Former head coach for the Atlanta Falcons and Super Bowl champion Mike Smith joins Next Up to preview Super Bowl LVIII in Las Vegas featuring the Kansas City Chiefs against the San Francisco 49ers. Comparing it to his own Super Bowl experience, Smith comments on players and coaches balancing the enjoyment of being in Las Vegas versus staying focused on the game plan. "You have to trust your team" to give them some leeway early in the week, Smith said.
With quarterback Patrick Mahomes having an outstanding record in the playoffs, Smith says the 49ers need to "try to make it a slow death" and "take away what he does well" to beat the Chiefs.
Smith is the Falcons' winningest head coach in franchise history and has experience dealing with success from a rookie quarterback in Matt Ryan. "DeMeco [Ryans] and his staff did a wonderful job of getting those guys prepared all offseason." Smith states that Ryans should be the favorite for NFL Coach of the Year. "He came into a very difficult situation" and "did a fantastic job."
Smith even offers his advice to the Texans as they begin to prepare for the 2024 season. "The head coach and general manager have to be aligned" and they should "load up as much as you can on the offensive side of the football." The NFL "is a quarterback drive league," so "you need to give [C.J. Stroud] all the support you can."