dillard is a substitute; on the edge, where Josh Sweet and Brandon Graham spin behind Haason Reddick; and cornerback, where safety CJ Gardner-Johnson used to play.
Both sides have leggings and bruises in play. The Eagles’ most notable injuries include right guard Landon Dickerson (elbow), right tackle Lane Johnson (groin), and defenseman Avonte Maddox (toe). But Johnson and Maddox have already played through pain and will do so again. On the other hand, the Chiefs were unable to keep Kadarius Toni (ankle/hamstring) and/or Mekole Hardman (pelvis) on the field, with the latter already ruled out, resulting in greater receiver depth. More importantly, No. 1 cornerback L’Jarius Sneed (knee) was limited in Thursday’s practice, potentially leaving their second-string sideman, otherwise full of rookies, short of healthy proven veterans for the big game.
the “it” factor
It’s the fuzziest intangible of all, but you didn’t come here to read about X and O, did you? If anyone has the “it” factor, it’s the person who does whatever it takes for the guys in red behind the center. Mahomes is the flag bearer for this generation in QB, and his unrivaled ability to both freestyle and perform intricate moves with acrobatic athleticism means the Chiefs cannot be discounted. Always. But – and that’s a huge “but” – if any up-and-coming QB other than, say, Joe Burrow is willing to match Mahomes’ “it” factor in a scene like this, it’s probably Hurts. Few young adults embody this unflappable composure, and that helps the Eagles’ rising star to be just a silky-smooth double menace. Hurts has been in the spotlight before, and his strictly business-like approach ahead of the game reinforces that.
Super Bowl Experience
This is the only clear win for the Chiefs, who, in fairness, also have a superior player in the most important position. While only a few Eagles starters remained after the 2017 championship run, including aging D-liners Brandon Graham and Fletcher Cox, Kansas City’s large number of regulars were on the roster not only after the 2020 Super Bowl loss to Buccaneers, but also after their 2019 win over the 49ers. Among them are Mahomes, Travis Kelsey, Chris Jones, Frank Clark and Juan Thornhill, key starters on both sides. And that’s not counting the coaching staff, which remains virtually untouched for the Chiefs.
Eagles (2-1-2) are superior to the Chiefs (1-2-2), but hardly – as it was basically in all our previews of various matches. It’s hard to crack guys, and for good reason: these are the last two teams left alive! This supposed be a close game and all indications are that it will. However, if you’re betting solely on unseen factors, you might consider siding with the small betting favorite and brace yourself for Philadelphia to raise their second Lombardi in six seasons.