By Nick Athan
As a die-hard Kansas City Chiefs football fan, I survived a fifty-year gap between Super Bowls. Luckily this time, I only had to wait two years, before they won again. For the Philadelphia Eagles fans and their players, it’s a hard pill to swallow when many believe one holding call changed the game. I get it, I really do, but there were so many other plays that decided this game.
It’s been a week since the Kansas City Chiefs defeated the Philadelphia Eagles 38-35 in Super Bowl LVII. It was one of the best Super Bowls in history. Two young quarterbacks, at the top of their game, both dealing with serious injuries. Yet, they overcame those setbacks to deliver the goods when the game mattered most.
Jalen Hurts played a nearly perfect game, and some believe he was the MVP of the game. His only blemish on the day was the fumble the Chiefs converted into a touchdown. Mahomes, who reaggravated his ankle injury at the end of the second quarter, gutted out a second-half performance in extreme pain. His run late in the fourth quarter, in my view, was the best play of his six-year career.
Yet, even a week later, all Eagles fans want to talk about is the holding call on James Bradberry, late in the fourth quarter. Yes, it was the biggest call of the game, and for the most part, it did seal the victory for the Chiefs. However, it’s not why Philadelphia lost the Super Bowl.
- The Eagles gave up two touchdowns in the fourth quarter. All season their corners were susceptible to motion by backs and receivers. On film, they showed the inability to pass off defenders when offensive players went into motion. Mahomes took advantage of that chink in their armor, not once but twice on third down.
- Offensively the Eagles never made any adjustments. They ran a two-prong offense. Hurts running the ball and precise play-action passing. They didn’t run any motion, and they dared the Chiefs to put all their efforts into stopping the run. For the most part, they did but Hurts almost won the game despite the lack of creativity on offense.
- Eagles Head Coach, Nick Sirianni was outcoached in the second half by Andy Reid. In the first half, the Eagles could do no wrong. In the second half, the Chiefs easily exploited their lack of experience from the head coach down. Listen, Sirianni is a great young coach, but there were rumblings, his practices leading up to the big game, were light once the team arrived in Arizona. On the flip side, Reid’s first practice was in pads, and he worked his boys to the bone. Sirianni was led by emotions, and in the biggest game, they needed him to be more involved in the X’s and O’s.
- The biggest reason the Eagles lost the Super Bowl, mainly falls on their defensive line. They sacked, Patrick Mahomes, zero times. During the regular season, they led the NFL in that department. Going into the game they had their sites on the overall NFL sack record with a strong showing in Super Bowl LVII. The fact the Eagles defensive coaches made zero adjustments in their pass rush, and instead relied on what they’d done in the past, was their downfall.
- Lastly, Patrick Mahomes was simply brilliant in the second half. The Chiefs had four drives after halftime and scored 24 points. After the injury to Mahomes, I think the Eagles felt they had the Super Bowl in the bag. They were up ten points, and the league’s MVP was hobbling to the locker room. Heck, I felt the same way, until Mahomes opened the second half with a touchdown drive. It was then I knew the game was over.
In summary, the Eagles had a great season, but they were never tested by anyone of their opponents by a team as talented as Kansas City. They relied on fast starts and holding on to the lead in the fourth quarter. Kansas City on the flip side was battled tested with close wins throughout the regular and post-season. In 2022, KC’s opponents gave the Chiefs their best shot every game. Next season, the Eagles will be the hunted, and they’ll have to deal with it and figure out new ways to win games.
So, will the Eagles get back to the Super Bowl next year? It might not be so easy. They must contend with 22 free agents, and if the rumors are true, Jalen Hurts wants a $50M per year deal, not to mention a first-place schedule, this team might not get back to the Super Bowl next season.
The Chiefs are already the prohibitive favorite to win Super Bowl LVIII in Las Vegas. Further, Kansas City expects to be in the big game one year from now, because they are motivated, battle-tested, and driven to run it back.