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Kansas City Chiefs become 9th NFL team with back-to-back Super Bowl wins

Jimmy Myers
Kansas City Chiefs become 9th NFL team with back-to-back Super Bowl wins
Chiefs defense swarm 49ers receiver Deebo Samuel PHOTO: COURTESY KANSAS CITY CHIEFS

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In Super Bowl XLVIII, the Kansas City Chiefs beat the San Francisco 49ers 25-22 in overtime. But it was slow getting there. The first three and a half quarters of Super Bowl LVIII were a snooze-fest. The teams’ offenses were about as average as the much-publicized halftime performance by pop star Usher. But the last half of the 4th quarter and the overtime session more than made up for a sloppy, error-filled contest earlier in the game.

The first half, for example, was hard to watch. It concluded with the 49ers leading 10-3 at intermission. The team had dominated both sides of the line of scrimmage. Still, they had to score on a trick play by wide receiver Jauan Jennings. His throwback touchdown to running back Christian McCaffery produced a 10-0 lead for San Francisco. A review of the play showed that Niners center Jake Brendel was beyond the five-yard limit for a lineman to be downfield on the play, meaning that the touchdown should have been disallowed.

Running back Isiah Pacheco and quarterback Patrick Mahomes PHOTO: COURTESY KANSAS CITY CHIEFS

The Chiefs had been utterly stagnant on offense to that point. But they were able to put three points on the scoreboard, thanks to Harrison Butker’s 57-yard field goal: a Super Bowl record. Amid the first-half blunders, however, was a fumble by Niners running back Christian McCaffery, the NFL’s leading rusher, on the team’s game-opening possession.

There was also a red-zone fumble by Chiefs running back Isiah Pacheco. This was his first fumble of the season. Chiefs All-pro tight end (and Taylor Swift love interest) Travis Kelce followed the Pacheco fumble with a sideline meltdown. Kelce charged into head coach Andy Reid, nearly knocking him over, and screamed in the coach’s face. Both men tried to downplay the incident during postgame interviews, but it was out there for all to see.

San Francisco setback

The 49ers suffered a significant setback when linebacker Dre Greenlaw tore his Achilles tendon while running onto the field following a change of possession — a strange and tragic play.

Two mishaps in the kicking game also contributed to the 49ers’ woes. A muffed punt bounced off the foot of an unknowing San Francisco cornerback, Darrell Lauter. Teammate Ray-Ray McCloud tried to clean up the mess, only to see the Chiefs fall on the loose ball for a massive field position swing. On the next play, the Chiefs got their first game lead when Patrick Mahomes passed to Marquez Valdes-Scantling for a touchdown.

But the see-saw battle tipped in favor of the 49ers first. San Francisco’s 19-16 lead came on the Brock Purdy to Jauan Jennings scoring pass. In that moment, Jennings became only the second player in league history to throw for one score and catch a touchdown pass in the same Super Bowl game. The first was Pittsburgh Steeler Antwaan Randle-El in 2006, during Super Bowl XL. His team ultimately scored a 21-10 victory over the Seattle Seahawks.

Patrick Mahomes scrambles in Super Bowl LVIII. PHOTO: COURTESY KANSAS CITY CHIEFS

Leo Chenal, a Kansas City backup defensive lineman, made several critical defensive plays. He caused the McCaffery fumble. Later, he blocked Jake Moody’s extra-point attempt. The play would have given the Niners a 4-point lead, completely changing the late-game dynamic. Mahomes stepped to his familiar place in the spotlight, marching his team to a game-tying field goal with just three seconds to spare in regulation play.

More drama ensued when Mahomes got into a heated sideline discussion with rookie wide receiver Rashee Rice. He claimed he was open for a touchdown that could have won the game. Instead, his quarterback threw to receiver and All-pro tight end Travis Kelce, but the pass fell incomplete.

Overtime

Things got even wilder in the overtime period.

The 49ers won the toss and elected to receive. They marched the ball inside the Chiefs 10-yard line before settling for a field goal and a 22-19 lead. This move set the stage for some Patrick Mahomes magic. And once again, he rose to the moment, marching his team 75 yards for the game-winning touchdown.

The new NFL Overtime Rule played a significant role in the victory. Under the old system, the first team to score wins. That would have been the 49ers in this contest. The league changed the rule after Mahomes beat the Buffalo Bills in 2021. In this game, he threw clutch passes to Kelce and Rice during the history-making drive. But his two key runs in critical situations set the stage for his game-winning touchdown pass to Mecole Hardman Jr.

The 28-year-old Mahomes has also added another page to Hall of Fame’s resume. Mahomes is the first Black quarterback to win three Super Bowl titles. Sunday’s victory also marks his third Super Bowl MVP award in just five years.

The Chiefs are the first team in 19 years to repeat as NFL champions. The team is now in a position to make history by becoming the first NFL team to win 3 Super Bowl titles in succession. Mahomes acknowledged this fact during the postgame celebration. “The challenge of a Super Bowl three-peat is out there,” he said, “so why not go after it?”

Kansas City Chiefs, San Francisco 49ers, Sports, Super Bowl