Even the local football “experts” are split on who's going to win this Sunday's Super Bowl in Miami between the San Francisco 49ers and the Kansas City Chiefs.
But as they say often in the sports world, “that's why they play the game.”
The Chiefs remain one-and-a-half point favorites to win the NFL championship game, which also features an under-over point total fresh out of Las Vegas of 54.5. “That's too low,” remarked Lockport Union-Sun & Journal advertising executive John Brundo on Wednesday.
A high-scoring affair is highly anticipated by Brundo and millions of other sports fans around the world. We asked some local football coaches and others what they thought the final score of the game would be and their answers varied dramatically, but the score predictions were almost all very high.
Over on the Eastern end of Niagara County, Royalton-Hartland and Barker football coaches Don Baker and Bill Bruning are pinning their hopes on the high-octane Chiefs, who are led by fun-to-watch quarterback Patrick Mahomes.
Coach Baker has Kansas City winning by 38-33, and coach Bruning has it 34-22 Chiefs. Both teams averaged around 28 points per game in the NFL's 2019-20 regular season.
“San Francisco's defense is strong, but the Chiefs' offense will overcome it,” Baker said. Bruning's description of the game was simply, “offensive explosiveness.”
Up in Juferville, at Wilson High School, veteran Lakemen football head coach Bill Atlas likes the 49ers chances. His final score prediction is 31-28.
“I like San Francisco as a team more, but you always have the Mahomes factor,” coach Atlas said. “My guess is San Francisco will win because of their defense. From A to Z they're the better team, have a better defense and a better running game.”
Over in T-NT rivalry country, as expected, football coaches are also split on who's going to win this weekend's Super Bowl.
“Do I win something if I get this right?” quipped North Tonawanda Lumberjacks head football coach Rick Tomm, who's going with the Chiefs, 35-21.
“Kansas City just has so many weapons and they can score so quickly,” coach Tomm said. “ I think their fire power will be too much for the 49ers.
Former Tonawanda Warriors grid coach Rob Gross likes the 49ers, 35-20.
“I think the game's going to go back-and-forth, but it will be a better fourth quarter for the 49ers,” coach Gross said.
Retired Starpoint coach Al Cavagnaro is also predicting a 49ers victory and he's one of the only local coaches looking at a relatively low-scoring game. He likes the 49ers by 27-10.
“I think San Francisco's defensive front four is as good as I've seen in the NFL in the last 15 years,” coach Cav said. “I don't think the final score will be high.”
Almost every coach commented said they do not know as much about the 49ers and Chiefs as they do our beloved Buffalo Bills, but offered predictions anyway.
“Do I win something if I get this right?” retired LHS football head coach Mike Finn echoed Tomm.
Finn also picks the Chiefs to win in a close one, 34-28, but emphasized, “I really haven't thought a lot about it.”
“I think it will be an exciting game with a lot of big plays,” coach Finn added.
Legendary Lockport 1340-AM WLVL Radio sports broadcaster Norm Palmer said he's looking forward to a fan-friendly game with a ton of points. Norm has the Chiefs winning, 42-35.
“It will be a high-scoring game — a fun game to watch,” Palmer said.
Lockport Lions head coach Trait Smith proved his loyalty, siding with his former high school teammate's favorite team. Miles Patterson, an assistant Lions' football coach and the school's varsity track coach, was a teammate of Smith's when they won the Section VI football title in the early 1980s at New Era Field, then known as Rich Stadium.
“If I don't say San Fran, then I'll have to hear about it. (Coach Patterson) has been a 49ers fan since he was a kid,” coach Smith said. “I like KC, but I have to vote with my buddy, San Francisco, by 38-35.”
Follow veteran US&J sports reporter and editor John D'Onofrio on Twitter at @JohnD'Onofrio7.