On Sunday night, the NFL played its 285th and final game of the 2023 season. And the best was truly saved for last. It took nearly 75 minutes, but in the end, the Kansas City Chiefs recorded a 25-22 win over the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LVIII.
A lot of Super Bowls have been forgotten over time, but this one won't, for several reasons. For one, this game was significant from a historical perspective. The Chiefs became the first team in 19 years to repeat as champions. Patriots Mahomes joined Tom Brady and Joe Montana as the only players with three Super Bowl MVP awards. Andy Reid joined Bill Belichick, Chuck Noll, Bill Walsh and Joe Gibbs as the only head coaches to win three Super Bowls.
History aside, this was just a crazy night and game. Let's review the five things we'll remember most about Super Bowl LVIII.
Congrats, you just watched the longest Super Bowl ever! This game was much longer than the Super Bowl's only other overtime matchup, which ended when James White's game-winning touchdown gave the Patriots the win over Atlanta in Super Bowl LI with 11:02 left in overtime. This was the seventh-longest game in NFL history, a game that lasted 74 minutes and 57 seconds.
Patrick Mahomes magic
It's fitting that Mahomes is the first quarterback since Brady to win back-to-back Super Bowls. Watching Mahomes is eerily similar to watching Brady in that you just expect him to deliver in crunch time, and he didn't disappoint Sunday night.
It wasn't pretty early, but Mahomes engineered the Chiefs' offense to five scoring drives in the second half, including the game-tying drive to force overtime and a 13-play, 75-yard game-winning drive in overtime.
Mahomes threw for 333 yards (his most in a Super Bowl), but he did just as much damage with his legs. In overtime, he picked up eight yards on a fourth-and-1 play. His 19-yard run six plays later helped set up his game-winning touchdown pass to Mecole Hardman.
The Chiefs are the new dynasty, and as Sunday only reinforced, Mahomes is still the NFL's best player.
OK, either you loved this storyline, or you hated it. Either way, you will remember Swift and her presence during the 2023 season, including during Super Bowl LVIII. The music star and significant other of Chiefs tight end travis Kelce drew one of the biggest cheers Sunday night when she .
For a while, it appeared that Swift's first Super Bowl experience would be a somber one. But in the end, Swift capped a Chiefs win with a celebratory kiss.
Another missed opportunity for the 49ers
Give the 49ers credit for battling, but you can't ignore the fact that San Francisco gave up another double-digit lead to the Chiefs in a Super Bowl. Like Super Bowl LIV, the 49ers watched a 10-point lead evaporate into thin air.
Really, the 49ers had a chance to distance themselves from the Chiefs in the first half, but weren't able to. They paid for it in the second half when Mahomes and Co. started to warm up and Kansas City's defense applied more pressure on Brock Purdy, who had his moments but wasn't good enough on the game's biggest stage.
For all their miscues (including a muffed punt late in the third quarter that set up a Chiefs touchdown), the 49ers put together scoring drives late in the fourth quarter and in overtime. But both drives ended in field goals that gave the Chiefs an opportunity to respond. Kansas City responded both times.
One of the biggest miscues occurred on the 49ers' final offensive play, which was an incomplete pass after Chris Jones knocked down Purdy's hurried pass. Jones told ESPN afterwards that the 49ers messed up on the play, as he was not blocked.
In defeat, the 49ers received solid efforts from Christian McCaffrey, Jauan Jennings, Fred Warner, Arik Armstead, Javon Hargrave and Jake Moody. McCaffrey, who had 80 rushing and receiving yards each along with a touchdown catch, likely would have won MVP had the 49ers won the game.
Mahomes was a big reason why the 49ers lost their second Super Bowl in five years to the Chiefs. But injuries were undoubtedly a factor, too.
San Francisco lost a key member of its defense when linebacker Dre Greenlaw left the game for good after injuring his Achilles with 9:26 left in the first half. Greenlaw's injury, which occurred as he was running onto the field, occurred with the 49ers leading 3-0. With Greenlaw out, the Chiefs took advantage, especially Mahomes, who made several big plays with his legs in the middle of San Francisco's defense.
Greenlaw wasn't the only 49ers starter to get injured during Sunday's game. Deebo Samuel played most of the second half with a hamstring injury. Guard Jon Feliciano left the game with an injury late in the third quarter. Strong safety Ji'Ayir Brown got hurt when he knocked Kelce out of bounds on a touchdown saving tackle with 10 seconds left in regulation. Tight end George Kittle jogged into the locker room during the first possession of overtime after injuring his shoulder. Kittle returned to the game, but he clearly wasn't himself.
Kansas City Chiefs Super Bowl championship gear now available
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