By Elwyn Henderson
State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, home of the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals, hosted their third Super Bowl Sunday when the Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles clashed in Super Bowl LVII in front of 67,827 rabid fans.
The Eagles came in as 1.5 point favorites, but regardless of who you were rooting for, everyone in the US knows that Patrick Mahomes is loaded with talent and many times wills his team to win and manages to guide the Chiefs to victory against impossible odds. Football fans all over the world were anxious for the game, wondering if “Magic Mahomes” could do it once again in the big game. He was playing in his third Super Bowl in 4 years. He won his first time as the Chiefs quarterback in Super Bowl LIV in Miami, leading his team to a 31-20 victory over the San Francisco Forty-Niners before losing in Super Bowl LV in Tampa Bay to Tom Brady and the Buccaneers by the score of 31-9 in a blowout loss.
KC lost the AFC Championship Game to the Cincinnati Bengals prior to Super Bowl LVI, but the Bengals fell to the LA Rams by the score of 23-20.
Mahomes stated during the days prior to the game on Sunday that last year’s AFC Championship Game loss to Cincy at GHEA Field at Arrowhead was a loss that hurt all year long and motivated him and his teammates in 2023.
Kansas City was the visiting team and they called tails on the coin toss and won but deferred to the second half, choosing to kick off to open the game.Harrison Butker’s
kick traveled out of the end zone for a touchback and Jalen Hurts and the Eagles began their first drive on their 25.Hurts moved his unit down the field effortlessly, and the drive ended ran in from the 1 with 10:09 left in the first quarter of play. The drive was 11 plays, 75 yards and took 4:51 off the clock. Jake Elliott added the PAT and Philadelphia took an early 7-0 lead.
Elliott’s ensuing kickoff went out of the end zone and Patrick Mahomes and his offensive unit hit the field for their first possession.
Mahomes led his charges down the field methodically and the drive ended when Mahomes hit Travis Kelce for an 18-yard TD pass with 6:57 left in the opening frame. Butker split the uprights on the extra point and the game as tied at 7-7. The drive was 6 plays, 75 yards and took 3:12.
Butker’s next kick went out of the back of the end zone and Hurts and company began their second drive on their 25. The Chiefs defense came up big and forced a three-and-out, thanks partially to a 10-yard offensive pass interference call against Philly. A Brett Kern punt traveled 56 yards, and after an 8-yard return Mahomes went back to work at his 34 with 4:46 left in the opening quarter.
The Chiefs drove down to the Eagles 24, but following an incomplete third down pass, Butker came out to attempt a 32-yard field goal. The kick hit the left upright and was no good and the Eagles took over on their 32 with 2:24 left in the first quarter.
Hurts led his team to their second TD of the day just 8 seconds into the second quarter when he hit A. J. Brown on a 45-yard pass into the end zone, ending a 3-play, 68-yard drive that consumed 2:32. Elliott was true on the extra point and the Eagles took a 14-7 lead.
KC began their next drive at their 25 after yet another touchback on the kickoff. The Chiefs looked out of sync on the possession, due in great part to the fierce Eagles defense, and they had a quick three-and-out. Following a 46-yard Tommy Townsend punt and a 6-yard return, Hurts hit the field again at his 33.
The Chiefs defense came up big with 9:39 left in the first half when Nick Bolton recovered a Hurts fumble at the 44 that bounced back to the Eagle 36 and he returned the ball into the end zone for a touchdown. Butker nailed the extra point and the game was tied, 14-14.
Butker’s next kick sailed out of the end zone and Hurts hit the field at his 25 with his offense once again.
Hurts moved his unit into the end zone once again with 2:20 left in the first half. The score came when Hurts ran in from the 4, capping off a 12-lay, 75-yard drive that took a whopping 7:19 off the clock. Elliott hit the extra point and the Eagles took the lead back, 21-14.
After another touchback on Elliott’s kickoff, Mahomes brought his charges out at the 25 for a 2-minute drive, hoping to tie the game once again.
The Eagle defense was crushing, tackling Mahomes on 3rd down and he came up limping noticeably once again. After a punt the Eagles got the ball back with a chance to add to their lead, starting from their own 43.
Hurts and the offense drove down to the KC 17 with 4 seconds left and called their final timeout to bring in Elliott for a 35-yard field goal attempt on the last play of the first half. The kick was right down the middle and Philadelphia led 24-14 at the half.
Elliott kicked the ball out of the back of the end zone to begin the second half and KC began at their 25, knowing they needed to find a way to get a score to stay in the game.
They did just that, and Isiah Pacheco ended the drive with a 1-yard TD run with 9:30 left in the third quarter. Butker was good on the point after try and KC was back within 3 points, trailing 24-21. The drive was 12 plays, 75 yards and took 5:30.
Butker’s next kick went out of the end zone and Hurts and his offensive teammates began their first drive of the second half at their 25.
