The Kansas City Chiefs defeated the Philadelphia Eagles 38-35 in Super Bowl LVII at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. The Chiefs have won two of the last four Super Bowls, prolonging the formidable reign of Chiefs Kingdom in the NFL.
As Sheryl Lee Ralph’s rendition of “Lift Every Voice And Sing” echoed from State Farm Stadium through the deserts of Arizona, two black quarterbacks, for the first time, stood on opposite sides of the field in a Super Bowl matchup that would display a marvelous onslaught for 113 million viewers.
The Chiefs won the toss and deferred to the Eagles, and head coach Nick Sirianni’s pregame tears immediately morphed into strategic brilliance. Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts capped an 11-play, 75-yard opening drive with a one-yard rushing touchdown.
Despite his ankle injury fostering trepidations in the souls of many, Mahomes refused to be perturbed about the state of his ankle. He displayed such determination on the ensuing drive, responding to the Eagles’ touchdown with an 18-yard pass to his main target, tight end Travis Kelce.
Kelce celebrated the touchdown with the “stanky leg” dance. Much more impressive than his dancing is his surpassing of Robert Grownkosi for most receiving touchdowns in playoff history. Kelce has 16 postseason touchdowns, six short of all-time leader, former wide receiver Jerry Rice.
Tied ball game going into the second, and the crowd was roaring. With the likes of LeBron James, fresh off making history, Paul McCartney, Tracy Morgan, Adele, and many more figures of status in attendance, as well as Rihanna, set to take the stage for the first time in five years, Hurts kept his composure and opened the second quarter with a 45-yard touchdown bomb to receiver AJ Brown. Brown finished the game with six receptions for 96 yards.
The Eagles’ defense responded by forcing a three-and-out. The pendulum shifted across the nation to the “City of Brotherly Love.” However, the hope of a city and a franchise can dwindle in the twinkling of an eye.
At the middle of the field on third-and-five, Hurts in shotgun formation handled the snap, attempted a quarterback draw, and immediately saw Chiefs linebacker, Nick Bolton. Bolton’s presence was enough for Hurts to shift his focus on the incoming pressure, consequently fumbling the ball. Bolton recovered the fumble and carried all of “Chiefs Kingdom” to the end zone with him.
Hurts’ fumble was the only turnover of the game. The score was now 14-14; in hindsight, one turnover prevented green and white confetti from showering the field.
The young and composed Hurts answered with a four-yard touchdown run. A 35-yard field goal by Eagles kicker Jake Elliot as the second quarter clock hit 0:00 extended Philadelphia’s lead to 24-14.
The Chiefs opting to kick despite winning the coin toss at the start of the game proved to be a critical decision. Mahomes opened up the half with a 10-play, 75-yard drive that was capped with a one-yard touchdown run by rookie running back Isiah Pacheco with 9:30 left in the third, his only one of the game. Pacheco, a seventh-round pick out of Rutgers, had 15 carries for 76 yards.
A couch-strapping third quarter ended with a 28-27 Chiefs lead after two Chiefs touchdowns and an Eagles field goal. The fourth quarter canvas displayed a masterpiece on television.
With 5:45 left in the game, Hurts found Devonta Smith for a 45-yard gain. Smith finished the game with seven receptions for 100 yards. The Eagles found the end zone for a two-yard Hurts rush, followed by a successful 2-point conversion.
Now tied 35-35 with just over five minutes left. Down to the wire and under the Chiefs’ center is Patrick Mahones. At the helm is Patrick Mahomes. At quarterback, Patrick Mahomes.
The result: Mahomes.
Mahomes managed to take the number two defense in the NFL down to their own 15-yard line with a little under two minutes remaining in the game. On a third-and-eight, the Eagles’ defense needed one stop to limit Kansas City to a field goal with adequate time remaining for Hurts to lead the Eagles on a game-tying or game-winning drive.
However, a masterpiece became a clash of colors when officials called Eagles cornerback James Bradberry for holding on Juju Smith-Schuster, granting the Chiefs a new set of downs. With one timeout remaining, wise Kansas City clock management placed the Eagles in a heart-crushing position. Now a Harrison Butker chip shot field goal away from defeat, the Philadelphia faithful’s only hope was another Philly special. Their hope soon met a horrific reality.
Butker nailed a 27-yard game-winning field goal with eight seconds remaining. Mahomes was now a two-time MVP, and two-time Super Bowl MVP and has captured two Super Bowls in the last four years. Chiefs head coach Andy Reid has done twice in 10 years what he could not do with the Eagles in 15. Furthermore, younger brother Travis Kelce got the upper hand over older brother and Eagles center Jason Kelce. At least a burden is now removed from their mothers’ shoulders.
However, Travis does not win his second ring without rookie defensemen Bryan Cook and Joshua Williams contributing to an outstanding collective interception earlier in their run. With the score tied at 20-20 with 7:02 left in the fourth quarter, Chiefs second-round rookie safety Bryan Cook tipped Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow’s pass to Chiefs fourth-round cornerback Joshua Williams for an interception.
An HBCU connection gave Mahomes another possession, a trip to the Super Bowl and, eventually, a trip down glory road.
Cook began his collegiate career at Howard University, where he logged 93 tackles and five interceptions over two seasons before transferring to the University of Cincinnati after his sophomore season. As a senior at Cincinnati, he earned first-team All-American Athletic Conference. Williams played college ball at Fayetteville University, where he earned first-team All-Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association honors.
Howard wide receiver Bryce Parker revealed how this gives hope to Howard football players and HBCU players overall.
“I think it just proves the point to everyone that we are good enough when given the opportunity to show it,” Parker said. “Oftentimes we got the plan and not the platform but when given the platforms we can do great things.”
The Chiefs’ defensive inexperience, however, against the Eagles’ juggernaut of an offense was a pertinent factor as to why the masses expected an Eagles victory.
It is a game that on paper, the Eagles should have won. The birds had eleven more minutes of possession, four more first downs, and 77 more total yards than the Chiefs.
Nevertheless, the Eagles’ future is in steady hands, literally. In his first Super Bowl appearance, Hurts completed an immaculate season with 304 yards on 27 completions and 15 carries for 70 yards, and four total touchdowns.
The Eagles, however, have 20 free agents this offseason and lost their offensive and defensive play callers. Former offensive coordinator Shane Steichen is the new Indianapolis Colts head coach, while the former defensive coordinator is staying where Super Bowl LVII was played as head coach of the Arizona Cardinals.
Undoubtedly, the National Football League is in a good place. With superior products at the quarterback position and college products committed to improvement, the playoff pictures are bound to the rail in millions of viewers in the near future. Mainstream football pundits expect number 15 in a red and white jersey out of Kansas City to devour dreams, hopes, and expectations.
Another expectation is the continuous evolution of the Black quarterback in the NFL. Although Mahomes won, it is a victory for the entire Black population.
Howard quarterback and 2022 MEAC champion Quinton Williams shared his thoughts on Hurts and Mahomes’ performances and their implications.
“It was a phenomenal performance by both quarterbacks in the Super Bowl,” Williams said. “Being that they both played so well, I hope they continue to reconstruct the narrative of the Black quarterback.”
Copy edited by Alana Matthew