US Football

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Quarterbacks in Super Bowl spotlight

When Kansas City and San Francisco meet in Super Bowl LIV there will be three quarterbacks to focus on: Jimmy Garoppolo, Patrick Mahomes and Tom Brady.

The Chiefs' outrageously skilled Mahomes and the 49ers' immensely competent Garoppolo will be the central figures at Miami's Hard Rock Stadium.

But make no mistake, Brady will be omnipresent throughout the championship game.

Sunday (Monday morning AEDT) will mark the first Super Bowl in four years and second in six that Brady and the New England Patriots won't be on the field.

However the future Hall of Famer is sure to be part of the conversation from beginning to end.

While Garoppolo was Brady's understudy in New England, Mahomes, to many, is his obvious heir apparent and the outcome of the game will put one on the path to a leading role when the 42-year-old finally calls time.

Garoppolo already has two Super Bowl rings from his time at the Patriots (2014 and 2016) but didn't take a snap in either contest.

To win his third (halfway to Brady's six), he will have to earn it.

"Your past is part of you," said Garoppolo, who was traded from New England to San Francisco in 2017.

"The Patriots is where I started, what they did there got to this point here.

"Last two Super Bowls I tried to treat them like I was the starter. It's not too far off - all this extra stuff that comes with it is a little different.

"The two (Super Bowl) rings mean a lot but a third would mean more."

At the start of Super Bowl week Brady offered his former-understudy the sporting equivalent of the old 'break a leg' showbiz cliche, texting Garoppolo to "just go win".

In two postseason wins over Green Bay and Minnesota that got the 49ers to the Super Bowl for the first time since 2013, Garoppolo totalled 27 passing attempts and 17 completions for 208 yards.

That's about what Mahomes might throw in half a game.

Garoppolo has displayed impressive game management in his career, going 23 wins for five losses as a starter. Mahomes has produced 27-8 but with considerably more flair.

Garoppolo's contributions have also been minimalised with a 49ers team constructed around ferocious defence and run-first attack.

In their 37-20 win over Green Bay the 28-year-old completed just six passes for 77 yards while running back Raheem Mostert ran for 220 yards - the second most in NFL playoff history - and scored four touchdowns.

Mahomes, on the other hand, has been a one-man highlight reel, particularly when he led the Chiefs back from a 24-0 deficit to dismiss Houston 51-31 in the divisional playoff.

With the help of a speedy receiving corps of Tyreek Hill, Sammy Watkins, Mecole Hardman and running back Damien Williams that could almost contend for Olympic relay gold, Mahomes has thrown for 608 yards and eight touchdowns in two postseason contests.

The 24-year-old does not yet have any Super Bowl rings but does an NFL most valuable player award.

If the Chiefs beat the 49ers he will become the youngest player to win both.

"It's going to be a great challenge for us, we have to make sure we're executing at a high level and not making mistakes and taking it one play at a time," he cautioned.

"It's going to be amazing."

--End of article--

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