By: Sam Fretto
The Philadelphia Eagles dominated the San Francisco 49ers this past Sunday by a score of 31-7. Later that night, the Kansas City Chiefs finally took down the Cincinnati Bengals, 23-20, in a close and controversial game. Super Bowl 57, hosted in Arizona, is now set, the Kansas City Chiefs vs the Philadelphia Eagles. These two teams have played just 9 total times in their entire existence yet they are so connected.
The Super Bowl will feature the two number 1 seeds of this playoffs, along with the top 2 favorites to win the NFL MVP, Patrick Mahomes and Jalen Hurts. This is also the first time two brothers will square off in the Super Bowl as Eagles center Jason Kelce and Chiefs TE Travis Kelce will both be playing in the game. Eagles HC Nick Siriani started his NFL coaching career with the Kansas City Chiefs in 2009 and moved up the ranks. The biggest connection between these two teams though is Andy Reid. Reid was the head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles from 1999 to 2012, he led them to one Super Bowl, which he did not win. He now looks to lead the Kansas City Chiefs past his former team to win his second career Super Bowl.
The Eagles ran through the playoffs to make their trip to the Super Bowl by taking care of the New York Giants easily 38-7 in the Divisional Round and then beating the San Francisco 49ers by just a touchdown less, 31-7. The game was over once the 49ers had to go to their 4th string QB Josh Johnson. Brock Purdy early in the game got hit on the elbow throwing the ball and had to be taken out. Josh Johnson came in and he didn’t play that well in the limited playing time he got. Unfortunately, he would come out of the game with a concussion. 4 QBs for the 49ers, all with injuries. Brock Purdy would have to come back in. The 49ers literally couldn’t throw the ball due to Brock Purdy having a torn UCL. The 49ers would pass the ball just once after the 9-minute mark of the 3rd quarter.
The AFC Championship game was a bit more controversial though. All week long, Cincinnati was talking like they won the Super Bowl. Fans were calling Arrowhead, home of the Chiefs, Burrowhead. The Cincinnati mayor did a paternity test to prove Joe Burrow was the father of Patrick Mahomes. The Chiefs had unlimited bulletin board material. The game was lower scoring and turnover-filled by both of these QBs’ standards as Joe Burrow threw 2 interceptions and Patrick Mahomes had a costly turnover late in the game trying to scramble out of the pocket to make a play.
Ultimately the deciding factor of this game was the referees’ questionable calls. Late in the game, the refs decided to give the Chiefs a do-over on a 3rd down that they did not convert because the refs tried to blow the play dead but didn’t. They then called a very questionable intentional grounding call on the Bengals because Joe Burrow was hit as he released the ball and the ball didn’t fully make it to the spot Burrow intended but there was a target in the area. On the next drive, the Mahomes had a similar thing happen but no intentional grounding was called. The last big call was one that put the Chiefs into field goal range. Patrick Mahomes scrambled right out of the pocket with time ticking off the clock, and he would get to the sideline and out of bounds, but LB Joseph Ossai would get a penalty for a late hit on Patrick Mahomes. He would get flagged for unnecessary roughness. A brutal penalty at that point in the game, but it was clear that Mahomes sold that hit and flopped a bit. This would move the Chiefs to the Cincinnati 27 and the 45-yard field goal by Harrison Butker was good. 23-20 and the Chiefs will be going to their 3rd Super Bowl in 4 years.
These are the best teams in the NFL and they rightfully represent their team conference in the Super Bowl. I have a feeling this is going to be a high-scoring game. The last time the Eagles made the Super Bowl they put on an instant classic going against the GOAT, Tom Brady. Backup QB and now Philadelphia legend Nick Foles somehow outdueled him and the Eagles won 41-33. I am expecting more or less the same from this game, but with the Chiefs coming out on top.
The reason I did not take the Chiefs to win the AFCCG last week was due to Patrick Mahomes’ ankle injury. People weren’t sure how it was going to affect him in the game, and it seemed as though it didn’t affect him at all. With a week off to prepare for this game, I expect him to be nearly 100%, and when he is 100% healthy, he’s the best QB in the NFL.
As for the Eagles, they are undeniable, they have probably the most well-rounded team in the NFL and you would have to look long and hard to find a hole on their team. Their offense is a well-oiled machine and their defense is one of the better ones in the NFL. However, I think it will be no match for the best QB in the NFL. Patrick Mahomes will come out in this game firing and show people why he’s the best QB in the NFL and is going to be the best QB of this generation. I’m not going to say this game is a must-win for Mahomes if he wants to be considered an all-time great at just 27 years old, but it would benefit him to win this game.
My prediction: Chiefs 38 – Eagles 35.