Much like snowflakes, no two football games are exactly alike. Even with the same two teams playing against each other, the outcome is almost certain to be significantly different from one game to the next. Since the Super Bowl LIV matchup between the San Francisco 49ers and the Kansas City Chiefs will be one game to decide it all, it’s difficult to tell what could happen when these two teams meet. But it would at least be easier to determine the most likely result of the Super Bowl if we had a larger sample size of these two teams squaring off against each other, especially considering these teams did not meet once in the regular season.
That’s why I’ve made it an annual tradition, as of a couple of years ago, to simulate the Super Bowl 10 times in Madden to get a better idea of what might occur once all the hype is over and the game is actually played. In the two years that I’ve done this, both Super Bowl simulations ended up with the teams splitting all 10 games evenly, though last year I decided to break the stalemate and determined that the Patriots would be the winners. While I was correct about that, none of the10 simulations had the game being quite as low scoring as it turned out to be.
Here’s how Madden 20’s 10 simulations of Super Bowl LIV played out:
- Chiefs win 20-12
- Chiefs win 41-17
- Chiefs win 28-27
- Chiefs win 34-23
- 49ers win 27-20
- Chiefs win 25-19
- Chiefs win 45-6
- Chiefs win 20-17
- Chiefs win 26-22
- 49ers win 29-24
There you have it. Apparently, Madden sees this Super Bowl as being much more clear-cut in terms of who will come out on top, with the Chiefs winning 8 out of the 10 games in the simulations. Let’s have a closer look at some these games though and draw some better conclusions about the various ways this could possibly go.
- Chiefs win 41-17
- Chiefs win 45-6
With the Madden simulations giving the 49ers just a 20 percent chance of winning the Super Bowl, they also suggest it’s just as likely that the Chiefs will win over the Niners in a rout. Both of these games present a nightmare scenario of what could happen if San Francisco is forced to rely on Jimmy Garoppolo in the absence of an effective running game. In these two games, Jimmy G averaged just 13/30 passing numbers, good for just a 43 percent completion percentage, to go with a paltry 128 yards and an alarming 2.5 interceptions. If Garoppolo is off in this game, it will likely spell disaster for the Niners.
Chiefs win 28-27
In this one, San Francisco held the lead for the entire game, but on a final desperation drive for the Chiefs, Mahomes hit Tyreek Hill for a 44-yard touchdown as time expired. The extra point by Butker sealed the deal, and the Hill catch was inevitably dubbed the “The Kansas City Miracle” or “The Hill Thrill” or something like that.
49ers win 27-20
In one of the rare wins for San Francisco, a back-and-forth game fittingly came down to the final couple of drives. Tevin Coleman ran in a TD with just 3:30 left in the game to tie it at 20. With Mahomes poised to march down the field and win it for the Chiefs, he instead threw a pick-six to Richard Sherman with just under two minutes to play. He was then unable to recover to tie it on the ensuing drive. Richard Sherman probably retires after this and adds an iconic Super Bowl play to his Hall of Fame credentials that is replayed for years.
Chiefs win 20-17
Okay, this was a bit of a weird one. It’s a tie game at the start of the fourth quarter. The 49ers marched down the field on a long drive and got all the way to the Chiefs’ 5-yard line when Garoppolo was intercepted by Bashaud Breeland. The Chiefs used the opportunity to set up Butker for a 52-yard field goal, which he made to take the lead, but there was still plenty of time left. The 49ers were making headway into Chiefs’ territory but then made the puzzling decision to call two running plays with Breida and the clock ended up expiring with them at the KC 24-yard line. Without a doubt, pundits then spent the entire offseason justifiably questioning Kyle Shanahan’s inexplicable play-calling.
Chiefs win 26-22
In what has to be considered a trend in these simulations, a 44-yard TD pass to Hill put the Chiefs up with just 3:13 left in the game. And in what also has to be considered a trend, Garoppolo took a drive deep into Chiefs’ territory only to throw an interception to “The Honey Badger” himself, Tyrann Mathieu, that effectively ended it.
49ers win 29-24
This was the kind of game any 49ers fan who’s worried about Garoppolo would absolutely love to see. The 49ers were down 24-13 at the start of the fourth quarter, but Garoppolo threw TD passes to both Kittle and Sanders to lead the 49ers to 16 unanswered points and a Super Bowl victory.
