PHOENIX -- The Eagles and Chiefs have a lot of similarities. Coming into the Super Bowl, they have the same record, scored the same amount of points, and even boast a Kelce brother. These clubs also were central figures in what was one of the more seismic offseasons in recent memory last year. Both were involved in blockbuster trades surrounding All-Pro caliber wide receivers, but that's where their paths diverged.
Right after the new league year had come along, Kansas City decided to trade away speedster Tyreek Hill to the Miami Dolphins after not being able to come to terms on a new contract. Throughout his tenure, Hill had been a master chess piece in Andy Reid's offense and his superhuman speed gave the Chiefs one of the deadliest weapons that the NFL had to offer. Meanwhile, Philadelphia was on the other side of the coin, trading for a star pass catcher, as they agreed to an NFL Draft day deal that brought aboard former Titans receiver A.J. Brown.
So, on one hand, you had one team moving on from its No. 1 receiver while the other brought one into the fold, and each of these offenses were instantly changed.
"Tyreek is unique," said Chiefs head coach Andy Reid from his Opening Night podium on Monday. "He has unique speed and ability, balance, quickness. He showed that in Miami which I'm happy for. However, we've got other guys that have skill too. So what we try to do is exploit what they do best. I've got a quarterback that understands that and loves that. He embraces it and he's also very good, so that helps too."
Instead of chucking the football the length of the field as they did with Hill, Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs offense opted for a slice-and-dice approach that incorporated more tight ends and running backs in the passing game. As you may expect, the K.C. quarterback made the change with ease. This season, Mahomes' 7.24 air yards per attempt is the lowest of his career, which was largely due to the quick throws he was tasked with. He led the league in EPA on dropbacks with under 2.5 seconds to throw. Mahomes also tied Y.A. Tittle for the NFL record with 28 passing touchdowns to running backs and tight ends.
As Mahomes and company reshaped their offense to highlight more of a short game, the Eagles found themselves thriving through the air with the addition of A.J. Brown, who proceeded to break the franchise's single-season receiving yards record.
His arrival helped Jalen Hurts take a substantial leap as a passer. The addition of Brown coincides with Hurts seeing his passer rating jump from 84.7 in 2021 (26th in the NFL) to 100.6 (5th) this season. Specifically, Hurts and Brown have been dialed in on throws down the field. Hurts ranked first in the NFL in passing touchdowns (10) and passer rating (123.4) on passes 25 or more yards down the field. Brown has been the main beneficiary of that, catching seven of those scores.
"It's said that good quarterbacks make good receivers and vice versa and that's the truth," Eagles coach Nick Sirianni said Monday of his duo. "Jalen's got some great players around him to be able to distribute the ball. What's hard is if they want to try and take away A.J. then they leave DaVonta [Smith] one-on-one or Dallas [Goedert] one-on-one and vice versa. It's always nice when you have a one-on-one to be able to say, 'Hey, I'm going to take this matchup out there.' A.J. and DaVonta can definitely do that and so A.J. has meant a lot to this offense."
Now, these alterations to their respective offenses will be put to the test one last time this season and whoever has adapted the best will likely be hoisting a Lombardi Trophy in a week's time.