Super Bowl LVII

Garrett Webber, Reporter

On February 12, the Kansas City Chiefs took on the Philadelphia Eagles at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona for the Super Bowl LVII. The Kansas City Chiefs of the American Football Conference got to the big game by going 14-3 in the regular season. Kansas City defeated the Jacksonville Jaguars 27-20 in the Divisional round, followed by a 23-20 triumph over Joe Burrow and the Cincinatti Bengals in the Championship round. Kansas City came into Phoenix with the highest scoring offense in the league, scoring 29.2 points per game. Kansas City are offensively led by MVP front-runner Quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who is playing in his third Super Bowl. Mahomes was dealing with a significant high-ankle sprain throughout the playoffs but said before the game, that the ankle situation is “definitely in a better spot.” Mahomes’s ankle has been discussed heavily leading up to the matchup with Philadelphia. Throughout the regular season, Kansas City had a middle-of-the-pack defense, allowing about 22 points per game. This was expected coming into the season, as Kansas City is starting six rookie players on defense. However, Kansas City, like past seasons, had tightened up later in the season on the defensive side of the ball. Kansas City is anchored defensively by All-Pro Defensive Tackle Chris Jones, who looked to slow down the elite Philadelphia running game. Kansas City’s roster has seven pro-bowlers, six of which were named to one of the AP All-Pro Teams. The last time Kansas City played in the Super Bowl was two seasons ago when they fell to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 31-9. 

The Philadelphia Eagles, also going 14-3 in the regular season, had significantly less difficulty punching their ticket to Glendale. Philadelphia trounced the New York Giants 38-7 in the Divisional Round. In the National Football Conference Championship Game, Philadelphia defeated the San Fransisco 49ers 31-7 after Quarterback Brock Purdy suffered an arm injury in the first quarter. Philadelphia has not had a close game throughout this postseason, which is of note. Philadelphia boasts the third-highest scoring offense in the NFL, but unlike Kansas City, they have a top-10 defense. The Philadelphia defense has been huge throughout the season, especially in the postseason. Philadelphia has an MVP-caliber signal caller as well, Jalen Hurts. Hurts is in his second year as a starter and has performed exceptionally with a much-anticipated contract negotiation looming. A significant side note for this matchup is Kansas City’s head coach, Andy Reid, was previously employed by Philadelphia before being fired in 2013. Philadelphia coach, Nick Sirianni, had an interesting first experience with Kansas City’s coach Andy Reid when he was a part of the Kansas City staff. The first time Sirianni, former Kansas City receiving coach, interacted with Andy Reid was in 2013. Andy Reid, the new Kansas City head coach, promptly fired Sirianni and brought in his own staff. These contexts surrounding the coaching matchups undoubtedly added fuel to the fire during the leadup to the big game. Philadelphia had eight players selected to the 2023 Pro Bowl, six of whom became All-Pro players this season. 

Super Bowl LVII was the first time since 2017 that the top seeds from both the AFC and NFC were the final two teams standing. In that matchup, the Philadelphia Eagles defeated the New England Patriots 41-33 in one of the more memorable Super Bowl showdowns in recent memory. Going into the game Philadelphia were slight favorites (-1.5) largely in part to the well-rounded nature of their attack, whereas Kansas City are widely viewed as a top-heavy team led by some of the best players in the game. Despite the high-flying offenses involved in this game, the over/under for total points scored in the game sits at 51, showing that experts expected both teams to score under their season averages offensively. Jalen Hurts and Patrick Mahomes were co-favorites (+130) to win Super Bowl LVII MVP. The most expensive ticket to this year’s Super Bowl came in at $40,000, with the average ticket costing around $10,000. For some, the commercials are the most interesting part of the Super Bowl. This year a 30-second commercial during the game cost a record $7 million. Some fan favorites from this year were from T-Mobile, Rakuten, and Pop Corners. 

In the first quarter of the game, Philadelphia and Kansas City were evenly matched, with Jalen Hurts scoring on a 1-yard rushing touchdown and Travis Kelce catching a touchdown pass from Patrick Mahomes. The way that Hurts scored this touchdown is known as the “Tush Push.” This is when the quarterback has multiple players in the backfield behind him who push him through the defense in short-yardage situations. Following Super Bowl LVII, the NFL has come out and explained that this play will likely be outlawed for the upcoming season. League officials explain that the NFL wants to “showcase the talents of our athletes” and that this is not a skillful play. 

