The lead up to the Super Bowl

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A crying eagle flying through a cloudy sky carries a deflated football in its talon.
The eagle did not land it, folks.  Clker-Free-Vector-Images via Pixabay, manipulated by Lee Lim

Philadelphia and Kansas City took their two impressive season track records head-to-head

The Super Bowl is a big deal. The Super Bowl always draws millions of viewers each year from the United States and from around the world. This year’s Super Bowl teams included the Philadelphia Eagles who won the National Football Conference (NFC), and the Kansas City Chiefs who won the American Football Conference (AFC).  

After 18 long weeks, the National Football League (NFL) finally got down to its last two competitors, however it’s important to highlight the journey that both teams have experienced throughout the season and what got them to this point. The Philadelphia Eagles ended their season with a record of 14 wins and 3 losses. The Eagles’ first loss of the season came in week 10 when the Washington Commanders beat them 32-21.  

Philadelphia also lost to the Dallas Cowboys in week 16 at 40-34, and to the New Orleans Saints 20-10 in week 17. The team has managed to stay relatively healthy this season, which has allowed the team to have consistent performances throughout the season. The starting quarterback for the Eagles, Jalen Hurts, was selected in the second round and was the 53rd pick overall in the 2020 NFL draft. Hurts played for Alabama from 2016-2018, and then finished off his college experience playing for Oklahoma in his last year. This will be Hurts’ first time playing in the Super Bowl. If Hurts was nervous about playing in the playoffs, he never showed it.  

The Eagles started their playoff run in the divisional round where they beat the New York Giants 38-7. They then went on to beat the San Francisco 49ers 31-7 in the NFC Championship. The Eagles organization has only won the Super Bowl once in their history, back in 2017 after defeating Tom Brady and the New England Patriots.  

The Kansas City Chiefs also finished the season with a record of 14 wins and 3 losses. The losses came in week three against the Indianapolis Colts, where they lost 20-17. They also lost 24-20 in week six to the Buffalo Bills, and 27-24 in week 13 to the Cincinnati Bengals. Kansas City remained healthy throughout the regular season, however key players on the team did develop lingering injuries.  

These injuries included star tight end Travis Kelce who is suffering from a back injury. Superstar quarterback Patrick Mahomes was also recovering from an ankle sprain, and appeared to be in discomfort during the Chiefs’ win against the Bengals in the AFC Championship round. Mahomes was selected in the first round, and 10th overall in the 2017 draft by the Kansas City Chiefs.  

Mahomes committed to playing college football at Texas Tech University. In 2020, Mahomes won his first ever Super Bowl, and had the opportunity to win his second. The Kansas City Chiefs have won the Super Bowl twice in their organization’s history, in 1970 and 2020. The Chiefs’ road to the Super Bowl was tougher and with much closer competition than the Eagles’ road.  

Kansas City played the Jaguars in the divisional round of the playoffs where they beat the Jaguars 27-20. The Chiefs then played the Bengals in the AFC Championship which was a down-to-the-wire game where they were able to put up a field goal in the last moments to win 23-20. Going into the Super Bowl, both teams truly held the best record in their respective league.  

The 2023 Super Bowl saw a few firsts for the game before it had even been played. It was the first time that two Black quarterbacks were slotted to face off against each other. The NFL has only seen three Black starting quarterbacks win a Super Bowl in the game’s history. Another first was that the Kelce brothers were the first brothers to compete against each other in the Super Bowl. Jason Kelce is a centre for the Eagles and his younger brother Travis is a tight end for the Chiefs. Although the brothers are proud of each other’s success, they remain each other’s greatest competition. In response to Jason’s 2018 Super Bowl win, Travis told Sports Illustrated “The happiest I’ve ever been for him was seeing him win the Super Bowl and seeing how crazy he went on the field.”  

The Super Bowl this year was thrilling from start to finish. In the moments leading up to the end of the first half, Mahomes reinjured his ankle. This ultimately left Chiefs fans concerned as the Chiefs trailed 17-7 going into the second half. Mahomes played on his injured foot, however, and finished the game for the Chiefs.  

The Chiefs made a comeback in the fourth quarter by scoring 17 points which led to a 38-35 victory for the Chiefs in the Super Bowl. Patrick Mahomes was named Super Bowl MVP which was the first time since 1999 that a quarterback from the winning team has won the MVP honour for the Super Bowl.  

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