The Kansas City Chiefs have won their second Super Bowl in the past four seasons, downing the Philadelphia Eagles 38-35 Sunday at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.
NFL MVP Patrick Mahomes appeared to overcome re-aggravating his ankle injury in the first half, rallying the Chiefs in the second to a victory that puts the team in a “dynasty” conversation.
The Chiefs also won the Super Bowl in 2020 and reached the title game in 2021.
Mahomes threw three touchdown passes to three receivers, Isiah Pacheco ran for one score and linebacker Nick Bolton scored on a fumble return. Kicker Harrison Butker made the winning 27-yard field goal with 8 seconds remaining.
“It was just all heart. We knew we didn’t play our best in the first half,” tight end Travis Kelce said when told Kansas City scored on every drive after intermission. He said some players, given the enormity of the moment, played out of character in the first half.
“And we were just able to regroup at halftime and figure it out. In that second half we were just flying around.”
Here are some of the highlights from the biggest day in US sports.
While the rest of the audience was loving (or hating) Rihanna’s halftime performance, Kansas City fans were sweating it out.
Mahomes, who suffered a high ankle sprain on his right leg against the Jacksonville Jaguars on January 21, appeared to hurt the same ankle late in the first half. With just more than 90 seconds left in the half, Mahomes was scrambling on third down and 15 when linebacker TJ Edwards tackled him around his ankles. Mahomes stayed down for an uncomfortably long time after the tackle for Chiefs fans.
Mahomes hopped to the sideline, winced in pain on the bench and at one point, briefly put his head on the shoulder of a staff member. The Chiefs didn’t return to the field in the half.
The 27-year-old quarterback didn’t look too hurt, though, when he ran off the field at halftime.
At halftime, Mahomes was 8-of-13 passing for 89 yards and had two rushes for 11 yards.
“I knew I wasn’t coming out of this game, even with that high ankle sprain, it kinda reaggravated a little bit,” Mahomes told the NFL Network after the win. “I’ll worry about that in the offseason.”
The youngest quarterback to ever start three Super Bowls made Chiefs fans feel a lot better on the first drive of the second half, leading his side on a touchdown drive that included a key 14-yard-run.
On the game-winning drive, Mahomes had another vital rush for 26 yards that put the winners in field-goal position. Television replays showed Mahomes wincing as he got up to head back to the huddle.
“Well, he’s the MVP,” Chiefs head coach Andy Reid said. “That’s all that needs to be said. … And he showed it tonight.”
And Mahomes will add the Super Bowl Most Valuable Player Award to his trophy case after his stellar performance Sunday.
Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts was brilliant, rushing for a Super Bowl quarterback record three touchdowns and 70 rushing yards, another record. And his two-point conversion via the ground made it 35-35. He also passed for one score, completing 27 of 38 passes for 304 yards.
“Jalen played the best game I’ve seen him play in the two years we’ve been together,” Philadelphia Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni said. “I really thought he was in complete control. He did things with his legs in the run game, he did things with his arm in the pass game, made some unbelievable throws, unbelievable reads. I thought he played outstanding.”
AJ Brown had a 45-yard touchdown catch and Jake Elliott kicked two field goals.
But no doubt Hurts will regret a fumble that just slipped out of his hands.
It was the first Eagles fumble of the postseason and it briefly cost the NFC champs some momentum at a crucial point in the second quarter.
As the Eagles were driving for a score that would put them up two possessions, Hurts was running to his right when he let the ball slip from his hands at the Eagles’ 44. The ball took a nice hop and was scooped up by Kansas City linebacker Nick Bolton at 36, who scooted untouched into the end zone. With 9:39, the score was tied again at 14-14.
To his credit, Hurts almost immediately shrugged off the miscue, and on the next drive got those points back.
On the 12th play of the ensuing drive, Hurts ran for his second touchdown of the game, slicing through the Chiefs defense from 4 yards out. That and the extra point made it 21-14 with 2:20 left in the half.
It never fails; every big game – heck, almost every game, period – has a controversial penalty call or missed call that figures into the outcome. And in Super Bowl it came with just under two minutes remaining in a tie game.
Mahomes aimed a pass for JuJu Smith-Schuster that sailed over the Chiefs wide receiver into the Eagles’ end zone. It appeared the Chiefs would have to kick a field goal and the Eagles would get the ball back with enough time on the clock to possibly engineer a scoring drive.
But the flag came out and an official said Philadelphia defensive back James Bradberry was guilty of holding as Smith-Schuster was making his move to get open.
Instead of being forced to kick a field goal from the 22, the Chiefs, given a new set of downs, were able to run precious time off the clock and get closer for the game-winning kick.
Many Eagles fans hated the call and other folks thought even if it was technically correct, it was nit-picky at a momentous time in a momentous game.
“On this stage I think you let them play, finish this thing out,” Fox broadcaster Greg Olsen, a former star tight end, said. “I don’t love that call.”
But the network’s rules expert Mike Pereira said: “I think you’ve got to see the whole thing. It seemed to me at the initial break he grabbed the back of the jersey and pulled it. If we see that, I think it is a hold.”
But the player called for the foul didn’t argue with it being a penalty.
“It was a (hold),” Bradberry said in the locker room, according to NFL.com. “I tugged his jersey. I was hoping they would let it slide.”
Damar Hamlin of the Buffalo Bills got to live out a dream by making it to the Super Bowl – albeit as a fan, not a player. But seeing the 24-year-old who almost died on the field last month having fun at the big game was heartwarming.
In a pregame interview with Super Bowl broadcaster Fox, the second-year safety said he eventually wants to return to a football field, but is thankful to get a second chance at life.
“Eventually, that’s always the goal. Like I said, I’m trying to do things to keep advancing my situation. But I’m allowing that to be in God’s hands. I’m just thankful he gave me a second chance,” he told Michael Strahan.
Hamlin collapsed after making a tackle in the first quarter of the Bills-Bengals game on January 2. Doctors and trainers gave Hamlin CPR on the field and he was rushed out of the stadium in an ambulance, leaving players, coaches, fans and those watching on TV in shock, unsure whether he was alive. Experts credit the on-field staff with saving Hamlin’s life after he went into cardiac arrest.
Hamlin said the toughest part of the experience was processing his emotions.
“I kind of like my privacy in a way, but you know, this situation kind of just brought me to the light of the world, which is a good thing in a way because I really feel like I stand for so much good,” he said. “I want to be a good example for… communities around the world. There’s a reason behind everything.”
During the game, Hamlin could be seen in the commissioner’s box sitting with Donna Kelce, who had a son playing for each team, and Roger Goodell.
Later, he posted a photo with LeBron James.
Correction: A previous version of this story misspelled Travis Kelce’s last name.