The Kansas City Chiefs have made a habit out of making the unbelievable possible.
Three years ago, it was overcoming a 10-point second-half deficit to upend the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LIV, the first championship for the Chiefs in 50 years and the first of the Andy Reid–Patrick Mahomes era.
This season, after trading away one of the NFL’s best wide receivers, Tyreek Hill, and dealing with incessant narratives and questions about how their offense would adjust, they posted even better offensive numbers than they had the year before.
Even on Sunday, ahead of Super Bowl LVII, Kansas City was the betting underdog and every member of the NFL on Fox pregame crew picked the Philadelphia Eagles to beat the Chiefs. The Eagles even led by 10 points at the half.
A comeback win, at that point, seemed improbable. That’s when the Chiefs are at their best.
Philadelphia led 24-14 at halftime, but more concerning that the deficit for Kansas City was the status of its MVP quarterback. Late in the second quarter, Eagles linebacker T.J. Edwards rolled up on Mahomes’ ankle, the same one he sprained in the divisional round of the playoffs against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
He didn’t look any worse for wear out of the break, though, engineering a 10-play, 75-yard touchdown drive capped off by an Isiah Pacheco one-yard rushing score.
“I told you all this week, there’s nothing that would keep me off that football field,” Mahomes said.
That drive set the tone for a historic second-half comeback, one that propelled Mahomes to his second career Super Bowl MVP honor.
As the Chiefs surged after halftime, the Eagles flatlined. Philadelphia dominated time of possession throughout the game and even put together a 17-play, 7:45 drive on their first third-quarter possession, but Kansas City held it to a field goal instead of a touchdown. One drive later, the Eagles were forced to punt for just the second time of the night.
Meanwhile, Kansas City couldn’t be stopped on offense. The Chiefs scored on all four of their possessions in the second half, including touchdowns on each of the first three. Mahomes found wide receiver Kadarius Toney for a score not even three minutes into the fourth quarter to give Kansas City its first lead.
Following the aforementioned Eagles punt one drive later, Toney made an even bigger impact with the longest punt return in Super Bowl history. Three plays later, Mahomes connected with rookie wide receiver Skyy Moore for another touchdown.
The Eagles did score once more, with quarterback Jalen Hurts plunging in from two yards out and subsequently adding a two-point conversion to tie the game at 35 with just 5:15 to play.
That’s when the seemingly unstoppable Chiefs offense took control. Kansas City burned up all but the final eight seconds of the game, methodically churning out yardage thanks to both Mahomes’ arm and his legs. After picking up four first downs and milking the clock, Harrison Butker sealed the championship with a 27-yard field goal.
Despite all the reasons why the win was unlikely for the Chiefs, they still got the job done and are now world champions for the second time in four seasons.
“I wouldn’t necessarily say we were counted out, but there were a lot more critics than the previous years I’ve been here,” Mahomes said.
Mahomes completed 21-of-27 passes for 182 yards and three touchdowns in his MVP performance. He’s just the third quarterback in NFL history to win multiple regular-season MVP awards and multiple Super Bowls, joining Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Joe Montana and Steve Young.
“He’s the MVP,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said. “That’s all that needs to be said, right?”
Reid now has 22 career playoff wins, the second most in NFL history, and he’s just the 14th head coach to win multiple Super Bowls. He was quick to spread praise around after the game, to Mahomes and the Chiefs’ offensive line and offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, but there’s no questioning his credentials as an all-time great, especially after winning his second ring.
“He’s one of the greatest coaches of all time,” Mahomes said. “I think everybody knew that, but these last two Super Bowls kind of cemented that.”
If the result was flipped and Philadelphia came away with the victory, it would be hard to argue against Hurts as the game’s most valuable player. The third-year quarterback threw for 304 yards and a touchdown and also ran for three scores, becoming just the second player in Super Bowl history to accomplish that feat.
He came up with multiple clutch plays throughout the game, but it wasn’t enough to upend the Chiefs.
“If there were any doubters left, there shouldn’t be now,” Mahomes said regarding his quarterback counterpart. “That was a special performance and I don’t want it to get lost in the loss that they had.”
Hurts did have one major gaffe, though: In the second quarter, while Philadelphia appeared to be in firm control, Hurts fumbled the ball and it was scooped up by Kansas City linebacker Nick Bolton, who returned it for a touchdown. That was one of just two first-half scores for the Chiefs and kept them in the game when the Eagles were bleeding a massive amount of clock and keeping Mahomes off the field.
Legacy and dynasty talk is next for the Chiefs. As the rest of the NFL awaits the start of free agency in March and the 2023 NFL draft in late April, the Kansas City-related dialogue for most of the offseason will be about where Mahomes and Reid rank among the all-time greats at their positions. There will surely be what feels like an endless amount of debating whether or not the Chiefs are a dynasty (Mahomes refused to go that far during the postgame celebrations, for what it’s worth). And of course, the inevitable inertia of the NFL’s economy will come into play, with fans and media members debating which free agent and veteran members of this championship roster should return or walk away.
Those abstract topics will pop up soon enough. For now, only the facts matter for the Kansas City Chiefs. Patrick Mahomes is already among the most accomplished and best quarterbacks in NFL history. Andy Reid has accomplished more than almost any other coach in league history, too. And the Chiefs have won two of the three Super Bowls they’ve participated in over the last four years.
That’s rarified air, and that’s a reason to both celebrate and appreciate one of the best teams in franchise history.
“There’s one thing about getting your first one, and it’s a whole other feeling to get two,” tight end Travis Kelce said. “I wanted this one more than I ever wanted a game ever in my life. The guys in this locker room, the teammates that I have, they felt the same way.”
For more reaction to the Kansas City Chiefs’ 38-35 win over the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LVII, check out Mic’d Up with Jake and Fulton from noon-3:00 p.m., and 580 Sports Talk with Brendan and Dan from 3-6:00 p.m. Monday on 580 WIBW.