The hottest show in Sin City?
Not U2, but “You Too.”
You too, San Francisco? It happened again Sunday evening, another team clawed its way to a 10-point lead over the Kansas City Chiefs only to be systematically dismantled by the play-calling of coach Andy Reid and sleight-of-hand brilliance of quarterback Patrick Mahomes.
This time, the Chiefs dug their way out of that familiar hole to win in overtime, 25-22, with Mahomes not only winning his third Vince Lombardi Trophy, but his third Super Bowl Most Valuable Player award.
If that sounds familiar, it’s because the Chiefs trailed by 10 against the 49ers four years ago, and against the Philadelphia Eagles last season, and won both of those games.
“Never a doubt,” said Reid’s wife, Tammy, standing outside Kansas City’s locker room after the game and wearing a pair of glittering championship rings that looked as big as donuts. She wasn’t ruffled when the Chiefs fell behind 10-0.
“I told everybody [in the suite to calm down], we got this,” she said. “I’m sick of that. I want us to be ahead by five touchdowns at all times. I’ve told the players, I’ve told him and nobody listens.”
On the other side of the locker room doors, nobody could hear anyway. The air was filled with cigar smoke, champagne spray, thumping music and team chants.
Mahomes and Reid are the new Brady and Belichick, only Tom and Bill never seemed to have this much fun.
The game wasn’t a pristine masterpiece for Mahomes, who had an interception and two fumbles, both of which were recovered by Kansas City. At halftime, the Chiefs had only three points and seven first downs. They could not jump-start their offense.
But dismiss Mahomes at your peril.
“He comes to work every day humble, wanting to be great, challenges the guys around him to be great every play,” Reid said. “He never flinches. ‘You dropped the ball? We’ll get the next one,’ or, ‘I need you in this spot, right here.’ It’s not like chewing them out or any of that. … That’s the way he operates.”
Just about every coach in the Pro Football Hall of Fame had at least one quarterback who was likewise enshrined. One day, that will be the case for Reid and Mahomes.
“Certainly there have been a lot of great quarterbacks in the history of the National Football League, and a pretty good one who won a bunch of Super Bowls over the last 20 years,” said Chiefs owner Clark Hunt, referring to Brady and his seven rings.
“But at 28 years old, Patrick’s already put together a very impressive resume and I know he’s going to build on it.”
A cornerstone of Mahomes’ success has been All-Pro tight end Travis Kelce, who wasn’t a big factor in the first two quarters but made nine of his 10 receptions after halftime.
The enduring image of Kelce from this Super Bowl wasn’t when he was on the field, but when he angrily confronted Reid about not being in the game at a crucial moment. In his frustration, he bumped the 65-year-old coach, nearly knocking him over.
Reid might have been hit hard, but he had no hard feelings.
“They’re passionate players, man, and I love that,” the coach said. “Even if they chest-bump me to the other side of the 50, I appreciate it. I just love that the guy wants to play, and he wants to be in there playing. It makes me feel young.”
Kelce, as millions of newly minted NFL fans know, is the beau of pop superstar Taylor Swift, who jetted from Japan after wrapping up a Saturday night concert in Tokyo. She cheered from a Kelce family suite, the brightest in a constellation of stars at the game. The Kardashians, Lady Gaga, and even LeBron James were B-listers by comparison.
Likewise, Kansas City reduced the 49ers to afterthoughts, searing for an organization that has five rings yet won its most recent 29 years ago.
San Francisco was oh-so-close until the game came down to Mahomes, who directed a 69-yard drive to force overtime, then a winning, 75-yard march in the extra period.
It was the second overtime game in Super Bowl history, and both involved 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan. He was Atlanta’s offensive coordinator when the Falcons melted down to New England in Super Bowl LI.
The Chiefs became the first franchise to win back-to-back Super Bowls since the Patriots did so 19 years earlier.
“I am going to celebrate tonight, celebrate at the parade and then work my way to get back in this game next year,” Mahomes said. “I am going to do whatever I can to be back in this game next year. Three-peat.”
That would be quite a trick. Of course, he was able to work his magic Sunday night on the 49ers.
Now you see the trophy. Now you don’t.