The first thing I took away from the Super Bowl? Thank goodness the Cardinals have found a quarterback. For much of the game, it was the 49ers' hellacious pass rush that left a mark. But in the end, as my friend Ron Wolfley likes to point out, while defense is always important, a good offense provides hope. And that's what the Chiefs had, even when it looked grim. They had hope, because of Patrick Mahomes.
(And no, I am not comparing Kyler Murray to Mahomes. But I like what Murray can still become, and I think Murray's upside is considerably better than what the 49ers might still get from Jimmy Garoppolo. The Cardinals have hope because of Kyler.)
Some of my other takeaways that have at least some connection to the Cardinals:
-- Since the 2009 season -- the year after the Cardinals lost the Super Bowl -- the team that lost that final game returned to the playoffs the following season 9 of 11 opportunities, including the Cards in 2009. But only one team returned to the Super Bowl, and that was the Patriots in the 2018 season, and they managed to win it. Otherwise, there are always bumps in the road of some sort. The 49ers aren't going anywhere, but as strong as they looked, history is against them being in Tampa next Feb. 7.
-- That aforementioned pass rush is one of the reasons Murray was (twice) one of the most effective QBs against the 49ers this season. His mobility makes a difference, as does his threat to run. The Cardinals should've beaten the 49ers in San Francisco, and stayed with the Niners in Arizona. Close doesn't matter in the end, of course, but as good as the Niners were much of the time, there is definitely a feeling already from the Cards they can play with them.
-- The Cardinals need more pass rushers. As long as I'm on the subject.
-- Every little thing is being broken down today, especially the many decisions of 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan. And yes, I am among those wondering why he didn't use timeouts at the end of the first half. Still, it comes down to the same thing for me -- when it works, especially on the biggest stage, you're smart. When it doesn't, you're dumb. If the bomb to Emmanuel Sanders is complete, no one is saying jack about not running the ball. If Mahomes' fumbles are recovered by the Niners, game over. The line is just too thin.
-- Speed really does kill. I don't know if Andy Isabella will turn into anything -- obviously that's the hope -- but the Cards have to find a way to unlock that part of his game. The Chiefs showed why.
-- I've said it before, but I'm happy for Tyrann Mathieu. How can you not be?
-- It worked out pretty well for brief Cardinal Terrell Suggs, who wanted to get to a winner, was only going to play for the Ravens, and now gets a ring.
-- Thank goodness Mahomes is in the AFC.