Players we’re watching in Super Bowl LVIII
With Super Bowl LVIII in Las Vegas, Nevada just days away, it was the perfect time to have a roundtable discussion of players Steelers insiders from Steel City Underground and Burgh Sports United had on their must-watch list. Each member of the discussion was asked for their top four payers from both the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers, and a brief reason why they chose that player.
Jason Shetler’s picks: Burgh Sports United
Note: You can find Jason on X @Jason_Shetler
For being regarded as arguably the best running back in the (NFL), I would like to see how he handles the biggest stage of his career… Just the ability to do everything well and his explosiveness.
2. Nick Bosa
Coming off a 2-sack performance in the NFC Championship. Interested to see how much he can play a part keeping Patrick Mahomes in the pocket… the way he explodes off the line and shows quick feet to get to a ball carrier or quarterback with ease.
Now an All-Pro CB, and the way he’ll matchup with Brandon Aiyuk should be fascinating… His aggressive nature at the DB position. You don’t force 5 fumbles and record 3 sacks by accident
4. Travis Kelce
His ability to change a game with his route running, which he’ll need to do against a vaunted 49ers’ defense.
Rapid fire Q&A with Shetler
Rivers: Do you think the 49ers will find a way to shut Kelce down that other teams haven’t?
Shetler: Even with their skilled players, I think it’s going to boil down to needing to keep Mahomes in the pocket as much as they possibly can. If not, then it’ll force the Niners to have to make adjustments on the fly to prevent Mahomes finding Kelce for big gains.
Rivers: Do you have a prediction about the outcome of the game? Who do you think will win?
Shetler: Million dollar question, right?….I’ll go with the Chiefs, 30-24.
Rivers: If the Chiefs win, who do you predict will earn MVP?
Shetler: I’ll pick Travis Kelce. Just to along with this fairytale story him and Taylor (Swift) have been on.
Rivers: If the 49ers win, who do you predict will earn MVP?
Shetler: I’ll go McCaffrey. I could see him providing the bulk of the offense. I think Purdy could have a good game, but not enough to where it would earn SB MVP honors.
Rivers: Will Jason Kelce do another shirtless appearance since it’s unlikely Usher will have a halftime show wardrobe malfunction? *laughing*
Shetler: If Jason has to try and outshine his brother, then yes, I think it’ll happen.
Terry Fletcher’s picks:
WTF podcast host for Steel City Underground
1. George Kittle – because every time he makes a play the network won’t pan to Taylor Swift.
2. Brock Purdy – I love his story and I want him to beat Mahomes so bad. He just can’t get caught up in the moment.
3. Kadarius Toney – so everyone can see why he’s NOT the best WR in the league as he keeps spouting.
4. Javon Hargrave – because I love former Steelers and he’s balled-out this season.
Joe Kuzma’s picks: Steel City Underground founder & satirist
1. Travis Kelce – Because it’ll bring Taylor Swift on the screen.
4. Javon Hargrave – Because he’s a former Steeler now playing in back to back Super Bowls.
Christina Rivers’ picks
I don’t have an order of preference, truly, but there are players I’m interested in – that others have mentioned above – and a few others for personal reasons.
1. Nick Bosa – he’s the type of defensive end that can be a game-wrecker. I’m hoping for a competitive game between the two teams and a Bosa/Mahomes dance on the field for a championship makes a popcorn-eating, edge of your seat, show.
2. Brock Purdy & George Kittle – these two guys were involved in a great collegiate rivalry (Iowa State vs Iowa) on opposing teams, and as a native Iowan that was able to get swept-up in the fervor that in-state rivalry created, I am intrigued by their synergy.
3. Isiah Pacheco – I enjoy his burst but it’s his dance moves I’m looking forward to once he gets into the end zone. And, yes, he’ll get there. He runs angry, too, which should produce some highlight reel moments.
4. Drue Tranquill – The Chiefs defense is going to be tested by the 49ers, more than they were by the Baltimore Ravens. Tranquill has been an asset in containment at linebacker and can get nasty when he bursts into the opposing offensive backfield. I am intrigued by the possibility he brings in this matchup with Purdy and Kittle.
I’m predicting a Niners win, but I think it will be close if that comes to fruition. The Chiefs have found ways to create luck, but it feels like the 49ers may have their number… and if they do win, their Super Bowl championships numbers creeps up to the Pittsburgh Steelers and New England Patriots. That makes future NFL seasons that much more interesting.