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With seconds to go, Chiefs kick a field goal to beat the Eagles in the Super Bowl

A MARTÍNEZ, HOST:

For the second time in four years, the Kansas City Chiefs are Super Bowl champions.

ASMA KHALID, HOST:

Last night in Glendale, Ariz., in a stadium that looks like a grounded spaceship, Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes put on his latest otherworldly performance. Fighting off the pain of a sprained ankle, he led the Chiefs to a second half comeback and a nail-biting 38-35 win over the Philadelphia Eagles.

MARTÍNEZ: NPR sports correspondent Tom Goldman is here. Tom, since I know all the sports cliches, I'm going to start with one. It was a tale of two halves.

TOM GOLDMAN, BYLINE: That's a good one, A. Yeah. First half, the Eagles were the dominant team they'd been all season, led by their great, young quarterback, Jalen Hurts and a strong defense. They went out to a 10-point lead at halftime. Now, particularly worrying for Kansas City late in the half, Quarterback Patrick Mahomes aggravated that high ankle sprain he suffered earlier in the playoffs. So as Rihanna took the halftime stage, high above the field - and kudos to her for performing so well. Obviously, she trusted the wires holding up her platform. But while she was singing, Chiefs head coach Andy Reid told the NFL Network he was worrying about that ankle.

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ANDY REID: He goes in at halftime, and I'm going, are you OK? He goes - you know, can you do this? I can do everything. Just leave me alone and let me go play.

GOLDMAN: And he sure did. He led the Chiefs to three second-half touchdowns and the drive that resulted in the winning field goal by Kansas City with eight seconds left. That drive, of course, included Mahomes' gutty 26-yard run up the middle of the field on that painful ankle.

MARTÍNEZ: And Mahomes had help from his friends, too.

GOLDMAN: He sure did. He couldn't have done it without the great work by his running backs, his wide receivers, his stellar tight end, Travis Kelce, and especially his offensive line. We love to give those offensive linemen publicity. Those five big guys paid to protect Mahomes did just that. One of the stories going into the game was Philly's fierce pass rush. And Mahomes noted afterwards how the Chiefs' offensive linemen had heard that story over and over.

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PATRICK MAHOMES: I think those guys got caught up with getting asked every single week what they were going to do against this defensive line. And they took it as a challenge, and they responded. And we told them early in the week - I said, if y'all play great, we'll win this football game. And they did.

GOLDMAN: And, A, as great as they were, Mahomes got the hardware. He won the Super Bowl MVP award to go with his second league MVP award that he won last week. And, you know, this is solidifying the belief that Mahomes, only 27 years old, already is among the greats.

MARTÍNEZ: And Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts had a great game. Unfortunately, it was on a loss.

GOLDMAN: Yeah, he did. His coach, Nick Sirianni, said Hurts played the best game since the two have been together the last couple of years. Hurts ran for 70 yards and three rushing touchdowns, over 300 yards passing and one passing TD. Great leadership, smart decision-making with one big boo-boo in the second quarter - Hurts fumbled. The Chiefs scooped it up and scored a defensive touchdown. But really both quarterbacks were outstanding. They not only made history as the first two Black quarterbacks to play against each other in a Super Bowl, they made it an exciting game.

MARTÍNEZ: And then with history also being made on the halftime show stage. I mean, this one seems to have lived up to the hype.

GOLDMAN: History. It was confirmed that Rihanna was the first known pregnant halftime performer at a Super Bowl. But, yeah, this one was very good. The expectations for Super Bowls are so absurd - the buildup for two weeks, then game day with hours of pre-game stuff, the high octane mix of commercialism and militarism. And then finally, you got a football game to play, and it often doesn't rise above the hype. But this one did.

MARTÍNEZ: NPR sports correspondent Tom Goldman. Tom, thanks.

GOLDMAN: You're welcome. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

A Martínez is one of the hosts of Morning Edition and Up First. He came to NPR in 2021 and is based out of NPR West.
Tom Goldman is NPR's sports correspondent. His reports can be heard throughout NPR's news programming, including Morning Edition and All Things Considered, and on NPR.org.