Patrick Mahomes did it again.
Kansas City’s superstar quarterback rallied his team to a victory in overtime over San Francisco in the Super Bowl on Sunday at Allegiant Field in Las Vegas.
Mahomes found Mecole Hardman for a touchdown with three seconds left in the first overtime quarter to give KC a 25-22 victory.
It is Kansas City’s third Super Bowl championship in five years and cements its position as the NFL’s next dynasty.
The 49ers had gone ahead 22-19 midway through the overtime period on a short field goal by Jake Moody.
The game was the annual spectacle that’s expected but not necessarily a classic.
It was riddled with miscues, turnovers and penalties.
KC (14-7) was playing in its sixth Super Bowl and fourth in five years. It is the first time to win back-to-back titles since the New England Patriots in 2003 and 2004.
The 49ers (15-5) were playing in their eighth Super Bowl and hoped to avenge a loss to Kansas City in the 2020 championship game. They had won five Super Bowls but none since 1995.
It was the first Super Bowl staged in Las Vegas and, as such, the build-up beforehand was crazy. At least one Elvis was certainly in the building and so was Taylor Swift. The Grammy-winning pop star performed at the Tokyo Dome on Saturday and then flew nearly 10,000 kilometres to Las Vegas – crossing nine time zones and the international dateline – to cheer for her beau Travis Kelce, Kansas City’s star tight end.
Gwen Stefani and Blake Shelton performed at an outdoor venue and Post Malone sang America the Beautiful. Alicia Keys, Lil Jon and Ludacris joined Usher. Celebrities in the crowd included Lady Gaga, Beyonce, Jay-Z, Wayne Newton, Shaquille O’Neal and LeBron James.
The 49ers got first downs on their first four plays but then turned the ball over on a fumble by Christian McCaffrey. On their next drive they got another first down on the first play — and then were called for penalties on three of their next five snaps.
Meanwhile, Kansas City and Mahomes failed to got untracked. It punted three times and coughed up a fumble on its first four drives. At the end of a first quarter with no points, San Francisco had 125 yards to KC’s 16.
On the second play of the second quarter, Moody kicked a Super Bowl-record 55-yard field goal to take a 3-0 advantage. It completed a 10-play 46-yard drive that included completions by Purdy of 18 yards to Chris Conley and 19 yards to Ray-Ray McLoud.
The 49ers widened their lead 10-0 on a trick play with 4:23 to go before intermission. Purdy took the snap from centre, threw a pass behind the line of scrimmage to wide receiver Jauan Jennings, who then found McCaffrey for a 21-yard score.
KC finally showed some life and went to halftime trailing 10-3 after Harrison Butker chipped in a field goal from 28 yards out with 20 seconds left.
After a stagnant beginning to the second half, Kansas City got on the board for a second time, again on a field goal by Butker. The kick came from 57 yards and eclipsed the Super Bowl record that Moody established in the first half. It ended a nine-play drive that covered 47 yards and came with 5:01 left in the third quarter.
A terrible turnover set up KC’s first touchdown and a 13-10 lead. McCloud fumbled on an attempted punt return deep in his own territory after teammate Darrell Luter Jr. had the ball deflect off his leg. Mahomes found Marquez Valdez-Scantling for 16 yards with 2:28 to go in the third.
San Francisco had been stymied in the second half but Purdy presided over a 75-yard drive that ended on a 10-yard pass to Jennings. The extra point kick was blocked however so the 49ers held a three-point lead early in the fourth quarter.
Butker added a third-field goal – this time from 24 yards – and the game was tied at 16-16 with 5:46 to go. Then Moody made a 53-yarder with 1:53 left and the 49ers held a 19-16 lead.
But Mahomes, then drove his team 75 yards in 1 minute 50 seconds to set up a 29-yard field by Butker to tie it at 19-19 with three seconds remaining.
In the end, the game was a cliffhanger decided in overtime. Until then, the big story was everything else in Vegas this past weekend.
The strip was gridlocked by football fans who paid an average US$8,600 each for a ticket to the big game. To celebrate, Allegiant Airlines, the stadium sponsor, offered US$58 fares on all of its routes. And a local wedding chapel promised to marry any couples named Taylor and Travis for free.
The Super Bowl has fairly well become a national holiday in the United States. A record 114 million American viewers were expected to watch on television, along with 17.5 million Canadians, a record for the most-watched TV event in the country’s history. The existing mark is 16.7 million for the 2010 Olympic gold-medal hockey game in Vancouver.
This year advertisers paid US$7-million for a 30-second spot. In 1967, the Super Bowl’s first year, the price was $40,000. Among others, hockey great Mark Messier was featured in a commercial to highlight a new flavour of potato chip from Lay’s as the kickoff to its “Betcha Can’t Pick Just One” campaign.
Super Bowl Sunday has also become an eating and drinking fest. LegalBet Canada, a website that monitors online betting, predicted that Americans would swill 325.5 million gallons of beer, enough to fill 492 Olympic-sized swimming pools. Twenty-nine million pounds of chips would be eaten, along with 12.5 million pizzas and 1.38 billion wings.
Gamblers, of which there are many, made San Francisco a slight favourite entering the game. The American Gaming Association expected a record 67.8-million Americans to bet an estimated US$23.1-billion on the contest and whacky things around it.
Among those so-called “prop” bets were a number around Swift: How many times would she be shown during the broadcast?; Would her navel appear?; What colour lipstick would she wear? and, Would Travis propose after the game?
Other wagers available included which song Usher would sing first during his 13-minute halftime show, how long would it take Reba McEntire to perform The Star-Spangled Banner and what colour sports drink would be poured on the winning coach. Perhaps the oddest of all: Would the coin, when flipped before the game, land on the ground? Somewhere out there somebody expected a bird to swoop in and fly off with it at the last second.
For the record, Swift wore a black-cropped corset, red lipstick and a #87 necklace.