The Kansas City Chiefs appeared to be in a bad spot when the first half reached triple-zeros in Super Bowl LVII. They trailed the Philadelphia Eagles 24-14 — and quarterback Patrick Mahomes appeared to have aggravated the high-ankle sprain that he had managed almost the entire postseason.
Taking the field to start the third quarter, however, the Chiefs started a run that saw them outscore the Eagles 24-11 in the second half to clinch their second title in four seasons with a 38-35 victory.
While Rihanna entertained the crowd at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, the Chiefs went to work in the locker room to turn the night around — though head coach Andy Reid revealed after the game that the most important things take priority.
“We went in,” Reid recalled, “and made the adjustments that we needed to do as coaches — and then presented it to the players after they had a chance to use the restroom.”
Mahomes — fresh off winning his second league MVP award on Thursday — was happy not to be the only team leader rising to the moment.
“I was proud,” the league’s passing leader declared. “I talked a little bit — but it was everybody. It wasn’t like I was the only person talking in that locker room. We just challenged each other to leave everything out there. I don’t want to say we played tight in the first half, but you didn’t see that same joy that we play with.
“I wanted guys to just know that everything we work for is for this moment. You have to enjoy this moment. You can’t let the moment overtake you. I felt like the guys did that in the second half — and they fought to the very end. That’s all you can ask — is guys leaving everything they have on the football field.”
Since Mahomes became Kansas City’s starting quarterback in 2018, playoff comebacks have become almost routine. Reid stressed that prior experience trailing in the postseason showed in how his team responded.
“I don’t have to motivate these guys too much — they’re very motivated to do well,” the now two-time Super Bowl-winning coach explained. “We were down by ten points.
“It’s not that much with the way our defense plays shutting people down — and the way our offense plays scoring points. It’s just a matter of straightening out a couple of things. The guys always believe. They never don’t believe — they always think they’re in the game.”
For one player facing his first-time playoff deficit as a Chief, however, the moment made an impact.
“I didn’t get to see the Rihanna performance — she was probably amazing — but that 29 minutes that we had, literally brought us together,” wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster claimed.
Smith-Schuster also echoed Mahomes’ comments that the team rallied around getting their identity back after a difficult first half.
“It was just the passion and energy and that we’ve got to just be ourselves,” he said. “We’ve got to dedicate your whole body — your whole life — for 30 minutes. And this is what we did.”
Following the game, Mahomes earned his second individual accolade of the weekend when he was named MVP of the game — his second such honor in three Super Bowl appearances.
Having trailed by 10 points in both of his Super Bowl victories, he admits it might be nice to win in a less stressful manner.
“It hasn’t even sunk in yet,” Mahomes said of winning his second championship. “To be down to a team like that — and to come back and win the game — I wish I would make it easier and not be down. But I feel like I play better when we are down.
“I’ll try to do whatever I can to learn how to not get in those situations — and just start fast and finish faster. But you’ll look back on these games the rest of your life. You’ll watch these games when they’re on TV and stuff like that. I’m just glad that I get to enjoy it with some of the best men on earth.”