Mahomes flips the script. Williams emerges from the shadows. And Big Andy finally gets over the hump. Breakout Live breaks down the top storylines from Super Bowl 54.
It’s not how you start; it’s how you finish.
If you only watched the final eight and a half minutes of the Super Bowl, you would have a radically different perspective of the game than anyone who watched the previous 3+ quarters. When a bungled Mahomes pass was intercepted at the 11:47 mark of the fourth quarter, the 49ers took the field with a 10-point lead and a chance to grind out a clock-draining, soul-stealing, ball-control possession they’ve come to master.
Up to that point, Jimmy Garoppolo had gone an exceptional 17-20 (85% completion percentage) for 183 yards and a TD, to go along with an interception. Mahomes, on the other sideline, looked like the upstart who wasn’t quite ready for the big stage. He was 18-29 for 171 yards and two interceptions, the second of which had just ended a promising drive deep in Niners territory.
That’s when everything changed. The Niners were forced to punt without gaining a single first down, and Garoppolo ended up finishing the game 3-11 with 36 yards and an INT. Making matters worse, the San Fran run game failed to take control, giving Mahomes and the Chiefs multiple possessions to change their fate.
And they did just that. The Chiefs put three touchdowns on the board in the final 8:33 of the game. Mahomes went 8-12 for 115 yards and 2 TDs during that critical stretch, earning MVP honors and cementing himself as the best young quarterback in the game.
Damien Williams does his best Timmy Smith impression.
In Super Bowl XXII, Timmy Smith of the Washington Redskins set a Super Bowl rushing record in his first career start, gaining 204 yards and scoring 2 touchdowns. This was a rookie who had only run for 126 yards in 7 games all season.
Damien Williams isn’t exactly the unknown Smith was, having played six seasons as a pro. However, Williams was sparingly used in his first five seasons, and in 6 of the 11 games he played in 2019, Williams only had single-digit rushing attempts. He averaged a paltry 45 yards-per-game for the season.
But in Super Bowl LIV, Damien Williams went off for 104 yards on 17 rushes (a whopping 6.1 yards-per-carry) and scored one TD rushing and one receiving. His catch and goal-line lunge by the narrowest of margins put the Chiefs ahead, and his 38-yard scamper for a TD with 1:12 left sealed the game. For many, Williams was the real MVP.
Andy Reid finally gets it done.
After 21 seasons as an NFL head coach, Andy Reid is finally a Super Bowl champion. He can finally leave the discussion of the many great head coaches in major sports history who just couldn’t get over the hump and win a title. Decades of coming up short are now over.
Despite never winning a title over his first 20 seasons as an NFL head coach, Andy Reid is nonetheless regarded as one of the most innovative minds to ever lead an NFL team. He’s currently 7th all-time on the wins list and will almost certainly finish his coaching career in the top 5, where he will join the likes of Don Shula, George Halas, Bill Belichick and Tom Landry. Coincidentally, the man he passed this season to pull into 7th place, Marty Schottenheimer, was also a great Chiefs’ head coach who is widely known for never winning the big game.
Andy Reid took a chance drafting a “system” quarterback out of college and then engineering the perfect offense for him to succeed. And Patrick Mahomes rewarded him with the title many argued he was too flawed to ever achieve.
Mahomes adds another chapter to Black History Month.
At just 24, Patrick Mahomes, became the youngest quarterback to be named MVP of a Super Bowl. In addition, Mahomes became the third black quarterback in NFL history to win a Super Bowl. Doug Williams of the Washington Redskins did it first, coming off the bench to toss five TDs in a demolition of the Broncos. Russell Wilson of the Seahawks also beat the Broncos in a rout.
It’s probably a good thing that most young people don’t consider the significance of a black quarterback leading his team to a championship, because to most young people a successful black quarterback doesn’t seem out of the ordinary. But it wasn’t long ago that black athletes rarely got the opportunity to quarterback in the NFL because of the bigoted belief they didn’t have the intellectual capacity to handle the position.
Patrick Mahomes put another nail in that coffin, and it probably won’t be the last time he drops the hammer.