LAS VEGAS — The NFL has a repeat champion for the first time in 19 years. The Kansas City Chiefs, fresh from winning their third Super Bowl in five seasons, cemented their status as the league's modern dynasty with a 25-22 overtime victory over the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas.
This goal, like the last two for Kansas City Chiefs and star quarterback Patrick Mahomes, came with a thrilling second-half comeback — this time, with some heroics in overtime.
Jake Moody's 27-yard field goal on the first possession of overtime put the 49ers up 22-19, but the Chiefs responded with a 13-play, 75-yard drive that they won on a 3-yard touchdown pass from Mahomes to Mecole Hardman.
This was just the latest must-have drive for Kansas City, a team that has built a reputation behind Mahomes as being the most dangerous when he finally catches the ball. The Chiefs trailed 19-16 with less than two minutes left in the fourth quarter when they marched 75 yards in 11 plays and Harrison Butker nailed a 29-yard field goal. The key play on the drive came on third-and-7 with 16 seconds left, when Mahomes hit Travis Kelce on a cross-ball for a 22-yard gain that set up the Chiefs for an easy punt.
It is the fourth Super Bowl win for the Chiefs and the team's third under coach Andy Reid, who joins Bill Walsh and Joe Gibbs in a tie for third all-time. Only Bill Belichick (six) and Chuck Noll (four) have more.
“Three is a big number in terms of breeds,” Kelce said this week, adding that he wanted to win a Super Bowl more than any of the previous three he played in. Winning three titles in a five-year window puts the Chiefs in a different conversation, one that includes some of the greatest runs in league history.
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Mahomes had his third Super Bowl MVP as he went 34-of-46 passing for 333 yards, two touchdowns and one interception, resulting in a 99.3 passer rating. He joins Tom Brady (five) and Joe Montana (three) as the only players to win three Super Bowl MVP awards.
The championship also elevates Mahomes — who has gone 15-3 in the playoffs in his six-year career — into elite company: He is now one of five quarterbacks in league history to win at least three Super Bowls, joining Brady (seven), and Montana (four), Terry Bradshaw (four) and Troy Aikman (three). Aikman and Mahomes, 28, are the only ones to win three awards before their 30th birthday. Across the last two seasons, Mahomes has gone 7-0, throwing 13 touchdowns and just one interception.
When CBS broadcaster Jim Nantz mentioned on the postgame podium how the Chiefs were underdogs in the last three games of this season, Mahomes said: “Just know that the Kansas City Chiefs are never underdogs. Just know this.”
Kelce added, “We couldn't have gotten here without having that target on our back all year. And now we get the opportunity to do it three times in a row.”
It's a devastating defeat for the 49ers, especially coach Kyle Shanahan, who adds another chapter of Super Bowl heartache to what has been a remarkable run. As Atlanta's offensive coordinator in 2017, Shanahan was on the wrong side of the biggest lead in Super Bowl history, when the Patriots rallied from a 28-3 deficit in the third quarter to stun the Falcons in the only other championship game to go to overtime. . Sunday's loss was Shanahan's second Super Bowl as a head coach. Four years ago, the 49ers blew a 10-point fourth-quarter lead against the Chiefs in Super Bowl LIV, ultimately losing 31-20.
San Francisco's championship drought is now at 29 seasons. After winning five Lombardi Trophies during a 13-year span from 1982-95, the 49ers have lost in all three of their trips to the Super Bowl since (following the 2012, 2019 and 2023 seasons).
Before this year's championship, the last Super Bowl champion to successfully defend their title was the 2004 Patriots. What became routine in the first few decades of the Super Bowl era — there were eight repeat winners in the first 39 editions of the game — has become defunct, a byproduct of increasing parity across the league and an indicator of how taxing the Super Bowl is. Can.
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The title caps a stunning late-season surge from Kansas City, which had its worst regular season since Mahomes became the starter in 2018. Plagued by an uncharacteristically inconsistent offense, including a league-worst 44 points by its receivers, The Chiefs were just 9-6 after losing to the Raiders at home on Christmas Day. It looked dire enough that Kansas City Chiefs general manager Brett Veach was left wondering if his team would make it to the postseason.
“You see it every year, where a team gets off to a hot start and doesn't make the playoffs,” Veach said this week.
But the Chiefs didn't lose again all year, finishing the regular season with a pair of wins before reeling off four straight wins in the playoffs. What started in frigid temperatures in Kansas City, a blowout win over the Dolphins in the fourth-coldest game in NFL history, continued with two gutsy road wins in Buffalo and Baltimore — the first true road victories of Mahomes' playoff career — and It culminates with Sunday's return in Las Vegas.
It's the most unusual title in the Chiefs' current run, not only because of their regular-season struggles but because of the intense spotlight that has dogged the team for much of the year. Kelsey's relationship with pop star Taylor Swift has become a phenomenon of its own, and her appearances at games during the regular season and playoffs — hitting all four during Kansas City's postseason run, including Sunday's Super Bowl after Saturday's show in Tokyo — have become One of the highlights. The biggest stories in sports.
When asked what he's learned about crushing celebrities over the past few months, Kelce smiled and offered this in the week leading up to the game: “Being famous all over the world is a lot different than being famous in Kansas City.”
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On Sunday, the 49ers dominated the first half by owning the trenches, especially when the Chiefs had the ball. San Francisco's punishing defensive line had Mahomes constantly scrambling from the pocket, resulting in him being sacked twice and forcing quick layups with regularity. In contrast, the Chiefs' offense was never in sync, managing only a late field goal to cut San Francisco's lead to 10-0.
The Chiefs finished with just 16 yards in the first quarter — compared to San Francisco's 125 — and couldn't get Kelce involved. Kelce had an early bubble ball for one yard, his only field goal during the first 30 minutes of the game.
After kicker Moody drilled what was then the longest field goal in Super Bowl history — a 55-yarder in the first quarter — the 49ers scored the game's first touchdown with 4:23 remaining in the second quarter when wide receiver Jauan Jennings, off the field from Birdie, hit McCaffrey for 21 yards. It was a bold, innovative play call from Shanahan and the first touchdown pass of Jennings' three-year career.
San Francisco took a 10-3 lead in the first half and left Kansas City frustrated. CBS cameras caught Kelce colliding with Reid on the sideline during a tense exchange.
Their chances never looked more promising after the opening drive of the third quarter when Mahomes threw his first interception in the last two seasons.
But the game swung around after a blunder by the 49ers in the third quarter when returner Darrell Luter Jr. fumbled a punt on San Francisco's 35-yard line. The Chiefs' Jaylen Watson recovered, and it took Mahomes all play to capitalize: He hit receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling for a 16-yard touchdown a second later.
Suddenly, after being outplayed all game, the Chiefs were in front. History was repeating itself.
Jennings got the 49ers' second touchdown of the night with 11:22 early in the fourth quarter, but after a blocked extra point, the Chiefs were able to tie the game with a subsequent field goal that capped a 12-play, 69-yard drive. drive before winning it in overtime.
“One of the most exciting Super Bowls I've ever seen,” Chiefs owner Clark Hunt said during the Lombardi Trophy presentation.
(Photo: Harry Howe/Getty Images)
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