The Super Bowl was a bit of a microcosm of the Chiefs’ season, the team starting slow before finishing with a flourish – Mahomes throwing the game-winning touchdown to Mecole Hardman with 3 seconds on the clock to cap a 22-point barrage after halftime.
Dynasty? No doubt.
“It’s a beautiful thing, man, when everything comes together like that,” said Kelce, who despite a very quiet first half, led all players Sunday with nine catches and 93 receiving yards.
“Call us a dynasty, you can call us whatever you guys want, I know what we’ve got is something more special than really what you see in the NFL.”
Added head coach Andy Reid: “It’s a little bit surreal. ... I don’t know what a dynasty is. You guys have the thesaurus, so you can figure it out. It’s a great win because I know how hard it is to do and how hard the season was.”
THE NEW REALITY
The 2020 Super Bowl against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers was the first inkling that Mahomes, as fantastic as he was, could no longer carry the Kansas City Chiefs on insanity alone. Tampa Bay beat Kansas City’s battered offense line to a pulp all game long. Mahomes was forced into creation mode, even more so than usual, and couldn’t put the team over the top against a gnarly Buccaneers defense.
The following season was no kinder to Mahomes and the Chiefs. Defenses had caught up to the idea that the best way to slow Mahomes down was never giving him the downfield shots he so cravenly desired. Defenses that could either present him with two-high coverages or flood the field with eight coverage defenders gave the Chiefs fits all year long.
It didn’t matter much until the AFC Championship Game when Cincinnati Bengals defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo spammed drop-eight coverages in the second half to stymie Mahomes and the Chiefs offense entirely. They had no answer for being made to play a slow, methodical game, especially without a reliable run game. The Chiefs scored three points in the second half and none in overtime, allowing the Bengals to squeak out the win.
Just like that, two seasons came to a bitter end because the same creativity and explosiveness that made Mahomes a phenomenon was no longer enough.
After the win, Kelce was asked if anyone’s had a better week than he and Swift.
“On top of the world right now, baby,” Kelce said. “It’s a good feeling.”
Kelce wasn’t exactly feeling good early in the contest. The tight end got off to a slow start, catching just one pass for one lousy yard in the first half. CBS cameras caught the fired-up Kelce appearing miffed at Andy Reid at one point, nearly running over the Chiefs head coach on the sideline at Allegiant Stadium.
Both Kelce and Reid dismissed the incident.
“He’s emotional every game. I get it, listen I have five kids, so I get how that goes,” Reid quipped after the game. “The part I love is he loves to play the game, and he wants to help his team win. It’s not a selfish thing — that’s not what it is, and I understand that. So, as much as he bumps into me, I get after him, and we understand that. He just caught me off balance.”
But if you think the Chiefs are done, Mahomes has other ideas.
“It’s the start of one,” Mahomes told CBS Sports’ Tracy Wolfson afterward when asked if the Chiefs are indeed a dynasty. “We’re not done. I know we’re going to celebrate tonight ... but we’re not done. We’ve got a young team, we’re going to keep this thing going.”
32 - Chiefs
Keon Coleman - WR
Coleman’s draft stock has been anywhere from top-10 pick to second-rounder this draft season. He’s an incredibly gifted athlete, but his game lacks consistent separation. Still, his talent level is too high for a team like the Chiefs — who desperately need an alpha X receiver — to pass up.
Round 1 - Pick 32
Tyler Guyton OT
OKLAHOMA • JR • 6’7” / 328 LBS
Left tackle Donovan Smith is a free agent after the season and right tackle Jawaan Taylor has been inconsistent at times. Rookie Wanya Morris has been capable in spot duty, but NFL teams are intrigued by Tyler Guyton’s size and athleticism.
Around the NFL
The Chiefs covered the spread as 2-point underdogs, and the game went over the consensus closing total of 46.5. Both were good results for the betting public, as was overtime.
The odds of the game going to overtime at ESPN BET were 11-1, and multiple sportsbooks reported lopsided action on the game going into OT.
“Overtime was bad,” said Craig Mucklow, vice president of trading for Caesars Sportsbook. “It was our biggest loser of the prop bets.”
It’s fair to say he’s faced some stiff competition, especially since Kansas City head coach Andy Reid has claimed three championships in the last five seasons. The Chiefs found a way to make enough winning plays in this contest, as well, leaving the 49ers lamenting what could’ve been.
“I hurt the most for the players,” Shanahan said in his postgame press conference. “I can’t tell you guys about how long it takes to get here and how long it takes to get through an NFL season. Our guys — I hurt for them the most.”
The tough part for Shanahan must be how painfully close his teams have come to claiming victory. That Falcons squad held a 28-3 lead over the Patriots in that contest, before watching New England storm back for victory in overtime. The 49ers had a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter of Super Bowl LIV, before the Chiefs rallied to win that one, as well. San Francisco actually jumped out to a 10-0 lead in Sunday’s game, which once again proved to not be enough.
Instead, when it was over and the red and gold confetti started flying again, they were left with a familiar, sad feeling — only worse. This time they felt like they threw their best chance at a Super Bowl championship away.
“I don’t know what you can say after this one because we’ve been so close so many times,” said 49ers defensive end Nick Bosa. “There’s only so many more opportunities that we’re going to have.”
Reddick, 29, signed a three-year, $45 million free agent contract with his hometown team during the 2022 offseason.
He quickly outperformed that deal, racking up 16 sacks during the 2022 regular season and 3.5 more in the postseason during Philadelphia’s Super Bowl run.
“Y’all see it, y’all know what’s going on,” Reddick said when asked last offseason if he is underpaid. “I’m worried about being the best version of myself, and then everything will sort itself out, truly.”
He added 11 more sacks during the 2023 campaign, marking the fourth consecutive season he has reached double-digit sacks.
In case you missed it on Arrowhead Pride
As it often happened during the runup to the game, there were questions about whether 65-year-old head coach Andy Reid would consider retiring after his third Super Bowl win. ESPN’s James Palmer asked Kansas City chairman and CEO Clark Hunt how he might try to convince Reid to stay with the Chiefs.
“My pitch to him is Patrick’s under contract for another eight years,” Hunt said with a laugh. “I know Andy loves what he’s doing. We certainly appreciate him as a family. Our organization is what it is because of Andy — and he’s got a special relationship with everybody in it. I’m expecting him to be back next year — and we’ll be going for the three-peat.”
Asked about it after the game, Reid himself said he’d “never had time to think about” whether he’d return in 2024.
And then he did what he often does when he’s asked a question about retiring: he deflected it with a joke. This time, it was about two former head coaches: Bill Belichick of New England Patriots and Pete Carroll of the Seattle Seahawks.
Social media to make you think
Patrick Mahomes says on ESPN that the Chiefs would have deferred/kicked if they won the toss in overtime. So they’d know what they needed.— Chris Vannini (@ChrisVannini) February 12, 2024
“We changed the rules, we can execute them both ways. I don’t know how they’re going to change it this time.”