On Super Bowl Sunday, the Kansas City Chiefs battled till the end against the Philadelphia Eagles, claiming the 2022 NFL championship with a 38-35 victory that may go down as one of the NFL’s all-time greatest Super Bowls.
Here are five things we learned from the game.
1. The Chiefs have become a bona fide dynasty
Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce said it best after the game. For the Chiefs, winning a second Lombardi Trophy “proves that the first one wasn’t a fluke — or beginner’s luck.”
This was the Chiefs' third trip to the Super Bowl in four years. Two titles in those trips makes Kansas City a dynasty.
The exciting part — something that should terrify the rest of the league — is that heading into the offseason, the Chiefs are in a terrific position to retain their existing players and possibly even add a piece or two in free agency. That’s not even to mention that the team is flush with draft picks; they’re expected to have 13 selections in the 2023 NFL Draft. Chiefs general manager Brett Veach and head coach Andy Reid have shown the ability to build through the draft by selecting quality players and coaching them to their maximum value.
Quarterback Patrick Mahomes is in the prime of his career. Reid has entered rarefied air, where he is unquestionably one of the greatest coaches in the league’s history. Don’t sleep on this moment. Take a deep breath. Take in all the glory. This is the greatest time there has ever been to be a Chiefs fan. We are in the beginning of the NFL’s newest dynasty — and the championship window is wide open.
2. The Chiefs are who we thought they were
Part of the reason that last season's AFC Championship loss to the Cincinnati Bengals hurt so badly was that we knew the Chiefs were better than the game they played that day. They were supposed to win the whole enchilada — thereby exorcising the demons from the Super Bowl LV loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers — but came up short.
Then Tyreek Hill was traded. Charvarius Ward and Tyrann Mathieu moved on. There were suddenly as many questions as there were answers — but there was one thing that never changed: the team believed in themselves.
Brett Veach put on a masterclass in rebuilding a roster, transforming Kansas City’s offense from a fast, high-flying group of gunslingers to a workmanlike squad based on performing efficiently by maximizing opportunities. On defense, he acquired lots of youth, length and speed — trusting defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo and defensive backs coach Dave Merritt to coach them up.
Every Fox analyst: The Eagles will win.— Rocky Magaña (@RockyMagana) February 13, 2023
The Chiefs: pic.twitter.com/j6DEU0wV4g
Coaching great Ted Lasso once said, “I have a hard time believing in people who don’t believe in themselves.”
I believe in the Chiefs — simply because they have always known that they are champions.
3. In coaching, experience matters
Last week, longtime sports radio personality Chris “Mad Dog” Russo said on the “Around the NFL” podcast that when it comes to Super Bowl games, the team with the more experienced head coach usually prevails. Coming into Super Bowl Sunday, the Chiefs boasted one of the most experienced coaching staffs in recent memory. It was Andy Reid’s fourth Super Bowl appearance as a head coach — and his sixth overall.
It was also defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo’s fifth Super Bowl appearance and offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy’s third. Linebackers coach Brendan Daly was coaching in his seventh Super Bowl, while defensive backs coach Dave Merritt was in his fifth. It was special teams coordinator Dave Toub’s fourth time as a coach in the big dance.
All of that experience showed throughout the game. Sunday’s matchup was a white-knuckled slugfest that went down to the wire. It’s a credit to Reid and his staff that they didn’t blink. They were able to go blow-for-blow with the Eagles until they could land the knockout punch.
4. Humilty in leadership breeds success
Mahomes is the greatest quarterback in the league’s history — but you will never hear him say that. You will, however, hear him take responsibility for his mistakes and shortcomings. If he ever brags, it’s to give credit to his teammates.
At his core, Mahomes plays the game like a big kid who is out there having fun with his friends. There is purity in his approach to the game. When you were a child — playing football in the backyard with your friends — nobody really cared about the group’s best player (well, except for when you were picking teams!) You were just kids. You were playing a game and having fun being around each other.
Mahomes knows he is the best player on the playground, but he doesn’t need to talk about it — because to him, being the best player is only useful if it helps his team win. That way, his friends can have more fun.
People flock to authenticity. They can smell a fake from a mile away. If Mahomes’ humility wasn’t legitimate, we would sniff it out. But it’s not an act. Mahomes is the real deal.
When the best player on the team is humble and accountable to his teammates, it’s infectious. The rest of the team has no choice but to follow suit. In large part, the Chiefs' culture is due to the childlike enthusiasm with which Mahomes plays football.
5. This might be the most complete team in Chiefs history
When you look at the Kansas City roster from top to bottom, it’s hard to find an area of weakness. You could say the offensive tackles need improvement — and to an extent, that’s correct — but they also just kept Mahomes clean against one of the greatest pass rushes in NFL history.
Just because there are places where the team could improve does not mean those are weaknesses. The wide receivers are workmanlike but solid. The No. 1 tight end is a legend. The running backs represent are some of the league’s best values. The defensive line was sometimes uneven this season — but very productive overall. The Chiefs have a solid corps of young linebackers, and their secondary can hang with the NFL’s best receivers.
It’s all a credit to Brett Veach.
Compared to a year ago, the Chiefs are in a far better position. The roster is solid from top to bottom — and the team has the NFL’s best head coach and quarterback.
If that’s not a recipe for success, then I don’t know what that is.