Patrick Mahomes won the first Super Bowl duel between Black quarterbacks on Sunday as Kansas City defeated Philadelphia 38-35 at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Ariz. It is the team’s second NFL championship in four years.
Mahomes, who was chosen the game’s most valuable player, threw for 182 yards and three touchdowns and rushed for 41 yards more as he rallied KC back from a 10-point halftime disadvantage. Near the end of the second quarter he limped off the field after he apparently reinjured the right ankle he sprained earlier in the playoffs but returned in the second half and gutted it out. He finished with 21 completions of 27 attempts.
He is the first Black quarterback to win the Super Bowl twice and the fourth overall in 57 years after Doug Williams of Washington in 1988, Russell Wilson of Seattle in 2014 and himself in 2020.
Only nine Black quarterbacks have played in the NFL’s title game since 1967.
“It’s historic,” Mahomes said of the quarterback matchup with Jalen Hurts earlier in the week. “So many people laid the foundation before us, and to be playing with a guy like Jalen, who I know is doing it the right way, it’s going to be a special moment that I hope lives on forever.”
Said Hurts: “I think about all the rich history, and to be part of such a historic event, historic moment, it’s special.”
It was Mahomes’s third appearance in the Super Bowl in four years and Hurts’s first.
Rihanna’s Super Bowl halftime show was a hit-filled vision of red and white
Harrison Butker, who had missed one earlier, kicked a 27-yard field goal with eight seconds remaining to seal the victory.
Mahomes threw for a five-yard score to Kadarius Toney early in the fourth quarter as Kansas City took its first lead at 28-27. Toney, who was acquired at midseason in a trade with the New York Giants, set up KC’s next touchdown with a 65-yard punt return, the longest in Super Bowl history.
Shortly after that Mahomes found Skyy Moore from four yards out and Kansas City was ahead 35-27.
But then Hurts rallied the Eagles with a long pass to Devonta Smith, and ran the ball in from two yards out to cut the lead to 35-33. Hurts then also scored on the conversion to tie at 35-35. Hurts finished 27 of 38 for 304 yards.
In a spectacular performance, the latter ran for three touchdowns and a two-point conversion and tossed two scoring passes. He is the first quarterback to run for three touchdowns in an NFL title game, the last from two yards out.
Hurts scored on a one-yard sneak in the first period, threw for a 45-yard-score on the first play of the second and ran off left tackle from four yards out with 2:20 left in the first half. He finished the first two quarters with 183 yards passing and 63 rushing as the Eagles kept Mahomes and the KC offence off the field.
The game was expected to draw a television audience of more than 200 million worldwide, including two-thirds of all Americans and 52 per cent of Canadians. According to research done by time2play, an online gambling and sports-betting website, more than a quarter of Canadian viewers were mostly looking forward to the halftime show while 16.6 per cent were excited about the game itself.
With so many people watching, commercials aired during the telecast cost US$7-million for each 30 seconds. A lengthy list of stars appeared in the spots, including Steve Martin, Ben Stiller, Will Ferrell, John Travolta, Elton John, Sarah McLachlan, Serena Williams, Snoop Dogg, P Diddy and Martha Stewart.
The halftime extravaganza featured Rihanna, the nine-time Grammy Award winner who has had 14 No. 1 hits. She dazzled in a red ensemble and showed off a baby bump.
The halftime show has become the terrain of superstars like but that is not the way it has always been. In the early years it was conducted by marching bands, Carol Channing (twice), and Chubby Checker and Up With People once. And then, of course, there was the infamous wardrobe mishap in 2004 that involved Janet Jackson.
A sellout crowd of 63,400 was expected with the cheapest tickets selling for about $3,200. Admission to the first Super Bowl between KC and Green Bay in 1967 cost $6. Paul McCartney, Elon Musk and Floyd Mayweather were in the crowd.
Bettors in the United States were expected to wager US$16-billion, more than double last year’s estimate partially due to the legalization of gambling in certain states.
Philadelphia entered the game as a one-point favourite; the opponents had identical 16-3 records and had scored an identical 546 points.
The usual assortment of loony side bets available included whether Tom Cruise would parachute into the stadium to deliver the game ball to officials (no), the colour of liquid poured on the winning coach, the colour of Rihanna’s first outfit (a bright red jumpsuit) and whether the amply proportioned Kansas City coach Andy Reid would say burger or cheeseburger during his postgame interview. The over-under on the length of country artist Chris Stapleton’s version of The Star-Spangled Banner was 2 minutes 7 seconds.
Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin, who went into cardiac arrest after making a tackle against Cincinnati on Jan. 2, was honoured during pregame festivities along with first-responders that came to his aid. Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott received the Walton Payton Man of the Year Award.
Ahead of the kickoff, actress Sheryl Lee Ralph performed Lift Every Voice and Sing, a song written more than 100 years ago that emerged as a rallying cry during the civil rights movement in the United States. Representative Lauren Boebert, a Colorado Republican, immediately took to social media to complain.
Babyface performed a stirring rendition of America the Beautiful as he strummed an acoustic guitar painted in stars and stripes. As Babyface sang, Philadelphia coach Nick Sirianni and centre Jason Kolce cried on the sidelines.
The Eagles enjoyed one of the most successful stretches in franchise history under Reid from 1999 through 2012. He led them to four successive NFC championship games, including a Super Bowl appearance, from 2001-04.
In 2013 he jumped to Kansas City and the team has reached the playoffs in all but one year. He won his first Super Bowl in 2020 and has taken KC to the big game now in three of the past four.
Philadelphia reached the title game for the second time since 2018 when the Eagles beat the New England Patriots 41-33 in Super Bowl 52. It was their first Super Bowl win after losing their previous two appearances to the Patriots in Super Bowl 39 and to the Raiders in Super Bowl 15.
Sunday’s game was also the first to feature brothers on the opposing teams. Travis Kelce, a tight end, is KC’s leading receiver and an eight-time Pro Bowler while his elder sibling Jason is the Eagles all-pro centre and the anchor of their offensive line.
Each had previously won a Super Bowl and on Monday their mother, Donna, delivered cookies to both. During an interview with Time during the week she complained that Jason left food plates under his bed as a teenager and Travis once had an $1,100 bill for text messages.
Patrick Mitsuing, a powwow dancer from the Makwa Sahgaiehcan First Nation in northern Saskatchewan, performed throughout the festivities that led up to the game this week and also took to the stage while fans entered the stadium on Sunday and then with the winning team at the end of the game.
Philadelphia drove 75 yards in 10 plays in the first series of the game and went ahead 7-0 as Hurts snuck into the end zone. On the drive, the Philadelphia quarterback completed four o five passes for 54 yards, three of them going to Devonta Smith for 41.
Mahomes matched Hurts’ effort in KC’s first drive, which ended in an 18-yard touchdown pass to Travis Kelce. Kelce had two catches for 38 yards on the 75-yard drive.
Kansas City looked poised to go ahead late in the first quarter when Harrison Buttker bounced a 42-yard field goal try off the left upright.
Soon enough, Hurts found A.J. Brown streaking down the sideline and Philadelphia was in front 14-7. An error by Hurts led to KC tying it at 14-14 with 9:39 to go before halftime. Hurts fumbled while scrambling and the ball was picked up defensive back Nick Bolton who returned it 35 yards for the score.
The half ended 24-14 after another run by Hurts and a 35-yard field goal by Jake Elliott.