Another season has reached its conclusion, with the Kansas City Chiefs topping the Philadelphia Eagles in the Super Bowl. With all that happened over the season, the championship goes to a team that we can comfortably say deserved it. The game itself told a story beyond just who is now crowned the champion of the National Football League. Here, I’ll identify some points that were discovered or enforced by this year’s big game.
Mahomes with another feather in the cap; Hurts will have to wait
Heading into this season, Patrick Mahomes was not mentioned by many, if anyone, when discussing who the greatest quarterback of all time is. Yet as his fifth strong regular season concluded, Mahomes began making a case to crack the top ten. Getting named this season’s MVP then solidified his spot as one of the best of all time, which is above and beyond for a 27-year-old quarterback. He’s only the 10th quarterback with two MVPs in his resume, and then this championship came along.
Mahomes performed better than he had all season, at least excluding his five-touchdown week one performance. Three touchdown passes and a 78% completion percentage gives us some glimpse at how easy everything is for the Chiefs superstar. It’s also important to mention how important their defense was to the game as well, setting Mahomes up for easy drives. His second win and second MVP makes him just the fourth quarterback ever to have a pair of each, along with Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Joe Montana. If he continues on this path, and has the longevity of a Brady, Brees or Manning, then he has a good case at becoming the NFLs new GOAT.
It’s important to not forget about Jalen Hurts though. The young quarterback had a huge third season, making a run at the MVP award and nearly leading his team to a Super Bowl victory. Despite it being a losing effort, Hurts had 300 yards passing, 70 on the ground, and four total touchdowns. The future’s looking bright for the quarterback, as well as his team. It also feeds into the notion that it takes three seasons for a young quarterback to develop, as it did for Tua Tagovailoa, Josh Allen, and Kyler Murray. Given the opportunity, maybe we could see breakout performances for Trevor Lawrence, Mac Jones, and Justin Fields next season.
Where does this put Andy Reid among the greats?
14 coaches have won multiple Super Bowls following this year’s competition. Andy Reid was already No. 5 all time in wins as well. So where does this put Reid amongst his peers? He certainly ranks behind Bill Belichick, Tom Landry and Don Shula. But after that, competition with the former Eagles head coach dwindles. There are a lot of talented coaches, but winning in this era has its added weight. Having such a talented quarterback definitely helps, but it’s safe to say his name at least belongs up there with the past greats of American Football.
What it takes to be champions
In recent seasons we’ve seen a persistent trend continue: the more experienced quarterback takes home the Lombardi. This is usually accompanied by having an experienced coach as well. The only time this hasn’t necessarily been the case was six years ago when the Eagles topped the Patriots. Besides that, for nearly a decade we’ve seen the need for an experienced and talented quarterback alongside a seasoned head coach. And of course, Mahomes and Andy Reid perfectly fit this bill.
The Eagles’ method, while not necessarily this, can’t be ignored either. They’ve waited patiently to develop their quarterback, and made sure to give him plenty of weapons. Their defense is very rush heavy, with increased investments in the secondary to reinforce this scheme. This team is built to become the blueprint that has been outlined, they just needed this test run before they can return victorious.
Who can fit this mold?
With such a successful team-building strategy, which franchises are in the right spot to match this template? The Chiefs, of course, would be the boring answer. They’ve won it twice in the last four seasons, and have been to the conference championship or better in the two other seasons. They have the experience and they are proven to be successful. They have the quarterback and coach, so obviously they have the best shot.
The Buffalo Bills and Philadelphia Eagles have good chances in the near future, though I wouldn’t necessarily say next season. The Eagles have to prove this isn’t a one-off. They’re built for extended success, and even though they likely will regress they still have a chance to make a shot next season. However, it is probably too early for the team to capture another Lombardi. As for the Bills, a lot rides on the play of Josh Allen, as much of their success depended on which side of Allen decided to come out to play on a given day. Even if he is at the top of his game, the team needs some more time together before they match the model the Chiefs and Patriots have built before them.
The teams most like to have a shot next year depending on this trend would have to be the San Francisco 49ers and Cincinnati Bengals. The Bengals are young, but have a very talented core that has already made it to the big game. Joe Burrow has continued to flash his talent across the league, and Zac Taylor has been solid enough to not slow the team down. The 49ers, meanwhile, have their hopes resting on their quarterback play next season. It was their ultimate downfall this season as their core succumbed to a plague of injuries. Jimmy Garoppolo, who had a good season when he was healthy, is expected to leave. That still leaves Trey Lance and Brock Purdy, both of whom have shown flashes of talent that could lead their team to the Super Bowl. If they return next year with that same fire, the 49ers could very well find themselves raising their sixth banner.