For the first time in the past 19 years, the National Football League has a champion who has won the championship more than once. At Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas on Sunday, the Kansas City Chiefs defeated the San Francisco 49ers by a score of 25-22 in overtime.
This victory solidified the Chiefs’ position as the modern-day dynasty of the National Football League. This victory was the Chiefs’ third Super Bowl victory in the past five seasons.
This one, like the two that came before it for Kansas City and its superstar quarterback Patrick Mahomes, was characterized by an inspiring comeback in the second half, and this time it was accompanied by some heroics in overtime regulation.
Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes won his third Super Bowl MVP award after leading the Chiefs to a thrilling 25-22 overtime victory against the San Francisco 49ers in #SBLVIII https://t.co/aK6WAwtcby pic.twitter.com/NLxqMYN3Ho
— Reuters (@Reuters) February 12, 2024
On the opening possession of overtime, the 49ers took the lead with a field goal from Jake Moody that was 27 yards long. However, the Chiefs replied with a drive that was 13 plays long and 75 yards long, and they won the game with a touchdown pass from Patrick Mahomes to Mecole Hardman that was three yards long.
The drive was just the most recent example of a must-have for Kansas City, a team that has established a reputation behind Mahomes as being the most dangerous when they are holding the ball longest. When the Chiefs marched 75 yards in 11 plays and Harrison Butker converted a field goal from 29 yards out, they were trailing 19-16 with less than two minutes left in the fourth quarter.
On a third-and-seven with sixteen seconds remaining, Mahomes connected with Travis Kelce on a crosser for a gain of twenty-two yards, which allowed the Chiefs to position themselves up for an easy kick. This was the most important play of the drive.
Mahomes was awarded the Most Valuable Player award for the third time when he completed 34 of 46 passes for 333 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception, resulting in a passer rating of 99.3 percent.
As the only players to win three Super Bowl MVP trophies, he joins Tom Brady (five) and Joe Montana (three) as the only players to accomplish this feat.
Mahomes, who has a stunning 15-3 record in the playoffs over the course of his six-year career, is now one of only five quarterbacks in the history of the league to win at least three Super Bowls. He joins Brady (seven), Montana (four), Terry Bradshaw (four), and Troy Aikman (three) as the only quarterbacks to have accomplished this feat.
The only people to win three times before their 30th birthdays are Aikman and Mahomes, both of whom are 28 years old. Over the course of the past two postseasons, Mahomes has thrown for 13 touchdowns and only one interception, resulting in a perfect 7-0 record.
The 49ers, and especially their head coach Kyle Shanahan, now have another chapter of Super Bowl grief to add to what has otherwise been an outstanding career. This defeat is a painful one for the 49ers.
When the Patriots came back from a 28-3 deficit in the third quarter to upset the Falcons in the only other championship game to go to overtime, Shanahan was on the wrong side of the most significant lost lead in the history of the Super Bowl. Shanahan was Atlanta’s offensive coordinator in 2017.
During Shanahan’s tenure as head coach of the 49ers, the team suffered its second defeat in the Super Bowl. In Super Bowl LIV, which took place four years ago, the 49ers lost a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter against the Chiefs, before ultimately losing 31-20.
At this point, San Francisco hasn’t won a championship in 29 consecutive seasons. Following the completion of the 2012, 2019 and 2023 seasons, the 49ers have been unsuccessful in all three of their attempts to reach the Super Bowl since the time when they won five Lombardi Trophies over the course of a thirteen-year span, from 1982 to 1995.
The Chiefs were able to tie the game on an ensuing field goal that finished a 12-play, 69-yard drive, and then win it in overtime. Jennings caught the second touchdown of the night for the 49ers at 11:22 early in the fourth quarter, but when an extra point was blocked, the Chiefs were able to tie the game.
In the course of the presentation of the Lombardi Trophy, Chiefs owner Clark Hunt remarked that the game was “one of the most thrilling Super Bowls I’ve ever seen.”