Super Bowl LVII

After a week of hype leading up to the big game, Super Bowl LVII in Arizona finally arrived. The Kansas City Chiefs, who many expected to struggle this year after they traded away receiver Tyreek Hill, had found themselves back in the big game for the third time in four years. Their franchise quarterback, Patrick Mahomes, had won his second AP MVP Award but was also playing through a high ankle sprain he suffered earlier in the postseason. 

Representing the National Football Conference (NFC) was one of the most complete teams in all of football: The Philadelphia Eagles. Coming off of a 14-3 regular season, the Eagles seemed to have carried their momentum into the playoffs as they put on a clinic against the Giants in the Divisional Round and cruised past the injured 49ers in the NFC Championship. These two teams put on a show that will be remembered as a classic, as this game had highs and lows for each team and even a little controversy in a crucial moment towards the end.

The game started with a bang as the Eagles marched 75 yards down the field on their opening drive that ended with a Jalen Hurts QB Sneak for a touchdown. This touchdown was not a surprise to many, however, as the Eagles were statistically the best team in the NFL when it came to scoring on opening drives. Kansas City immediately answered back with a 75-yard touchdown drive of their own, capped off by a Travis Kelce receiving touchdown. Kelce now has 16 postseason receiving touchdowns, which is second all-time. The only player with more is Hall of Fame wide receiver Jerry Rice. Given that Kelce is only 33 and Rice has been retired for decades, Kelce is on pace to shatter this record. The Chiefs would get the ball back to end the first quarter, but Harrison Butker would miss a field goal off the left upright to keep the game tied 7-7 heading into the second quarter.

The Eagles started the second quarter with success, as it only took Jalen Hurts eight seconds to deliver a 45-yard dime downfield to star receiver AJ “Swole Batman” Brown for a touchdown. After the defense forced Kansas City onto their next possession, it seemed that the Eagles would start blowing out the Chiefs. However, a costly Jalen Hurts fumble was recovered by Nick Bolton and returned for a touchdown, tying the game at 14. The Eagles would go on to score 10 unanswered points to end the first half, putting them up 24-14. At halftime, many were convinced that the Eagles would fly home with a Super Bowl victory. Their offense was firing on all cylinders, they had a 10-point lead, and it was apparent that Patrick Mahomes had reaggravated his ankle injury, as he was seemingly limping off the field, grimacing in pain.

Despite his injury, Mahomes came back into the game and looked to play spoiler to the Eagles’ fun. The Chiefs started the second half with a 75-yard touchdown drive, capped off by an Isaiah Pacheco one-yard touchdown run, cutting the Eagles’ lead to three points. The Eagles responded with a 33-yard Jake Elliot field goal to increase the lead to six, but the Chiefs scored 14 unanswered points as Patrick Mahomes threw two more touchdown passes to former Giant Kadarius Toney and rookie Skyy Moore, respectively. The Chiefs had clawed their way back into the game after trailing by two scores and were leading 35-27 with less than 10 minutes remaining in the Super Bowl.

But, the Eagles would not go down without a fight, as they finally responded with a 75-yard touchdown drive and two-point conversion to tie the game once again at 35. The Chiefs regained possession with about five minutes remaining, and Mahomes completed three out of three passes and was able to run for 26 yards to put the Chiefs into easy field goal range. 

With two minutes remaining, it was now or never for the Eagles’ defense. They managed to stop the Chiefs’ offense and force a third down with 1:54 remaining. And then, controversy struck. On third down, Mahomes dropped back after taking the shotgun snap and fired an incomplete pass into the endzone. There seemed to be miscommunication, as no receiver was in the general area of where the ball landed. However, after the play, Mahomes and wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster seemed to believe that Smith-Schuster was held at the line of scrimmage, which would result in a penalty and an automatic first down. The refs agreed. They charged defensive back James Bradberry for holding, resulting in a five-yard penalty and an automatic first down. Replays showed the call, and many people, including announcer Greg Olsen, felt that it was inappropriate for the refs to make such a nit-picky call at such a crucial moment in the game. The first down allowed the Chiefs to run the clock out and attempt the game winning field goal with 11 seconds left. Butker made the kick, and after a failed Hail Mary attempt by the Eagles, the Kansas City Chiefs were once again crowned “Super Bowl Champions” after a 38-35 thriller in Arizona.

Many NFL fans were disappointed with the controversial ending. This game was dubbed an instant classic by many, but the controversial and underwhelming ending led to many speculations about the NFL. Some accused the game of being scripted, while others felt that the refs were paid off to make the controversial call. Regardless, this Super Bowl was one of the highest-scoring games of all time and will catapult the NFL into its extremely busy offseason.