Who has the most to gain from a win in Super Bowl 58?

As Americans plan for who they will be watching the big game with — and what they are going to be stuffing their faces in while they watch Usher perform at halftime — here are the three people with the most to gain from a victory in Super Bowl 58.

Kyle Shanahan  

After a tough first two seasons, the San Francisco 49ers’ head coach has had an incredible five-year run. The 49ers have made it the NFC Championship in four of the last five seasons, and have gone to the Super Bowl twice. Most fan bases would do anything to have that kind of success. If the 49ers lose to the Kansas City Chiefs, no one but attention seekers would be calling for his job, but this game could be legacy-defining for him. 

Shanahan is already regarded as one the best coaches in the NFL. His genius schemes and play calling is a huge reason why. An underrated facet to his coaching is the toughness his teams exude on offense. Everyone knows about the physicality that players like Trent Williams, George Kittle and Deebo Samuel display. Shanahan’s mindset and commitment to running the ball is the reason why those players can punish defenses the way that they do. 

The 44-year-old has been able to have this success without a superstar quarterback. After getting to a Super Bowl with Jimmy Garoppolo, the 49ers drafted Trey Lance, and hoped he could be a quarterback that elevates others around him. Instead, “Mr. Irrelevant” Brock Purdy has been under center for the team’s run to the Super Bowl. Shanahan has the opportunity to cement his legacy as a hall of fame coach, and check off the only thing missing from his resume. 

Christian McCaffrey 

McCaffrey getting traded to the 49ers has not only rejuvenated his career, it was the best thing that could have happened to it. In his last few years with the Carolina Panthers, McCaffrey dealt with injuries that kept him off the field, which caused people to forget just how special of a player he is. 

In the regular season, he rushed for 1,459 yards and 14 touchdowns in 16 games. He also had seven receiving touchdowns. The 49ers’ running back is also a finalist for this season’s MVP. For a player that hasn’t enjoyed much success at the highest level in college or the pros, a win and potentially a Super Bowl MVP would be a nice stamp to one of the best seasons we have seen from a running back in a long time. 

Patrick Mahomes 

As we’ve seen throughout these playoffs, Mahomes has no equal. He’s in a league of his own, and the people he’s “competing” with are retired folks like Tom Brady, Joe Montana and Peyton Manning. 

During the regular season, the Chiefs’ offense wasn’t the well-oiled machine we’ve become accustomed to. Travis Kelce was dealing with injuries and isn’t quite what he used to be, and most of their wide receivers did not perform well enough. It seemed as though this was a great year for other AFC teams to capitalize on that and make a run of their own. Instead, the Chiefs have been able to lean on their great defense, and allow the best player in the league to control the game on offense.

With a win Sunday in Las Vegas, Mahomes would get his third Super Bowl victory. It was clear from early in his career that he had the potential to be considered the greatest player of all time one day. The unfathomable thing is that his case for that would be strong at age 28. In his six seasons, he has at least made it to the AFC Championship game in all of them, has won the regular season and Super Bowl MVP twice and has playoff stats that no one comes close to at this stage of a career. There will be some interesting conversations to be had about who the greatest quarterback of all time is if the Chiefs win.     

Header Photo: The San Francisco 49ers will be making their second Super Bowl appearance under head coach Kyle Shanahan. Shanahan’s record in the playoffs is 8-3. (Jeff Chiu/The Associated Press)

Write to Mohamed Warsame at mohamed.warsame@mnsu.edu

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