After another eventful NFL season, headlined by Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes taking home the league MVP after registering the most offensive yards in a single season by a player with 5,614 and Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts leading his team for an NFL-best 14-1 record when starting, Super Bowl 57 did not disappoint football fans with one of the best games of recent memory.
This was a big game for Philadelphia as a whole. This was the third league championship game/series that a professional sports league from the city competed in within five months, joining the Phillies and Union of the MLB and MLS respectively. Super Bowl 57 also marked the second time in six seasons that the Eagles made the big game with their last appearance being in 2018 against the New England Patriots, where they won 41-33, and quarterback Nick Foles took home game MVP in place for the injured Carson Wentz.
Mahomes was in familiar territory, unlike Hurts, being his third Super Bowl berth in four years and holding a 1-1 record with a win against the San Francisco 49ers and a loss to Tom Brady’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers. On the topic of quarterbacks, this was the first Super Bowl in NFL history in which both teams had a starting Black signal caller under center and 35 years since Doug Williams of the Washington Commanders became the first Black quarterback to start and win a Super Bowl.
Another largely talked about storyline heading into the game was between Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce and his older brother Jason Kelce who plays center for the Eagles as they became the first brothers to face off against each other in NFL history. The two joined coaches John and Jim Harbaugh of the Baltimore Ravens and 49ers respectively as the other pair of brothers to compete against each other on the biggest stage and twins Devin and Jason McCourty to play in the same Super Bowl as both were members of the New England Patriots in 2019 when they beat the Los Angeles Rams.
The game kicked off with the Chiefs winning the toss and electing to defer, which seemed to be a bad omen for Kansas City, as the last team to win the coin toss and ultimately hoist the Lombardi trophy was the “Legion of Boom” Seattle Seahawks in 2013 after they demolished Peyton Manning’s Denver Broncos 43-8. Another stat that seemed to spell out doom for Mahomes was how the league MVP hadn’t won a ring in the same season since Kurt Warner back in 1999 with the “Greatest Show on Turf” St. Louis Rams.
Nonetheless, the Chiefs looked ready after forcing a fumble from Eagles running back Miles Sanders which ended up being knocked out of bounds on Philadelphia’s 24-yard line. Hurts calmed the offense down after finding tight end Dallas Goedert and receiver DeVonta Smith for gains of 13 and 23 yards. A rushing touchdown would cap off the nearly five-minute opening drive for the Eagles by Hurts and a PAT from kicker Jake Elliott would have the game at 7-0 with 10:09 left in the first quarter.
Kansas City’s league-best offense wasn’t going to be slowed down by the Eagles' top 10 defense which included four players who finished with double digits sacks: Haason Reddick with 16, Brandon Graham, Javon Hargrave, and Josh Sweat. The latter three all finished with 11 sacks a piece which helped total the second most sacks by a team in a single season with 70 in the regular season, which is just two sacks behind the ‘84 Chicago Bears at 72. After deep completions to Kelce mixed in with runs from seventh-round rookie Isiah Pacheco, Mahomes would find Kelce in the endzone from 18 yards out, and a Harrison Butker PAT would tie the game up at 7-7.
Both teams traded possessions until Philadelphia got the ball back with 2:24 left in the first quarter where they started to steadily drive down the field until the end of the quarter. With no time to waste at the start of the second quarter, Hurts looked down-field for receiver A.J. Brown and they connected for a 45-yard touchdown to retake the lead at 14-7.
The Tennessee Titans originally drafted Brown in 2019 where he would find success after making his first Pro Bowl in 2020. Talks of a contract extension fell apart in the 2022 offseason and Brown was soon traded to the Eagles on draft night for the 18th and 101st overall picks. He would go on to sign a 4-year contract worth $100 million with $57 million guaranteed.
Kansas City’s offense would be stood up on the next possession and forced to punt for what would end up being only one of two times the entire game the Chiefs had to punt. A false start by Eagles guard Isaac Seumalo would push Philadelphia deep into their own territory which came to haunt them as Hurts tried extending a play when he was swiftly met by linebacker Nick Bolton who stripped the ball away and was able to scoop the ball and run into the endzone which helped tie the game at 14-14.
Philadelphia Head Coach Nick Sirianni wasn’t going to let this small mistake take them out of the game but knew that giving Mahomes too much time at the end of the drive would allow him to get Kansas City the ball right until halftime. They then would get the ball to start the third quarter since the Eagles got the ball to start the game. To fight this issue, Hurts commanded a lengthy 7:19 long drive which featured aggressive Eagles' play calling after they went for it on fourth down twice during the drive. Hurts would then score from four yards out for his second rushing touchdown of the half and put the Eagles up 21-14 with 2:20 left.
