Richard Justice: Patrick Mahomes was not going to let the Chiefs lose this Super Bowl, and that’s why he’s one of the great ones

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) throws a pass over Philadelphia Eagles defensive tackle Javon Hargrave (97) in Super Bowl LVII at State Farm Stadium in Glendale on Feb. 12, 2023. Nfl Super Bowl Lvii Kansas City Chiefs Vs Philadelphia Eagles

Richard Justice: Patrick Mahomes was not going to let the Chiefs lose this Super Bowl, and that’s why he’s one of the great ones

   Patrick Mahomes’ greatness was on full display in Super Bowl LVII, and isn’t that what we expect of the great ones? No Super Bowl analysis needs to be more complicated than that.

   Chiefs 38, Eagles 35.

   In a perfect pregame assessment, Fox Television’s Greg Olsen said Super Bowl LVII would pit the NFL’s best roster (Philadelphia) against the NFL’s best player (Mahomes).

   That it did.

    “He wants to be the greatest player ever,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said. “Without saying anything, that’s the way he works. That’s the way he goes about his business. And he does it humbly. There’s no bragging. He can stand up here and give you these stats he’s had, but he’s never going to do that. This is not him.

   “We appreciate that. And when it’s time for the guys around him to raise their game, he helps them with that. The great quarterbacks, they make everyone around them better, including the head coach.”

   At 27, Mahomes is the face of the NFL thanks to his play on the field and his engaging everyman personality off it. Three years ago, he was the youngest quarterback to win a Super Bowl.

   On Sunday, he became the 13th quarterback to win multiple Super Bowls. He’s also a two-time Super Bowl MVP and two-time NFL MVP.

Here’s the list of quarterbacks that have won more Super Bowls than Mahomes: Tom Brady (7), Joe Montana (4), Terry Bradshaw (4), Troy Aikman (3), Earl Morrall (3).

   Throw in a touch of drama to make the evening oh so perfect. The Kansas City Chiefs were down 10 points at halftime (24-14), and in 56 previous Super Bowls, teams trailing by double digits at halftime were 1-26.

   “I feel like I play better when we are down,” Mahomes said. “You’ll look back on these games for the rest of your life. It gives you a greater appreciation to be standing here as a champion.”

   Mahomes limped off the field after reinjuring his right ankle near the end of the first half, and if Chiefs fans held their breath, his teammates did not.

   “If he’s got a little bit of a limp, then he’s got a little bit of a bigger chip on his shoulder,” Chiefs offensive tackle Orlando Brown said.

   Cue the screenwriters. This is Disney stuff. Speaking of that, he’s at Disneyland this afternoon as the Super Bowl MVP.

   “The first thing I said when we walked in the locker room was, ‘Damn, we’re down 10 points. We’ll be all right,’ Chiefs defensive end Frank Clark said. “We’ve been down 10 points before this season and won the game.”

   Tight end Travis Kelce shouted: “We need some energy! Where is your fight?!

   Mahomes changed this Super Bowl in the first minutes of the second half when he led a 10-play, 75-yard scoring drive to get this team within three points at 24-21.

   At that point, you could see where this was headed. The Chiefs had zero penalties, turnovers, punts or sacks allowed in the second half. KC had the football four times in the second half and scored four times (three touchdowns and the game-winning field goal). Mahomes opened the half with 13 straight completions. His one second-half incompletion was a throwaway in a performance that will help define his legacy.   Kansas City held the Eagles to a field goal on Philadelphia’s first second-half possession, and Mahomes promptly completed six more in a row on the second KC possession.

   That drive ended with a 5-yard touchdown throw to Kadarius Toney on a clever route in which he ran a few steps in one direction before reversing course and going the other way, leaving him completely open.

“Corn dog” is the play’s official name.

“He steps into the huddle and says ‘corn dog,’” Reid told Peter King.

   Afterwards, the Chiefs said they’d thrown that route into the mix just for the Super Bowl, their only concern being that receivers kept falling down trying to make the reverse in practice.

   Toney’s 65-yard punt return set up another KC touchdown, but the Eagles weren’t done. Jalen Hurts led a 75-yard drive and 2-point conversion that made it 35-35 with 9:22 left.

   Mahomes time. He scrambled for 26 yards on the second play of the drive. He also sandwiched completions of seven and 10 yards around Isiah Pacheco’s solid day (76 yards on 15 carries). 

   In the final moments, it was the Chiefs running the clock down to eight seconds to put Harrison Butker in position for a 27-yard field.

   Mahomes and Hurts are symbolic of a new generation of NFL quarterbacks, one that includes Josh Allen, Joe Burrow, and (we can dream) whoever the Texans draft on April 27.

   Mahomes is a breath of fresh air in interviews as he does not run away from discussions of a dynasty or his own pursuit of Tom Brady’s seven championships.

   “I told y’all,” Mahomes said postgame. “There’s nothing else that would keep me off that football field. I want to shout out my teammates. We challenged each other. It took everybody to win this football game. Shoutout to my teammates, we’re Super Bowl champion(s) … I’m not going to say dynasty yet. We’re not done.”

   Fox Television and the NFL did itself proud with pregame festivities that included a moving video played with Johnny Cash’s Ragged Old Flag and a tribute to Pat Tillman and the Pat Tillman Scholars.

   “All driven to change the world thanks to one man’s sacrifice,” Kevin Costner said in the voiceover.

   Damar Hamlin surprised his medical team by stepping into a pregame moment honoring it.

   Finally, there was the Fox broadcast. Kevin Burkhardt and Olsen were spectacularly good—smart, concise, and insightful.

   Burkhardt joked before the game about not just first-time Super Bowl players being nervous. If he truly was, it never showed, and his color guy has ridden this season to superstar broadcasting status.

   Finally, Chris Stapleton’s rendition of the national anthem may be the best in Super Bowl history, exempted by the tears streaming down Nick Sirianni’s face.

   Touching and perfect.

   Only 74 days until the draft.

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1 Comment

  • Great article right on the money!! It was a great game!!!

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