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‘We’re really nobody’: San Francisco 49ers take underdog mentality to heart against high-flying Chiefs

UPDATED: Tue., Jan. 28, 2020

San Francisco 49ers free safety Jimmie Ward, center left, and cornerback Richard Sherman board a plane as the team departs from Mineta San Jose International Airport in San Jose, Calif., for Miami, Sunday, Jan. 26, 2020. The 49ers will face the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl 54. (Jeff Chiu / AP)
San Francisco 49ers free safety Jimmie Ward, center left, and cornerback Richard Sherman board a plane as the team departs from Mineta San Jose International Airport in San Jose, Calif., for Miami, Sunday, Jan. 26, 2020. The 49ers will face the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl 54. (Jeff Chiu / AP)
By Cam Inman Tribune News Service

MIAMI – If you thought the 49ers are seizing on an underdog mentality for Super Bowl 54, you’re right, and Jimmie Ward is more than happy to say so.

“We’re really nobody,” Ward said Tuesday. “We’ve just got to earn it. Nobody’s going to respect us until we earn it.”

The Kansas City Chiefs, Ward contends, are the more respected team, and the media is fueling that perception – all while the 49ers indeed respect their opponent.

“Give them guys a lot of respect,” Ward added. “Patrick Mahomes, he’s the best player in the league. Wide receivers, they’re the fastest in the league. Their running backs, they catch the best in the league.

“Probably they’re team is the best in the league. We just have to earn it. We have to be better Sunday.”

The 49ers are widely considered a 1-point underdog by online sportsbooks.

They’re trying to become only the second team to win the Lombardi Trophy after going 4-12 the previous season, something the 1999 St. Louis Rams did.

This is the 49ers’ seventh Super Bowl appearance. They locked up their first trip since the 2012 team’s runner-up effort by posting a 13-3 regular-season record, claiming the NFC’s No. 1 seed and then running over Minnesota and Green Bay in the playoffs.

Nobodys?

“We’re nobody until we earn it,” Ward said. “To be honest, if we lose this game, we’re nobody. Nobody will never know us in history.”

Defensive tackle DeForest Buckner echoed Ward’s words, stating: “People are going to say ‘underdogs.’ I suppose there’s an underdog in any game that there is, and if people are calling us underdogs, I guess that is what it is.”

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