The second quarter favored Philadelphia up 24-14 at the end of the first half. Hurts threw for a touchdown to AJ Brown and ran for another score, with Jake Elliot kicking a field goal as time expired. Kansas City’s offense was unable to put points on the board in the second quarter, but luckily for Kansas City, their defense returned a 36-yard fumble for a touchdown. The halftime show, performed by Rihanna, was recognized as one of the greatest performances in recent memory. The Grammy-award winning singer performed many of her hits, such as Rude Boy, Umbrella, and Diamonds.  

While Rihanna was captivating the world, Andy Reid and the Kansas City staff were able to cook up some much-needed adjustments. Kansas City opened the second half with a 75-yard drive, capped off by a 1-yard touchdown run by rookie Isaiah Pacheco. Philadelphia was able to maintain its lead in the third quarter with a 33-yard field goal from Jake Elliot. In the fourth quarter, Patrick Mahomes led a comeback that will undoubtedly improve his legacy significantly when fans reminisce about his career. Before the last quarter was even halfway through, Mahomes had thrown two touchdown passes to Kadarius Toney and rookie Skyy Moore. After these scoring drives, Kansas City held a 35-27 lead over the Eagles, along with control of the game. Jalen Hurts, who had an excellent performance, led Philadelphia on a 75-yard scoring drive of their own to even the score at 35. Then, as he has throughout his young career, Patrick Mahomes led Kansas City on a final drive to win the game. The 12 play, 66-yard drive which ended with a 27-yard field goal had its fair share of controversy. On an extremely consequential 3rd down, Philadelphia cornerback James Bradberry was called for defensive holding on Kansas City’s receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster, which gave Kansas City a fresh set of downs. Many NFL fans across the world groaned about the call, but rule experts defended the official’s decision to throw the flag. With only eight seconds left, Jalen Hurts was unable to do anything, and the Kansas City Chiefs won their second Super Bowl title in four years.  

Patrick Mahomes was crowned Super Bowl LVII MVP, completing 21 of his 27 passes for 180 yards and three touchdowns. Mahomes’s 131.8 QB rating was huge in completing the impressive second-half comeback. Isaiah Pacheco led Kansas City in rushing, with 76 yards. Future Hall-of-Famer Travis Kelce was the leading receiver for Kansas City with six catches for 81 yards. Linebacker Nick Bolton returned the fumble for a touchdown, which was crucial in keeping the score close for Kansas City in the first half. Jalen Hurts completed 27 of 38 passes for 304 yards and a touchdown. Hurts was also the leading rusher for Philadelphia, with 15 carries for 70 yards and three touchdowns. This epic performance from Hurts silenced many doubters, with Philadelphia’s owner Jeffrey Lurie stating after the game that the Oklahoma graduate had, “nothing to prove” going into upcoming contract negotiations. Second-year receiver and former Heisman winner, Devonta Smith, led Philadelphia receiving corps, with seven catches for 100 yards. Newly acquired receiver AJ Brown also added six catches, 96 yards, and a touchdown for Philadelphia. They had an extremely disappointing performance in the second half, with Kansas City coming away with points on every drive.  

The defending champions, Kansas City Chiefs, open as Super Bowl favorites for the upcoming season, with odds around (+600). The Buffalo Bills and San Fransisco 49ers have the next best odds, with the Bills in second following a disappointing Divisional Round performance against the Cincinatti Bengals. The 2023 NFL Runner-Up Philadelphia Eagles have the fourth best odds to win the Super Bowl next season, with many of their core players returning. Patrick Mahomes is favored to be back-to-back NFL MVP in the 2024 season, with Bills QB Josh Allen, Chargers QB Justin Herbert, and Jalen Hurts right behind Kansas City’s signal caller. This Super Bowl has been recognized by fans across the world as one of the greatest duels in recent memory, with lots of ups and downs for each team.  


Garrett Webber is a Dakota Student General Reporter. He can be reached at [email protected]