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    In 2023, the game is bigger, but it’s not too much for Hurts or Mahomes.

    Let’s match Up

    There are a number of ways to go with a Super Bowl LVII tale of the tape. Offense versus defense versus special teams is certainly one route. Star versus star matchups is another way to go, and good lord, there are a lot of them in this game. Coach versus coach might be interesting too, if for nothing else other than the coaching tree and personal dietary choices angles. But there’s more to analyze.

    AP Photo/Matt York

    The Pre Game Speech

    Every so often, a Super Bowl takes on meaning beyond what’s happening on the field. Super Bowl LVII is such an occasion. In 2023, for the first time in NFL history, two black quarterbacks will square off as starters in a Super Bowl. If you are of a generation or disposition that makes you look past this milestone, I don’t get you.

    I am football people. 

    I have played, coached, or otherwise supported this game for more than 45 years. I still do. I owe everything to my fellow coaches and mentors from my local football community, including many family friends. We are a strong, vibrant and colorful mosaic of the place we come from, and the teams we support.

    But.

    I remember being a kid here in the 70s and 80s. I remember real, grown men having real, grown men conversations about whether a black man could win in the NFL. The arguments were varied but the reasoning all boiled down to racism. Plain and simple.

    Doug Williams did us all a favor in 1988 when he proved the haters wrong in Super Bowl XXII. Williams didn’t defeat racism in the NFL, but he did help set our awareness of its role in the game onto a new trajectory. 45 years later, I’m glad the conversation seems to have evolved, but it ain’t over.

    Pre game speech over. Now, onto the football stuff, and why I think Jalen Hurts comes out on top in this one.

    How Jalen hurts Patrick

    Jalen Hurts vs Patrick Mahomes a great Super Bowl matchup. A magical championship-calibre veteran in his prime squaring off an athletic youngster on a rising team. There are loads of weapons for both and play callers with creativity. That said, I think two things will tilt things in Hurts’ favor in Arizona: his feet and ToP.

    Time of Possession dominance

    Philadelphia is ranked eighth overall top total time of possession (31:11), whereas Kansas City is ranked #11 (30.08). Over the last few weeks, however, the Eagles have dominated opponents with 34:51 TOP, and an astonishing 37:26 against the 49ers in the NFC Championship.

    I factor that as Hurts getting 2 to 5 more plays than Mahomes in Super Bowl LVII. At an average of .43 points per play in 2022, that’s the spread covered.

    The ability to create plays with his feet

    In 15 games, Jalen Hurts averaged more than 50 yards per game rushing and scored 13 rushing touchdowns in 2022. Beyond that, Hurts routinely used his feet and pocket awareness to create space and time for his receivers to get open, or the pass rush to break down. 

    As a QB, he is a legitimate threat to score from anywhere on the field. I don’t remember saying that about another QB since Michael Vick. This special athleticism will be the difference maker in Super Bowl LVII, leading to the Eagles lifting the Lombardi Trophy.

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