Kansas City knew they needed to pick it up on defense. They did so on first down, but then Hurts got his unit rolling once again, completing a long pass to Dallas Goedert down to the KC 46. The Chiefs defense rose to the occasion when they had to, forcing a 32-yard Elliott Field goal on 4th and 6. The kick was down the middle and Philly took a 27-21 lead with 1:45 left in the third quarter. The drive was 19 plays, 65 yards and took 7:45 off the third quarter clock.
Elliott kicked the ball out of the end zone again and Mahomes and the KC offense went back on the attack at their 25.
Mahomes moved the team down the field and the drive ended when Mahomes hit Kadarius Toney with 12:05 left in the game. Butker added the PAT and KC led for the first time in the game, 28-27. The drive was 12 plays, 70 yards (thanks to an off sides penalty on the Eagles on the first play of the drive) and took 4:41 off the clock.
Butker kicked the ball out of the end zone again and Hurts brought the Eagles offense out to the 25 for their next drive. The Chiefs defense forced a three-and-out and a poor punt by Kern resulted in a 54-yard punt return by Toney down to the Philly 5.
Mahomes brought the KC offense out, knowing a TD would put the Chiefs in great position to get in control. The first 2 plays netted 1 yard and on 3rd and goal Mahomes hit a wide open Skyy Moore for a touchdown with 9:22 left in the game. Butker added the point after and KC took a 35-27 lead. The drive was 3 plays, 5 yards and took 49 seconds.
Butker kicked out of the end zone again on the kickoff and Hurts and company began on their 25 once again.
Hurts moved the Eagles right down the field and the drive ended when Hurts ran into the end zone for the third time in the game from the 2 with 5:15 left in the game. The try for 2 was good on a run by Hurts and the game was tied 35-35. The drive was 9 plays, 75 yards and took 4:07.
Elliott kicked off out of the end zone again and Mahomes and his offense took over at their 25 again, knowing the urgently needed to score a TD and put the pressure on Hurts and the Eagles.
The Chiefs moved down the field and smartly failed to score a TD and took a knee twice, facing a 4th and 9. They ran the clock down to 11 seconds and brought Butker in to try a 27-yard field goal for the lead. The kick was good with 8 seconds left and the Chiefs took a 38-35 lead. The drive was 14 plays, 62 yards and took 5:07.
Butker’s final kick was squibbed to the 25 yard line and the kick was returned to the 36 and Hurts had 6 seconds left to pull a victory out. A final pass fell incomplete and the Chiefs rushed on the field Super Bowl LVII Champions, their second World Championship in four years.
When Coach Andy Reid faced the media after the win he was asked how it felt to win a second Super Bowl and what it was like to do it against his former team.
“You know this. We go way back. I love Philadelphia. I love my time in Philadelphia. Phenomenal people and we had some great years. I left the organization on a positive note with Jeff Lurie and really everybody there. There’s still three of their real good players. There’s still guys that I had a chance to coach and I’m so proud of them for the careers that they’ve had. It’s a great city. It’s a great city. As is Kansas City, I’ve been very fortunate, man. Very, very fortunate.”
The feelings weren’t as positive on the Philadelphia Eagles side of the fence when Coach Nick Siriani met with the media after the loss.
“It always hurts, right? Any time you don’t come out on top regardless of what you are competing at, it burns you and it gets at you. A lot of credit to them. All the credit to them. They played a great game. It’s a really good football team, a well-coached football team. But it hurts. Like I said, we’ll use this pain; we’ll use this failure for motivation for us moving forward.”
Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts had similar thoughts to his head coach when he met with the media.
“It’s tough. We work really
hard to have this opportunity and to come up short is tough. There’s always a lot to learn from, the opportunity to reflect on things we didn’t do or could have done, but I think there’s a lot to learn from it.”
Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker was asked his thoughts about kicking the game winning field goal, and he replied, “Yeah, that’s what you dream of as a kicker getting to the Super bowl and having a game winning kick. You know, it’s crazy to think that’s now happen, what is that a walk off game winner whatever it is when it’s time left on the clock but it’s an amazing feeling so happy to be with the Chiefs organizations with great leaders and Patrick leading.”
When MVP Patrick Mahomes addressed the media after the big win he was asked what it meant for him to get Coach Andy Reid a second Super Bowl win as a head coach.
“You wanted to do that; you wanted to win those Super Bowls for him and it’s great that we did that and like we said, we’re not done! We’re going to have him around here for a little bit longer at least.”
So yet another NFL season has concluded with East Texas shining bright for the second time in four years. Congratulations to Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs on their big achievement.
All of us in the media will now exhale, get back to our respective homes and get back to normal life. As usual, we will be a little down for a couple of weeks knowing it will be over 5 months before NFL Training Camp opens for the 2023 season, but we will all movepast this Super Bowl with great memories of being healthy enough and blessed enough to be able to cover one more Super Bowl. Thanks for another great year of football, NFL!