By Jett Ryan, February 13 2023—
The Kansas City Chiefs clinched their third Super Bowl in franchise history on Sunday over the Philadelphia Eagles with a score of 38–35. Both teams combined for a staggering 73 total points, three away from holding the record for the highest-scoring Super Bowl. With everything from bone-jarring hits, sensational catches, and a Rihanna halftime show worthy of the highest praise, Super Bowl 57 had something for every spectator around the globe.
The big game was a shootout between league MVP and Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes and subsequent runner-up Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts. Mahomes cements his legacy earlier than most with his second career Super Bowl victory, while Hurts steadily rises as one of the league’s most prolific young talents.
The Eagles came in as slight -1.5 favourites against the AFC’s Chiefs. Both teams enjoyed razor-thin margins for error, evident when Hurts fumbled the football resulting in the rare but exciting defensive touchdown. Determined not to be shaken, Hurts remained composed, leading his team down the field, the next drive to a field goal, a quality that defines Hurts.
Coming into this season, the story surrounding Hurts mirrors many microaggressions held in the football community and society. The notion is that Hurts is a great runner and terrific athlete but needs more arm strength and passer IQ required for the quarterback position. This uncalled-for pretence falls on many of the league’s best Black quarterbacks, such as Baltimore Ravens’ Lamar Jackson and Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields.
Since then, Hurts battled adversity in the form of injuries and loud critics to an impressive 16-win season and Super Bowl berth. Hurts undoubtedly hushed his skeptics; however, the lurking sentiment that clouds Black quarterbacks in the NFL still rears its ugly head. Of course, Hurts can cut and juke like a wide receiver, but he routinely displays professional accuracy and precision while resonating as a leader on his team.
Silencing doubters with four total touchdowns and a plethora of beautifully thrown deep spirals to favourite receivers Devonta Smith and A.J. Brown, Hurts demands to be compared among the league’s best passers. In addition to 304 passing yards, Hurts notched 70 yards in rushing, leading his team by 49 yards.
The Eagles left the first half up 24-14 as attention to football quickly dissipated in anticipation of Rihanna’s first live performance in seven years.
Rihanna’s halftime show dazzled with explosive pyrotechnics, fear-inducing heights, and incredible vocal performances.
Social media sites were soon flooded with live reactions and acclaim. Commercials ran while people raced online to spill their opinions. The overall feeling of the halftime show exceeded all expectations, with the only complaint being she did not have enough time.
On the Chiefs’ side, since implementing Texas Tech alum Patrick Mahomes into the quarterback position, they have earned five consecutive trips to the AFC championship, the last step before reaching the Super Bowl. Earning the entirety of his 10-year $450 million contract extension, Mahomes reminds football fans and general managers alike of the premium of an elite quarterback in the game’s second half.
Current Chiefs head coach Andy Reid designed more than a few plays for Mahomes to dot the wide-open receivers, especially for touchdowns near the goal line. Reid is known for trickery and deception, qualities that enable Mahomes and the rest of the offence to unleash their athletic ability for us to marvel. Seven different receivers caught passes all from Mahomes, including three receivers running in for the touchdown: a testament to Reid maximizing his players’ athletic prowess.
With 73 total points, the defence could have been more abundant. Yet, both defences executed open-field tackles that displayed high levels of football intelligence and typically restrained from taking bad penalties.
While the prestige of Super Bowl MVP is usually reserved for offensive players, arguably the game’s most impactful player was Chiefs inside linebacker Nick Bolton. The 22-year-old University of Missouri product picked up the loose ball from Hurts and ran it to the house in addition to his game-leading eight tackles. Bolton helped his teammates defend Hurts and led the Eagles to 11 second-half points. Kansas City’s 24 second-half points squashed the Eagles’ grip on the lead.
Both defences could only hope to contain their offensive counterparts. The slight separation in points came from the Chiefs’ ability to capitalize on the Eagles’ few but costly mistakes. The game’s final points came from Chiefs all-pro kicker Harrison Butcker finalizing the 38–35 score.
Super Bowl 57 was action-packed with excitement for everyone. Chiefs fans celebrate their second title in five years with their team on the path to becoming a dynasty. Eagles fans walk away disappointed but trusting of their young superstars. The football purest relishes the high-powered offensive battle. And perhaps most influential and numerous, Rihanna fans remember a legendary halftime concert as they currently stream her music catalogue.