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Pat Leonard: There’s just no way you can pick Brock Purdy to beat Patrick Mahomes in a Super Bowl

Brock Purdy and Patrick Mahomes (Getty Images)
Brock Purdy and Patrick Mahomes (Getty Images)

LAS VEGAS — Everyone fell for it heading into this year’s AFC Championship Game in Baltimore, including me.

The entire country watched Patrick Mahomes’ Kansas City Chiefs eliminate the high-flying Miami Dolphins and Josh Allen’s Buffalo Bills, ascending from their pedestrian regular season to postseason excellence.

And we still all convinced ourselves that this was going to be the year for Lamar Jackson and the Ravens. These Chiefs weren’t good enough to beat the NFL’s biggest buzzsaw and a soon-to-be two-time MVP on the road.

Five minutes into that game, we all knew: Never again. Never again would it be wise to bet against Mahomes.

And yet Super Bowl LVIII is now only days away. Mahomes and the Chiefs are 2.5-point underdogs to the San Francisco 49ers. And there are real, flesh-and-blood humans who believe that Niners second-year, seventh-round pick Brock Purdy is going to beat Mahomes head-to-head for the Lombardi Trophy.

As former President George W. Bush once said, butchering an old adage: “Fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can’t get fooled again.”

What more does Mahomes have to do to convince every fan that he or she will make money by playing the Chiefs’ moneyline at the Vegas sportsbooks this Sunday?

The Philadelphia Eagles’ Jalen Hurts had 374 yards of offense, four touchdowns and one turnover in Super Bowl LVII in Arizona last year. He lost to Mahomes and the Chiefs, 38-35.

Mahomes is 14-3 for his career in the playoffs and 2-1 in Super Bowls.

His only losses came to Tom Brady twice and Joe Burrow once. His only Super Bowl loss was to Brady’s Buccaneers in Tampa’s home stadium in February 2021.

Mahomes now has won six playoff games in a row and is on the verge of repeating as a champion.

Not to discount how Purdy has exceeded expectations as Kyle Shanahan’s point guard.

It’s amazing that a Mr. Irrelevant draft pick would even get this far. The 49ers’ supreme confidence in him is evident and says everything about his makeup.

But it would be ignorant to dismiss how shockingly steady Mahomes’ heartbeat has been this postseason, as if he is now emotionally unfazed by the stage.

It’s not about him being a first-round pick and Purdy being a seventh-rounder. It’s about experience and ability.

Even when the Bills had multiple chances to take it from Kansas City in hostile Buffalo, Mahomes looked like he was taking a walk in the park on a Saturday.

The 49ers, meanwhile, should have lost to the Green Bay Packers and should have lost to the Detroit Lions. And they know it.

There were moments during both games when the broadcast showed the faces of the Niners’ players, such as left tackle Trent Williams, and it was clear that many of them felt their season was about to come to an end.

To Purdy’s credit, he has been resilient when his team’s backs have been against the wall.

Purdy and the 49ers outscored Jordan Love’s Packers 10-0 in the fourth quarter, including a decisive, game-winning drive late in the fourth quarter captained by their young QB.

Purdy’s Niners also outscored Jared Goff’s Detroit Lions 27-7 in their furious NFC Championship comeback to earn this Super Bowl berth.

His 48 rushing yards against Detroit definitely gave the Chiefs defense something to think about, too. As if they don’t have enough on their plate already with Christian McCaffrey, Deebo Samuel, George Kittle and Brandon Aiyuk on the field.

And certainly, if the 49ers could return to their dominant regular season form for this Super Bowl, in theory they wouldn’t have much problem with the Chiefs at all.

Still, the point of this exercise is that we’ve been taught over and over again about how dangerous it is to get lost in the weeds when evaluating a matchup against Mahomes.

Truly, the only wild card is probably the recent DWI arrest of his father, Patrick Mahomes Sr. It’s always unpredictable how players’ personal lives may impact their performance.

They’re humans first, after all.

Still, Mahomes’ steely gaze, steady body language and efficient play this postseason foreshadows a cold-blooded killer strutting into Las Vegas’ Allegiant Stadium on Sunday.

And while history has shown us that he’s not invincible, it has also taught the NFL world that he’s pretty darn close.