SBLVIII: Chiefs in Swift Ascent to Dynasty Status

Feb 11, 2024; Paradise, Nevada, USA;  Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) hoists the Vince Lombardi Trophy after defeating the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LVIII at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 11, 2024; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) hoists the Vince Lombardi Trophy after defeating the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LVIII at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

LAS VEGAS — Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce and Andy Reid have made the Kansas City Chiefs a dynasty.

They’re already thinking three-peat.

First, they had to become the first back-to-back Super Bowl champions in 19 years.

Mahomes made sure of it, leading another super comeback on the NFL’s biggest stage in America’s showcase capital.

Mahomes threw a 3-yard touchdown pass to Mecole Hardman in overtime, and the Chiefs rallied to beat the San Francisco 49ers 25-22 on Sunday, becoming the NFL’s ninth repeat Super Bowl champs.

With pop star Taylor Swift watching boyfriend Kelce from a suite, the Chiefs captured their third title in five years, a run that puts them among the league’s greatest franchises — a run Kelce hopes isn’t over.

“How about that? We get a chance to do it three times in a row,” Kelce screamed on stage after sharing a kiss with Swift.

The NFL’s first Super Bowl in Las Vegas was a sloppy, mistake-filled affair that was mostly boring until the back-and-forth fourth quarter and OT. It was the second of 58 Super Bowls to be tied after regulation, and the first played under new overtime rules that ensured both teams got the ball.

The Chiefs (15-6) trailed 22-19 after Jake Moody kicked a 27-yard field goal on the first possession of overtime, but Mahomes rallied the Chiefs, completing another impressive comeback in a rematch of the Super Bowl four years ago.

Mahomes ran 8 yards on fourth-and-1 to keep the Chiefs’ chances alive and then scrambled 19 yards to set up the winning score, which came 14:57 into the extra period — just before what would have been the second OT.

“With all the adversity we’ve been through this season to come through tonight. ... I’m proud of the guys,” said Mahomes, who earned his third Super Bowl MVP award. “This is awesome. Legendary.”

After he connected with a wide-open Hardman, the Chiefs ran on the field as red-and-yellow confetti fell onto the turf.

Mahomes and Reid are now halfway to Tom Brady and Bill Belichick, who won six championships in 20 years together with the New England Patriots and were the most recent team to go back-to-back following the 2003-04 seasons.

The 28-year-old Mahomes becomes the fifth starting QB to win three Super Bowls — joining Brady, Joe Montana, Terry Bradshaw and Troy Aikman — and second-youngest.

“I am going to celebrate tonight, celebrate at the parade and then work my way to get back in this game next year,” Mahomes said. “I am going to do whatever I can to be back in this game next year. Three-peat.”

The action picked up after a crucial blunder by San Francisco’s special teams set up Mahomes’ 16-yard TD pass to Marquez Valdes-Scantling for a 13-10 lead.

Brock Purdy and the 49ers (14-6) answered but they couldn’t make enough plays, denying Mr. Irrelevant an opportunity to go from last pick in the 2022 NFL Draft to Super Bowl champion.

“We have the offense to score touchdowns and I failed to put the team in position to do that,” Purdy said.

Niners wide receiver Jauan Jennings threw a TD pass and caught one, joining Eagles quarterback Nick Foles six years ago as the only players to do both in the Super Bowl.

After Moody’s 53-yard field goal gave the Niners a 19-16 lead with 1:53 remaining, Mahomes and Kelce went to work. Mahomes connected with Kelce for a 22-yard gain to set up Harrison Butker’s tying kick, a 29-yarder with 3 seconds left.

A holding call on Kansas City’s Trent McDuffie extended San Francisco’s opening drive of overtime and Purdy made key throws to drive the 49ers to the Chiefs 9.

But San Francisco settled for a field goal.

Purdy, Christian McCaffrey and the Niners jumped ahead 10-0, but that’s no big deal for Mahomes and the Chiefs in the Super Bowl.

They’ve trailed by 10 points in all three of their victories, including last year’s 38-35 win over Philadelphia.

Mahomes wasn’t at his best early and threw an interception. But with the game on the line, he was a magician once again. He finished 34 of 46 for 333 yards and two TDs.

The Chiefs were hardly dominant during the regular season and entered the playoffs as the AFC’s No. 3 seed. They won at Buffalo and at Baltimore in the postseason — the first road playoff games of Mahomes’ career — and entered the Super Bowl as 2 1/2-point underdogs, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.

“The Kansas City Chiefs are never underdogs. Just know that,” Mahomes said.

They became the first team to win consecutive Super Bowls as underdogs; the Philadelphia Eagles were slight favorites a year ago.

The game turned when San Francisco’s Ray-Ray McCloud couldn’t scoop a punt that hit teammate Darrell Luter Jr.’s leg and the Chiefs recovered at the 49ers 16, leading to Mahomes’ go-ahead TD pass to Valdes-Scantling.

The Niners answered on the next possession with Purdy tossing a 10-yard TD pass to Jennings for a 16-13 lead. Moody’s extra point was blocked.

Niners coach Kyle Shanahan gambled on fourth-and-3 from the Chiefs 15, passing up a chance for a tying field goal. Purdy hit George Kittle for a 4-yard gain and then found Jennings for the score.

Shanahan resorted to trickery for the only touchdown of the first half.

Jennings, a wide receiver who had never thrown a pass in an NFL game, tossed a 21-yard TD to McCaffrey. He was hit as he threw a wobbly pass across the field, but McCaffrey snagged it and sprinted to the end zone.

Shanahan fell to 0-2 as a head coach in Super Bowls and 0-3 overall, including a loss when he was offensive coordinator for Atlanta. That was the game in which Brady and the Patriots rallied from a 28-3 deficit to win in OT.

“When you go against guys like Tom Brady and Pat Mahomes, you never feel comfortable with a lead. Those guys are two of the best to ever play the game,” Shanahan said.

Maaddi writes for The Associated Press.

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