It’s no secret that 49ers tight end George Kittle is the best overall tight end in the NFL.
That title was once held by former Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, but he retired roughly one year ago, and now the only involvement he has with Super Bowl week is hosting a huge beach party the day before the game. It is interesting, however, that the one player rated just below Kittle is Travis Kelce, and he’ll also be playing in Super Bowl LIV — just on the other side of the ball, for the Chiefs.
Jan 19, 2020; Santa Clara, California, USA; San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle (85) reacts against the Green Bay Packers during the first half in the NFC Championship Game at Levi’s Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
Kittle, unlike Kelce, is the total package. Some inline tight ends only excel at catching passes, but Kittle is exceptional as a blocker, and has been known to open up massive holes in the run game, which is extremely beneficial for the 49ers, being that they ran the football more than any other NFL team not named the Ravens this season, at 32.6 times per game on average. And that’s what makes a truly legendary tight end — the ability to make plays in the run game, not only the passing game, which is what separates Kittle from some of the other top-ranked tight ends in the NFL, such as Kelce and Zach Ertz, who are a bit one dimensional. Kittle is not, however, as he was one of the most impactful offensive players on the field for the 49ers in their win over the Packers in the NFC Championship game, but he actually caught only one pass in the game — in the fourth quarter. It was all about his blocking, and helping pave the way for running back Raheem Mostert, who racked up 220 yards in the 37-20 win.
And it’s not just the run game where Kittle asserts his dominance. He caught 85 passes for 1,053 yards (five touchdowns) this season. It’s remarkable, given that Kittle is the team’s biggest weapon on offense, so he’s drawn double-teams during the majority of the season, as opposing defenses have looked to take him away, more than anything, and yet, he still racked up over 1,000 yards. Last year, he set the single-season record for receiving yards by a tight end (1,377), and that’s what put him on the map. And even though he’s now a household name, still, he continues to dominate.
Jan 19, 2020; Santa Clara, California, USA; San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle (85) runs against Green Bay Packers inside linebacker Blake Martinez (50) in the second half of the NFC Championship Game at Levi’s Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Kittle will likely give the Chiefs defense all they can handle at Hard Rock Stadium in Super Bowl LIV, so their defensive backs and linebackers will need to be up to the task. His receiving yards total is listed by Safest Betting Sites at 69.5, and we like the “over” there. It should be a great game, so make sure to tune in, and see how Kittle performs.