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Monday March 04, 2024

Chiefs beat Niners in Sin City Super Bowl overtime thriller

Win made Taylor Swift’s mad dash from Tokyo to Las Vegas to watch boyfriend Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce all worthwhile

By REUTERS
February 13, 2024
Patrick Mahomes while celebrating the victory. — AFP
Patrick Mahomes while celebrating the victory. — AFP

LAS VEGAS: Patrick Mahomes threw a touchdown pass to Mecole Hardman in overtime to give the Kansas City Chiefs a 25-22 win over the San Francisco 49ers in a ‘Sin City’ Super Bowl thriller on Sunday, cementing their status as an NFL dynasty.

The blockbuster finish in Las Vegas was worthy of the biggest show on the Strip, as the Chiefs won a third Super Bowl in five years and became the NFL’s first repeat champions since the New England Patriots in February 2005. After 49ers rookie kicker Jake Moody had booted a field goal to open overtime Mahomes marched the Chiefs down the field and, with a sold-out Allegiant Stadium on the edge of their seats, ended the drama with a three-yard strike to Hardman in the final seconds of the first overtime period.

The win made pop queen Taylor Swift’s mad dash from Tokyo, where she performed on Saturday, to Las Vegas to watch boyfriend Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce all worthwhile. The pop superstar showed no signs of jetlag, jumping up and down and cheering throughout the entire contest before joining Kelce on the field where they embraced under a shower of confetti.

While viewership numbers will not be known until Monday, broadcasters expect the combination of Swift and the NFL to have produced the biggest TV event in the U.S. since Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon in 1969.

The Apollo 11 moon landing was the most-watched U.S. television event in history, drawing nearly 150 million viewers. Kelce, who caught nine passes for 93 yards, said he always believed quarterback Mahomes would lead the Chiefs victory.

“Never a doubt in my mind,” said Kelce. “We got the best quarterback in the league, the best offensive mind (coach Andy Reid) in the league and we got the most determination out of any team in the NFL.”

While Swift and Chiefs supporters celebrated it was more heartbreak for Niners fans, who were looking to claim a record equalling sixth Super Bowl title only to be denied by Kansas City once again.

At the Super Bowl in 2020 is was also the Chiefs who sent the 49ers home empty handed when they scored 21 unanswered points in the fourth quarter for a 31-20 victory in Miami. “They should learn by now that when we down by 10, we turn into a different animal,” said Hardman. “They counted us out, they said we down, we nothing, we washed up. They said the receivers were done.

“But look now, back-to-back champs ... don’t ever count us out.” Mahomes’ game winning 75-yard drive proved yet again why he is rated the best quarterback in the business, earning Super Bowl Most Valuable Player honours for a third time.

“The guys never faltered,” said Mahomes. “I’m proud of my guys man, this is awesome, it’s legendary. “It’s the start of (a dynasty), we’re not done. “I know we’re going to celebrate tonight but we got a young team, we going to keep this thing going.”

After a glitzy week of high-octane partying and obsessing over Swift’s travel plans the spotlight finally turned to the action on the field. San Francisco dominated the opening half where the highlight for Chiefs supporters was Swift chugging down a drink and slamming down the cup as Niners fans booed.

Neither team were able to find their stride in a scoreless first quarter where both quarterbacks turned to the ground game. The 49ers took charge in the second, opening up a 10-0 lead on a Super Bowl record field goal and bit of ‘razzle-dazzle’.

Moody nailed a 55-yarder before Niners coach Kyle Shanahan reached into his bag of tricks with a play that saw receiver Jauan Jennings, a former high school quarterback, throwing the ball across field to running back Christian McCaffrey, who scampered 21 yards for the score.

Kansas City got on the scoreboard just before the end of the half with kicker Harrison Butker chipping a 28-yard field goal to send the Chiefs into the break down 10-3. Coming out of the break the Chiefs’ play remained scrappy but their determination did not waver and Butker booted a Super Bowl record 57-yard field goal to trim the 49ers’ lead to 10-6.

Just before the end of the third quarter Kansas City got the break they had been waiting for - a punt brushing off the leg of Niners Ray-Ray McCloud and the Chiefs recovered.