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Super Bowl 2023: Chiefs outduel Eagles in the desert for another Lombardi Trophy

...It’s a shame the ending was so controversial.

Super Bowl LVII - Kansas City Chiefs v Philadelphia Eagles Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images

For the second time in four seasons, the Kansas City Chiefs are Super Bowl champions.

It was a game as great as advertised and it lived up to the hype. The State Farm Stadium playing surface in Glendale, Arizona might have been awful, but the football was not. Patrick Mahomes threw for three touchdowns, rushed for another 44 on his injured ankle, and led his team from 24-14 down at the half to a 38-35 win over a Philadelphia Eagles squad that did just about everything they could on offense to keep up with the Chiefs, but the vaunted defense did not show up when it mattered most.

Jalen Hurts was magnificent, throwing for over 300 yards, a touchdown to A.J. Brown, and a Super Bowl record 70 rushing yards and a hat-trick of rushing touchdowns. The one glaring mistake was the self-forced fumble in the 2nd quarter that resulted in a scoop and score for Nick Bolton to tie things up at 14-14. On any other day he’s a Super Bowl champion and an MVP, but Andy Reid, Eric Bieniemy, and Mahomes put on a clinic that made an elite defense look ordinary.

The Eagles pass rush had 78 sacks through 19 games, but put up a bagel in the Super Bowl. That phenomenal Eagles rushing attack was limited to just Hurts, as the actual running backs only carried for 47 yards on 17 carries. Isiah Pacheco, whom I assume is just Thomas Rawls in a different body, rushed for 76 yards and a touchdown. Fellow rookie Skyy Moore and midseason trade acquisition Kadarius Toney both got into the end zone without an Eagles player in sight.

By far the biggest moment of the game was the 3rd and 8 incomplete pass thrown by Mahomes to JuJu Smith-Schuster. A stop would’ve given the Eagles more than enough time to win the game (or force overtime), but on a night when post-snap penalties were scarce, James Bradberry was flagged for a hold that didn’t look like much.

Harrison Butker made the game-winning field goal with 8 seconds left.

Was that an iffy call despite James Bradberry’s post-game admission that he did hold Smith-Schuster? Sure. My counterpoint to those who say the ending was anti-climactic by virtue of Butker needing only a chipshot field goal is that you’ve clearly forgotten about other NFL games (usually Seattle Seahawks ones) played in that stadium.

Patrick Mahomes is a two-time champion with a resume so strong that he’s basically a first-ballot Hall of Fame player already in just five seasons. Andy Reid gets one over his former team and remains undefeated against the Eagles, and cements himself as one of the greatest coaches in the history of the sport. For two decades he couldn’t get over the proverbial hump, and now he stands among coaching giants as a legend who should be celebrated.

A shoutout to former Seahawks players Carlos Dunlap and Ugo Amadi! Dunlap entered this season without a playoff win to his name, but now he’s a champion. Amadi was traded to Philadelphia, then went to Tennessee, and eventually ended up on the Chiefs practice squad. Of course, Frank Clark also has his second ring but the other two get to experience a championship for the very first time.

As for the Eagles, it was still a phenomenal year and a bitter pill to swallow on multiple fronts. We still thank them for making sure the San Francisco 49ers didn’t win anything.

That’s the end of the NFL season and we assemble again in September, with Las Vegas set to host next year’s Super Bowl!