Here are the average games for some key players:
Jimmy Garoppolo: 21/35 (60%), 251 yards, 1.3 TDs, 0.9 INTs
Patrick Mahomes: 23/30 (77 %), 286 yards, 2.3 TDs, 0.7 INTs
Garoppolo’s Floor: 10/28, 112 yards, 0 TDs, 3 INTs in a 45-6 loss
Garoppolo’s Ceiling: 30/45, 381 yards, 3 TDs, 0 INTs in a 29-24 win
Mahomes’ Floor: 28/37, 382 yards, 2 TDs, 3 INTs in a 27-20 loss
Mahomes’ Ceiling: 26/36, 330 yards, 4 TDs, 1 INT in a 45-6 win
Just like many of the other pundits out there, it appears that Madden also feels the Chiefs have a significant advantage at the quarterback position. While the difference in their yardage over these simulations may be pretty negligible, the disparity between Mahomes and Garoppolo is especially apparent in the completion percentage and TDs. Mahomes is expected to get one full touchdown more than Jimmy G in the Super Bowl.
Tevin Coleman: 80.7 yards
Damien Williams: 77.9 yards
Coleman’s Floor: 17 carries for 55 yards in a 34-23 loss
Coleman’s Ceiling: 26 carries for 101 yards in a 26-22 loss
Williams’ Floor: 24 carries for 49 yards in a 27-20 loss
Williams’ Ceiling: 22 carries for 114 yards in a 26-22 win
Given how easily the 49ers’ running game sliced through the Packers’ defense in the NFC Championship, many would expect there to be a larger gap between the top backs on each team. However, Coleman and Williams stick mostly together here. What’s even more surprising though is how little of an impact Madden believes any backs other than Coleman or Williams will have on the game. This is particularly shocking when it comes to the Niners because Madden has Matt Breida averaging just 5.7 yards in these games.
As for the breakout star of the NFC Championship, Raheem Mostert? He didn’t have so much as a carry in any of the 10 games. To help put that in perspective, even little-used running back Jeff Wilson Jr. had a few carries over these simulations. Either Madden knows something we don’t, or their simulation engine still has a few kinks they need to work out when it comes to distribution.
Tyreek Hill: 77.3 yards
Travis Kelce: 67.5 yards
Sammy Watkins: 65.2 yards
Emmanuel Sanders: 60.7 yards
George Kittle: 57.1 yards
Deebo Samuel: 41.6 yards
There’s quite a division here between the top receivers on each team, with the Chiefs ending up with three receivers that accumulated more yards than any of the 49ers receivers. Madden sees Tyreek Hill (and his patented clutch 44-yard catches) being the most dangerous weapon the Chiefs have to offer while Emmanuel Sanders is the guy to watch on the San Francisco side of the ball. One potential impact player who didn’t appear on the stat sheets for any of the 10 games is deep threat Mecole Hardman, so it looks like Madden considers him to be a non-factor against a formidable 49ers secondary.
As the man tasked with trying to block game-wrecker Joey Bosa, Eric Fisher will play an important role in the Super Bowl. The Madden simulations forecast him doing pretty well in his assignment, holding Bosa to an average of only 0.4 sacks over the 10 games. In exactly half of the 10 games, Bosa didn’t manage so much as even half a sack, so it appears that Madden thinks there’s a pretty good chance that Fisher will be able to almost take Bosa out of the game entirely in the passing game.
The 37-year-old Suggs, who was claimed off waivers by the Chiefs in December, could play a pivotal role in keeping after Jimmy Garoppolo if these Madden simulations are at all accurate. Suggs racked up a total of 12.5 sacks in the 10 games, and as many as 3.5 in one single game, so he seems primed to have at least one sack in the game.
Gould, the 49ers kicker, seems primed to have more of an impact on the Super Bowl than Harrison Butker, if only because he will likely have more opportunities with San Francisco’s drives stalling out on a more consistent basis. Making a total of 22 field goals over the 10 games, he’s projected by Madden to likely convert two in the game. In one contest, he was even a catalyst by being perfect on all five of his field goal attempts. Is it possible that Robbie Gould could be the MVP of Super Bowl LIV?