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The Kansas City Chiefs needed almost a full overtime period to do it, but they have cemented themselves as the NFL’s latest dynasty with back-to-back Super Bowl victories. We haven’t seen that since the New England Patriots’ last dynastic run in 2003 and 2004.
On Sunday, the Chiefs fell behind the San Francisco 49ers early with some uncharacteristic mistakes. Like true champions, they found a way to pull out a victory despite a less-than-ideal performance, winning their third Super Bowl in five years.
Head coach Andy Reid’s offense eventually wore down the 49ers in overtime, and the defense didn’t allow San Francisco to build an insurmountable lead at any point in the game.
The Chiefs’ reign isn’t going anywhere until Reid, Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce say it’s done. The team’s winning formula has changed over the past half-decade, but those three have led the way throughout this dynastic run.
In 2019, the Chiefs won Super Bowl LIV with a balanced team that ranked in the top seven in both points scored and points allowed. Last year, they claimed the title with the league’s best offense and a middling defense that ranked outside the top 10 in points and yards allowed.
Throughout the 2023 regular season, Kansas City’s 15th-ranked scoring offense faced criticism for its lack of explosive plays and inefficiency. Yet the Chiefs scored at least 25 points in three of their four playoff games en route to another Lombardi Trophy.
The Chiefs’ ability to change their winning blueprint year to year and advance to at least the AFC Championship Game is among the reasons why they’re on such an incredible run. This year, they had to win road playoff games en route to the Super Bowl, which was a first for them with Mahomes under center.
The Chiefs’ Super Bowl win tested their championship mettle, but they overcame self-inflicted wounds and obstacles along the way.
Running back Isiah Pacheco had a costly fumble inside the 49ers’ 10-yard line in the first quarter. Afterward, Kelce seemed upset with Reid’s play-calling.
Cornerback L’Jarius Sneed drew a costly unnecessary roughness penalty two plays before San Francisco scored its first touchdown. Two-time Pro Bowl center Creed Humphrey had a couple of low snaps that hurt the team’s offensive rhythm.
Even Mahomes seemed out of sorts in the first half and had a heated discussion with rookie wide receiver Rashee Rice late in the fourth quarter.
Despite all of those errors and the frustration on the Chiefs’ sideline, they remained within striking distance of the lead and then delivered the knockout blow late in overtime.
Regardless of the circumstances, you cannot count out the Chiefs in any situation. In fact, they’re even accustomed to comeback wins on the biggest stage.
As was the case in his first three Super Bowl appearances, Mahomes trailed by 10-plus points against the Niners on Sunday. He’s unflappable in those moments when the opponent forces him to dig deep for a victory.
At just 28 years old, Mahomes has won MVP in all three of his Super Bowl victories, and he’s a two-time league MVP. He has a chance to become the NFL’s most accomplished quarterback if he plays into his late 30s or 40s like seven-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady.
Unlike Mahomes, Reid and Kelce are past their prime years, but they’re future Hall of Famers who still operate at a high level.
Leading up to Super Bowl LVIII, many wondered if Reid would ride off into the sunset after a victory. He sat down with CBS Sports’ Bill Cowher and expressed that he’s not ready to walk away from the game.
“I get asked that,” Reid said about retirement. “I’m good. I feel great. They say it just hits you, (but) it hasn’t hit me. That’s the best answer I can give. And you went through it. I have to ask you that question. How did you know?”
In a down year for the Chiefs offense, Reid used multiple tight ends, featured Rice in the passing game and leaned on the run game to make the most out of a unit that didn’t have any stars aside from Kelce.
Pacheco, who turns 25 years old in March, and Rice, a 23-year-old rookie, have bright futures. Reid lost an electric receiver in Tyreek Hill two years ago, but he’s developed a few young playmakers to keep the Chiefs offense rolling around Mahomes.
At the top of the coaching hierarchy, Reid may be having too much fun to retire. As the league’s best coach-quarterback tandem, Reid and Mahomes will continue to pick apart defenses for the foreseeable future.
And for all of the talk about Kelce’s age and the dip in his production this season, he didn’t look like a 34-year-old tight end who lost a step in the playoffs. After Kelce failed to eclipse 1,000 receiving yards in a season for the first since 2015, he averaged 88.8 receiving yards per contest and scored three touchdowns in the Chiefs’ playoff run.
On Sunday, Kelce went into the locker room at halftime with just one catch for one yard. He then made key play after key play in the second half, including a crucial catch in overtime to position Kansas City for the victory.
Kelce may not be around for much longer, but he’s still arguably the best at his position as a big-game pass-catcher. In the AFC Championship Game against the Baltimore Ravens, he surpassed Hall of Famer Jerry Rice to become the all-time leader in postseason receptions (165).
Mahomes, Kelce and Reid will go down in NFL history as an iconic trio. With the rings, the records and the Hall of Fame level of production, no one can argue against their legendary statuses. As long as all three remain active in Kansas City, the road to a Lombardi Trophy will go through them.
As the rest of the NFL counts the days until Reid and Kelce retire, they continue to count rings with Mahomes as the league’s gold standard.
Maurice Moton covers the NFL for Bleacher Report. You can follow him on Twitter @MoeMoton.