LAS VEGAS — Patrick Mahomes couldn’t contain himself.
He sprinted to Mecole Hardman in the end zone, jumping to embrace the wide receiver who’d just caught the game-winning touchdown in overtime. Mahomes soon bolted down the sideline, helmet in hand. He then dove to the ground and tumbled, gripping his head in apparent disbelief.
The game’s MVP was out of breath by the time he got to CBS Sports’ Tracy Wolfson for the on-field postgame interview.
“So,” she asked, “is it a dynasty now?”
“Yeah, it’s the start of one,” Mahomes exclaimed, taking long breaths.
It’s undeniable now.
With their thrilling 25-22 victory Sunday night over the 49ers in Super Bowl LVIII at Allegiant Stadium, the Chiefs have won three Super Bowls in a five-year span, including back-to-back seasons. Kansas City is the first organization to repeat as champions since New England did it 20 years ago, and it’s the fourth ever to win three of five, joining Pittsburgh, Dallas and New England, which accomplished the feat twice in non-overlapping periods.
Really, the Chiefs are starting to transcend football. They haven’t just taken the mantle from the Tom Brady-Bill Belichick era Patriots as the NFL’s king. They’re becoming America’s next great sports dynasty.
“It’s a little bit surreal,” coach Andy Reid said. ” Back-to-back (Super Bowl titles) is rare for this football team and this organization. I don’t know what a dynasty is. You guys have the thesaurus, so you can figure it out.”
Like all great dynasties, the Chiefs have learned to evolve in a way that maintains their dominance over time. They’ve transformed from an offensive juggernaut in Mahomes’ first few years as the starting quarterback to a club that’s reliant on defense — and gritty and will outlast you.
Sunday was a testament to that reality.
Kansas City looked terrible early on offense. It had just three points and went 0-for-2 in the red zone (including a goal-to-go fumble by running back Isiah Pacheco) in the first half, while star tight end Travis Kelce had just one catch on one target for 1 yard. Mahomes threw an interception on the opening possession of the third quarter, too. The Chiefs faced a double-digit deficit, like they did in their other three Super Bowl appearances with Mahomes.
It was their defense that kept the game within striking distance the whole way, though, and created the space for Mahomes and Kelce to manifest their greatness in the end.
It was linebacker Leo Chenal forcing a fumble on Niners all-world running back Christian McCaffrey — a ball recovered by defensive end George Karlaftis — inside Kansas City’s 30 on the game’s first possession. It was All-Pro nickelback Trent McDuffie’s impressive pass breakup in the end zone on a deep ball for Deebo Samuel at the start of the second quarter, forcing a long field goal.
It was the red zone stop at the two-minute warning in the fourth quarter — thanks to a well-executed blitz by McDuffie on third down — forcing a field goal, taking pressure off Mahomes and the offense on the game-tying drive. It was the red zone stop on San Francisco’s overtime possession, capped by a third-down pressure up the middle from star defensive tackle Chris Jones, forcing another field goal.
The Chiefs did enough offensively in the end — they marched 75 yards for the game-winning score, their longest drive of the night — but the defense deserves the bulk of the credit for this third Super Bowl title.
Special teams warrants mentioning, as well. Cornerback Jaylen Watson recovered a muffed punt in the third quarter that led to Kansas City’s lone touchdown in regulation. Chenal blocked an extra point in the fourth quarter. Harrison Butker drilled all four of his field goals, including a Super Bowl record 57-yarder.
The totality of the Chiefs’ Super Bowl victory was a testament to the steely nature that they cultivated in 2023. Clearly, they’re still adding complexion to this burgeoning dynasty.
“With a target on our back, man,” Kelce said. “Knowing that we were going to get everybody’s best shot. To have the doubters, to have the road that we went through, man, it meant everything to even get to this point. But to find a way through adversity, yet again, for four quarters, five quarters, man, I couldn’t be more proud of the guys, and it’s such an honor to be on this team and in this organization.”
This is a team poised to keep growing, to continue dominating. That’s what makes its current run frightening for opposing teams in 2024 and beyond.
Kansas City’s defense, which ranked second in the league in points and yards allowed during the regular season, is the youngest in the NFL with an average age of 25, according to NFL Research (based on the average age of players with one-plus games played in the regular season). If Jones and cornerback L’Jarius Sneed are re-signed, this unit can lead the Chiefs again. And they’ll surely fortify their wide receiver room around Mahomes, who’s still in his prime. Rookie Rashee Rice will continue to grow. Kelce remains one of the best at his position.
During his postgame interview with Wolfson, an out-of-breath Mahomes wanted to make one thing clear: “We’re not done. We got a young team. We’re going to keep this thing going.”
That’s dynasty talk.
Ben Arthur is the AFC South reporter for FOX Sports. He previously worked for The Tennessean/USA TODAY Network, where he was the Titans beat writer for a year and a half. He covered the Seattle Seahawks for SeattlePI.com for three seasons (2018-20) prior to moving to Tennessee. You can follow Ben on Twitter at @benyarthur.
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