On Sunday afternoon, Fox aired an interview asking Patrick Mahomes what he would imagine when he’d think about going to the Super Bowl as a child.
“The biggest thing to me that I’ve always envisioned is to get to the Super Bowl is doing the snow angels in the confetti,” Mahomes said. “I want to be holding the trophy up there, everything like that. That’s the moment. That’s the moment that you’ll forever have.”
Mahomes didn’t do any snow angels, but he still had his moment on Sunday. The Kansas City Chiefs defeated the San Francisco 49ers 31-20 to win Super Bowl LIV. He delivered a championship to Andy Reid, who had never won one in two decades as a head coach, and to a Kansas City fan base that had not been to the championship in a torturous half-century. Not only did Mahomes win the game and Super Bowl MVP, but he did it with the flair the Chiefs have had all postseason. Kansas City came back from a 10-point deficit for the third time in a row these playoffs, an NFL record. The Chiefs were long defined by collapses, but with Mahomes they are now synonymous with comebacks. He has demonstrated an uncanny trait of improving as games continue, and while Sunday was not the finest example of his play, it is certainly his most glorious.
Mahomes completed 26 of 42 passes for 286 yards, two touchdowns, and two interceptions. The two touchdowns gave Mahomes 12 in the postseason, the most for any quarterback in any playoff ever even though Mahomes played in just three games this postseason. The two interceptions were the first two postseason picks of his career. He had an up-and-down game as a passer, and much of the down was due to Nick Bosa, who was in the backfield seemingly every play in the second half. But Mahomes began the game making an impact as a rusher. He ran option plays from the first play of the game and on multiple third- and fourth-and-short situations, but his best came at the goal line, where he faked out 49ers safety Jaquiski Tartt and then lowered his shoulder into linebacker Kwon Alexander for the touchdown.
Mahomes’s rushing was solid to begin the game, but his passing was off for much of the contest. When Bosa strip-sacked Mahomes in the third quarter, the QB miraculously managed to recover the ball. On the next play, he threw the first interception of his playoff career when he seemed to either misread or just plain miss the window that Tyreek Hill was sitting in downfield.
Mahomes threw another interception intended for Hill in the beginning of the fourth quarter. (This pick was off Hill’s arms, but Mahomes threw the ball behind Hill, making it much harder to catch than if Mahomes had placed it in Hill’s chest.) Mahomes hasn’t had a truly bad game in his career yet, but this was shaping up to be his first. He was sacked four times on Sunday—just the fourth time in his career he’s taken so many sacks. But he dodged the 49ers defensive line just enough to save the day. The play that may go down as the most memorable is Mahomes’s deep throw to Hill. On third-and-15 at the Chiefs’ 35-yard line and with Kansas City trailing 20-10, Mahomes tossed a ball to Hill for a 44-yard gain that put the ball at the 49ers’ 21-yard line, completely altering the feeling of the game.
Three plays and one pass interference penalty later, Mahomes found Travis Kelce in the end zone to make the game 49ers 20, Chiefs 17 with more than six minutes to play. The 49ers went three-and-out, and on the next drive, Mahomes had more escape acts. He got out of the grips of a defender on second-and-5 to find Travis Kelce for a first down with just over five minutes left in the fourth quarter …
... and then found Sammy Watkins down the sideline to put them in scoring range.
Running back Damien Williams barely scored the touchdown to give the Chiefs a 24-20 lead, and later tacked on another to make the game 31-20, delivering the franchise’s first title since Super Bowl IV. The fog hanging over the Kansas City fan base for five decades had already lifted before this game, but now it has disappeared altogether. Past consternation has transformed into present-day bliss and hope for the future. This was the year of Mahomes from the beginning. The reigning MVP was on the cover of Madden, on boxes of cereal, and on every State Farm commercial for five months. When Mahomes sprained his ankle in Week 1 and then dislocated his kneecap in Week 7, it seemed like something had gotten to him, whether it was regression or the Madden curse or whatever happens to Kansas City whenever the Chiefs have nice things. But not this year. Mahomes came back from the injury, then came back against the Texans, the Titans, and now the 49ers.
“We never lost faith,” Mahomes said as confetti rained around him. “I think that’s the biggest thing. Everybody on this team, no one had their head down and we believed in each other. That’s what we preached all year long. And we had this guy [Reid] right here and we found a way to get it in the end.”
Mahomes had his moment, and Chiefs fans will forever see him as their confetti angel.