Technically a Super Bowl Rematch, 49ers-Chiefs Is a Whole New Game

Only 12 starters remain from the teams that faced off four years ago

Patrick Mahomes throws a pass against the San Francisco 49ers. Here's why Super Bowl LVIII is not a rematch, but a whole new game.
Patrick Mahomes is hoping to beat the 49ers for a second time.
Ezra Shaw/Getty

A two-time Super Bowl winner with a chance to score his third in two weeks in Las Vegas, Patrick Mahomes captured his first NFL title in early 2020 when he was able lead the Chiefs back from a double-digit deficit to a 31-20 victory over the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LIV in Miami. The Chiefs, who scored 21 straight points in the final 6:13 of the game to lock up the win, got key plays from Travis Kelce, Tyreek Hill, Sammy Watkins and Damien Williams down the stretch.

Of those four, only Kelce is still on the Kansas City team that will be facing off with the 49ers at Allegiant Stadium on February 11 in a game that is being billed as a Super Bowl rematch. In truth, it’s really anything but if you actually look at the respective rosters of the two teams. Things change rapidly in the NFL, and the Kansas City squad that is playing in the franchise’s fourth Super Bowl in five seasons does not really resemble the team that won it all in 2020. The same thing can be said of the 49ers.

According to ProFootballTalk, there are only 12 players still on the teams’ two rosters who were in the starting lineup four years ago in Miami. For the Niners, the remaining starters are fullback Kyle Juszczyk, tight end George Kittle, receiver Deebo Samuel, defensive end Nick Bosa, defensive tackle Arik Armstead, and linebackers Fred Warner and Dre Greenlaw. For the Chiefs, the starters from four years ago who are left are Mahomes, Kelce, receiver Mecole Hardman (who signed with the Jets and was then traded back to K.C.), and defensive tackles Chris Jones and Derrick Nnadi. Each team also still has a specialist from Super Bowl LIV not counted in the 12 starters, kicker Harrison Butker for the Chiefs and punter Mitch Wishnowsky for the 49ers.

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After the teams clashed in Miami, the Niners moved on from Jimmy Garoppolo and replaced him with Brock Purdy. San Francisco has also upgraded its attack with star running back Christian McCaffrey, who actually made his debut for the team against the Chiefs in 2022 and had 62 yards on 10 scrimmage touches in his first game for S.F. Similar to Super Bowl LIV, the Chiefs fell behind in that contest but were able to score touchdowns on six of their next seven drives on the way to a 44-23 victory in Santa Clara.

It will be interesting to see if Super Bowl LVIII in Vegas, in which the Chiefs are currently listed as a slight underdog despite having knocked off the Niners three straight times dating back to 2018, follows a similar script. Football fans are clearly anticipating a matchup for the ages, as the average resale ticket price to get in the doors of Allegiant Stadium for the Super Bowl “rematch” with Taylor Swift likely in attendance is currently $12,112, according to SeatGeek’s live tracker. In 2019, that number was right around $4,000.

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