PHOENIX — Kansas City is set to make its third appearance in the past four Super Bowls.
The Chiefs (16-3) will the Eagles (16-3) in Super Bowl LVII at 6:30 p.m. Sunday at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.
The Chiefs defeated the 49ers 31-20 in Super Bowl LIV.
The following season, they loss to the Buccaneers 31-9 in Super Bowl LV after the 2020 pandemic season.
Last season, they reached the AFC Championship game, but were defeated by the Bengals.
The Chiefs, who had to rebuild their offensive line and the wide receiving corps and rely on some rookie defensive backs, are back in the big game, and they are the closest thing the NFL has to dynasty since Tom Brady left New England for Tampa Bay.
“It’s special,” Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes said Tuesday about being back in the Super Bowl. “The whole the organization, everybody is on the same page. We made some huge moves this offseason, but there was a plan. ... There was a plan all the way from the owner down to the equipment manager.”
In the Super Bowl against the Bucs, Mahomes was harassed by the pass rush. The Chiefs needed to rebuild their offensive line.
After Mahomes signed a 10-year, $450 million contract in 2022, there wasn’t enough money left for wide receiver Tyreek Hill.
He was traded to Miami for a bushel of draft picks that were used to help draft defensive backs Trent McDuffie, Bryan Cook, Joshua Williams, Jaylen Watson and Nazeeh Johnson in the 2022 draft.
“We had a plan on how we were going to execute,” Mahomes said. “How we were going to get back in this position. That’s speaks to the organization and the relationship that we have. Everybody is on the same page. We know what the goal is and how we are going to achieve it.”
The quarterback with the flashy passes from various angles gave credit to coach Andy Reid, general manager Brett Veach and owner Clark Hunt.
Mahomes, 27, is in his sixth season. He’s been to five Pro Bowls and been named All-Pro twice. He was drafted with the 10th overall pick in the 2017 draft.
The Chiefs were patient and let him learn the position behind Alex Smith before rushing him on the field.
“It took me to about year three or four years to start mastering the offense,” Mahomes said. “I could run the offense and make plays because there were so many talented players around me, but to be able to understand the offense and know where you have those little easy plays where I can get three yards, that took me a while.”
He’s glad the Chiefs were patient with him.
“That takes every quarterback a while,” Mahomes said. “That’s why it’s sometimes hard to … we quit on quarterbacks so early now. It’s hard to learn where those little sneaky, freebie plays are in the offense. So that’s why I’m glad I had the time that I had.”
Now, he’s comfortable with the offense at an early age and could have the Chiefs in contention for years to come.
“But I needed the time to learn and master the offense,” Mahomes said. “Then I was ready. I’m glad that I’m in the place that I’m at.”
Mahomes’ dad thought his son would be drafted by the Chicago Bears, who were run by current Falcons executive Ryan Pace, in 2017. The Bears traded up and took Mitchell Trubisky, who has turned out to be a backup quarterback and played last season on his third team.
“I think my dad took that a little far,” Mahomes said. “I didn’t know if the Bears were going to draft me. I was told that if they drafted a quarterback, that I would be the quarterback that they drafted. That wasn’t necessarily directly from their people, but that was told to my camp.”
So, when the Bears took Trubisky, it was a curveball.
“So, it did surprise me a little bit,” Mahomes said. “But they told I me they weren’t drafting a quarterback. So that was the most surprising thing out of it all. (The Bears) acted like they were going to draft me, for sure, but they did say if they drafted a quarterback, I would be drafted.”
He’s just fine in Kansas City, now.
“I wasn’t extremely worried about it,” Mahomes said. “At the time when I came out for the draft I was projected to be a second- or third-round pick, so I was just happy to be drafted in the first round. I’m just glad that I ended up getting drafted here.”
Reid coached the Eagles for 14 seasons from 1999-2012. He took them to Super Bowl after being the Falcons 27-10 in the NFC title game after the 2004 season. The Eagles lost 24-21 to the Patriots.
Ironically, the Eagles stand in the way of his second Super Bowl title.
“We have to play well,” Reid said. “These are the two best teams the National Football League playing each other. So, you’ve got to play well.”
Reid doesn’t believe that he’s evolved.
“How am I different from when I won the first Super Bowl?” Reid said. “I don’t know. The team is different. I’m probably similar to what I was what I was in (the last one). I probably have less hair.”
Reid is tough-minded, but has an easygoing style.
“I try to be honest with the guys, and I think that goes a long way,” Reid said. “Work hard, be honest. And it’s a good foundation to start with.”
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