Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes named Super Bowl LVIII MVP
Published: Feb 11, 2024 at 11:09 PMEric Edholm
Lead Draft Writer
The Kansas City Chiefs won their third Super Bowl championship in the past five years on Sunday in thrilling fashion at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, and for a third time in the past five years Patrick Mahomes is your MVP.
Mahomes hit Mecole Hardman on a 3-yard touchdown pass in overtime to vault the Chiefs past the San Francisco 49ers 25-22 in Super Bowl LVIII.
With Joe Montana in Allegiant Stadium, watching his beloved Niners, Mahomes stole the show. He had only 9 passing yards after the first quarter but finished with 333 for the game, completing 34 of 46 passes with two touchdowns and one interception. As a fitting way to cap his season, Mahomes also led the Chiefs in rushing with 66 yards on nine runs, including three massive conversions with his legs in the last two minutes of regulation and overtime.
All told, Mahomes accounted for 399 of the Chiefs’ 455 yards in the Super Bowl. That’s the definition of dragging your team over the finish line.
The Chiefs were not as dominant this season as in past ones. The cracks in the armor looked different than before. Kansas City was listed as the underdog for their final three playoff games.
“Yeah, I just know that the Kansas City Chiefs are never underdogs,” Mahomes said after the game on the CBS broadcast. “Just know that.”
His third Super Bowl MVP Award, quite fittingly, tied Mahomes with Montana for the second-most all-time, behind Tom Brady’s five. Mahomes also became only the third back-to-back Super Bowl MVP, joining two other legends — Bart Starr and Terry Bradshaw.
The Chiefs fell behind 10-0 as the 49ers took the early edge in Super Bowl LVIII. Mahomes was under fire early as the 49ers’ pass rush gave the Chiefs problems. Kansas City punted on three of their first four possessions and fumbled in the red zone when Isiah Pacheco coughed up the Chiefs best chance to score a first-half TD.
“I am going to try and stop getting down 10 points in these and make it easier,” Mahomes joked (Kansas City has trailed by 10 in all three of Mahomes’ Super Bowl wins).
Mahomes led a 58-yard drive at the end of the first half, highlighted by a 52-yard bomb to Hardman, but the Chiefs had to settle for Harrison Butker’s 28-yard field goal after Mahomes was sacked in the red zone. The start of the third quarter was shaky, too, with Mahomes misfiring a pitch to Pacheco for a loss and then throwing an ill-advised interception into heavy coverage on their first possession after halftime.
The Chiefs’ defense kept the game close while the Chiefs’ offense struggled to get cooking, as Travis Kelce had been held to one catch for 1 yard in the first half and was seen ripping into Andy Reid immediately after Pacheco’s fumble.
Butker hit a 57-yarder to make it a 10-6 game in the third quarter, but it was telling that Reid passed up a fourth-and-6 opportunity for Mahomes and the offense at the San Francisco 39-yard line.
After the 49ers forced a three-and-out, bad luck would give Mahomes a jolt. Tommy Townsend’s punt glanced off the foot of the 49ers’ Darrell Luter, giving the ball back to the Chiefs. Mahomes immediately went for the carotid artery on the first play, hitting Marquez Valdes-Scantling for the go-ahead TD at 13-10.
That would kick-start a streak of four straight scoring drives led by Mahomes, and they needed every single one of them to win. The 49ers took the lead at 16-13, having the extra-point blocked, and the two teams traded field goals for the rest of regulation.
Mahomes couldn’t finish off either of the Chiefs’ final two drives in the fourth quarter with TDs, despite driving to the San Francisco 6- and 11-yard lines, respectively, taking a sack on third down on the first one. With 10 seconds left on the clock, the Chiefs tried to hit Kelce on a back-shoulder fade. Reid opted for Butker’s game-tying field goal with six seconds left, instead of giving Mahomes one more chance to win it in regulation.
Mahomes would validate his coach. After the 49ers received the ball first in overtime and kicked a go-ahead field goal, the ball was back in Mahomes’ hands with a chance to win it. Was it going to go any other way?
Right away, the Chiefs faced a fourth-and-1. But Mahomes — like he had earlier in the game on a 22-yard rush — kept the ball on a 6-yard option run to convert. His legs bailed them out once more on the drive, as Mahomes scrambled right up the gut of the 49ers’ defense for 19 yards to put the Chiefs in range for another potential game-tying field goal.
But Mahomes wasn’t about to settle for a tie. Kelce, who finished with nine catches for 93 yards, took a screen for a first down to the San Francisco 3-yard line.
That set up the throw – Mahomes to Hardman – to deliver a third title to Kansas City.
Hardman started the season with the Jets and only returned to Kansas City because of the team’s problems at wide receiver during the season. He might have been the Chiefs’ fourth receiver (a role that had been earmarked once for the inactive Kadarius Toney), but Hardman played a quietly major role in the victory.
That unit wasn’t perfect on Sunday, either. But Mahomes hit eight different receivers, each with two or more receptions, knowing he had no choice but to trust his receivers to deliver at this moment. They didn’t let him down in the end.
Mahomes had already reached heights few 28-year old quarterbacks ever have prior to Sunday. But this win and this performance in clutch time puts him right up there next to Brady, Montana and a handful of the all-time Super Bowl greats.
“Why not?” Valdes-Scantling responded when asked on NFL Network after the game if Mahomes is in the same conversation as Brady after Super Bowl win No. 3. “Look at him. Look at what he’s doing. Six AFC championships … three Super Bowls. He’s just doing it. He’s the best to play this game right now. He’s just willing this team to Super Bowl after Super Bowl.”