The Kansas City Chiefs fought back to beat the San Francisco 49ers 25-22 in overtime and win their third Super Bowl in five years.
The 49ers came into the first Super Bowl held in Las Vegas as the slight favourites and were twice on the brink of victory at Allegiant Stadium.
A last-gasp field goal by the Chiefs made it 19-19 to send the game into overtime, and although the 49ers edged back in front, Patrick Mahomes’ touchdown pass to Mecole Hardman meant defending champions Kansas City cemented their status as the first NFL dynasty since the New England Patriots.
The Chiefs have reached four of the past five Super Bowls and became the first team to win back-to-back titles since the Patriots in the 2003 and 2004 seasons.
At just 28, Mahomes has become the sixth quarterback in NFL history to win three or more Super Bowls, while Andy Reid has become the fifth coach to win three or more. Mahomes labelled Reid “the greatest coach this game has ever seen” afterwards.
While Kansas City’s win over the Philadelphia Eagles last season was a high-scoring epic, this will be seen as a classic by anyone who likes to see defences get on top, with San Francisco leading 10-3 at half-time.
But Mahomes still proved the difference, steering the Chiefs within range to make their game-tying field goal before keeping alive the nail-biting drive which resulted in Hardman’s touchdown.
That condemned the 49ers and their coach Kyle Shanahan to another painful defeat. The Chiefs began their Super Bowl streak with a fourth-quarter fightback against San Francisco in 2020 and their latest win came in the second Super Bowl to go to overtime – the first saw the Patriots produce a record comeback in 2016 before beating the Atlanta Falcons, whose offensive coordinator was Shanahan.
The 49ers remain five-time Super Bowl winners but have now lost in the big game three times since their last NFL title in 1995.
This year’s Super Bowl attracted arguably more interest than ever before, with the US television audience expected to eclipse the record 115 million for Kansas City’s win over the Eagles last year.
This was the first Super Bowl to be held in the entertainment capital of the world, Prince Harry made a surprise appearance at the end-of-season awards ceremony in Vegas on Thursday and then there’s Taylor Swift.
The music superstar’s relationship with tight end Travis Kelce has brought a wealth of new fans to the Chiefs and the NFL in general, and there have even been conspiracy theories about the team’s play-off run being rigged to maintain that new interest and help get US President Joe Biden re-elected.
This week NFL commissioner Roger Goodell called those claims “nonsense”, while many media outlets speculated whether she would be able to attend the Super Bowl as she was performing in Tokyo on Saturday.
She made it, joining dozens of stars in the crowd at Allegiant Stadium, although it seemed she and Kelce would be disappointed at half-time. He took just one catch for one yard in the first half and showed his frustration by bumping into coach Reid and shouting in the 65-year-old’s face.
But Kelce, 34, ended the game with 93 receiving yards, with Mahomes passing for 333 yards and two touchdowns.
“Man, I was fired up – I was fired up that we weren’t hitting on all cylinders,” Kelce added.
“I had to give ‘Big Red’ [Reid] a love tap and let him know we were all here fighting for him no matter what. I just had to tell him I loved him real quick.
“I put so much trust in him and how he goes about being a head coach, as a leader – he’s one of the best leaders in the game.
“I can’t thank him enough for giving me opportunities year in, year out.”
Mahomes also rushed for 66 yards, including a scramble on fourth down in overtime when failure to make a first down would have handed victory to the 49ers.
That ensured Mahomes was named the Super Bowl’s Most Valuable Player for a third time and he is the first to win the award back-to-back since Terry Bradshaw (1979 and 1980).
Source: BBC SPORTS