Normally Mahomes would’ve had plenty of time to score at least a field goal, but his hopes were crushed after Center Creed Humphrey fumbled his snap and the Chiefs were forced to give the ball right back to Philadelphia. In a short 1:33 long drive, Hurts was able to set up Elliott for a 35-yard field goal and he split the uprights to send the Eagles into the locker room up 10 points.
The halftime performance was headlined by Rihanna who would be performing in front of a crowd for the first time in five years. Fans came to an agreement that her show was one of the best in recent memory, especially considering that she was pregnant with her second child. The next day the artist saw a reported 211% increase in music streams and a 390% increase in digital song sales per Forbes.
The third quarter only featured 3 offensive drives combined from both teams as Kansas City would total a time of possession of 7:15 and 7:45 for the Eagles. The Chiefs kicked off the first drive of the second half with powerful runs and catches from Pacheco and veteran Jerick McKinnon with the rookie Pacheco scoring a rushing touchdown to cut the Eagles' lead to just three points.
Philadelphia would produce the drive with the most offensive plays (17) during their next drive which featured a multitude of short completions to Brown, Goedert, and running back Kenneth Gainwell. The game then saw one of its controversial calls as Goedert appeared to make a very close catch, but officials ruled it incomplete which left a multitude of fans perplexed by the ruling.
The Eagles were unable to reach the end zone again and settled for another Elliott field goal to take a 27-21 lead.
Most Chiefs fans weren’t worried about being down one possession going into the fourth quarter as in their last victory against the San Francisco 49ers they were down 10 points and were able to come back, so this isn’t something that Mahomes can’t overcome. He would lead a very efficient drive to get midseason acquisition Kadarius Toney his first career postseason touchdown from five years out.
The next drive couldn’t have gone worse for the Eagles as they could only manage one first down and had to punt the ball away to a red-hot Chiefs offense. Their special teams unit then fell apart as Toney was able to record a 65-yard punt return which is now the longest in Super Bowl history. Kansas City only needed 49 seconds to find a wide-open Skyy Moore to take a commanding 35-27 lead with 9:22 left in the game.
Hurts showed everyone why he was considered to be an MVP candidate on their next drive as he displayed surgical precision by cutting up the Chiefs’ defense for three straight gains of 7,11, and 45 with the first two going to Brown and the deep ball going to Smith which helped Hurts score his third rushing touchdown of the game, setting a new record for quarterbacks and tying Broncos running back Terrell Davis’ record for rushing touchdowns in a single Super Bowl which he set back in Super Bowl 32 against the Green Bay Packers. An extra point would only have the score at 35-34, so Sirianni dialed up a two-point conversion that Hurts converted to tie the game up at 35-35 with 5:15 on the clock.
This next drive would be the deciding factor in the game as Kansas City had the opportunity to take home their second Lombardi trophy in four years. Andy Reid would heavily lean on Kelce and wide receiver Juju Smith-Schuster in his plan for the drive as Mahomes would look their way plenty of times as the game reached the two-minute warning. Many considered that one of the greatest Super Bowls of recent memory ended on the very next play on third & eight after Eagles cornerback James Bradberry was called for a questionable holding penalty on Smith-Schuster which gave Kansas City an automatic first down. The call was very controversial as many football fans would argue that because of the scenario of the game, you can’t let a penalty interject such a close matchup.
Kansas City would go on to burn through the rest of their timeouts and trotted out Butker to kick the game-winning field goal from 27 yards out to take a 38-35 lead. Hurts would get the ball back with eight seconds left in the game and his long hail-mary attempt fell short. As the ball was swatted down, red and yellow confetti would rain down from the top of the stadium as the Chiefs claimed their third Super Bowl title in franchise history. Mahomes would take home Super Bowl MVP after going 21/27 for 182 yards and three touchdowns alongside 44 rushing yards.
While that final call leaves a sour taste in Philadelphia’s mouth, you can’t help but be proud of Hurts who had an electric game as he went 27/38 for 304 yards and one touchdown in the air and 70 yards with three touchdowns on the ground.
Now with a new league year approaching and the NFL draft looming ahead in April, the Carolina Panthers are on the clock with the first overall pick in the draft after trading up from the ninth overall pick with the Chicago Bears. They have a tough decision to make between the NCAA’s two best passers in Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud and Alabama’s Heisman winner Bryce Young.