LAS VEGAS – The NFL has a new dynasty to contend with. And it comes with all the trappings we're familiar with that are part of such reigns. So, yes, the Kansas City Chiefs have it all right now.
They just defeated the San Francisco 49ers, 25-22 in overtime, to claim the Super Bowl LVII crown.
It's their second consecutive championship. And it's their third championship in five years.
Chiefs Have It All To Keep Winning
These Chiefs are so familiar with Super Bowl success now that some of their players have a "Super Bowl routine," as quarterback Patrick Mahomes mentioned recently.
But that's not where winning the Super Bowl ends.
That's just the outcome.
The Chiefs are the NFL's newest dynasty because of Mahomes, and coach Andy Reid, and an indomitable will that is not found with too many other teams, no matter how good the talent on their roster.
"We have the best quarterback in the league," tight end Travis Kelce announced late Sunday after he watched Mahomes lead consecutive scoring drives at the end of regulation (to tie it) and overtime (to win it).
"We got the best offensive mind in the league. And we got the most determination out of any team in the NFL, and you saw all of that today, man."
Travis Kelce Speaks Facts About Chiefs
Go ahead. Argue with him.
It's arguing with someone in possession of the facts. The Chiefs put themselves in position to raise their second consecutive Lombardi Trophy after beating the Miami Dolphins, the Buffalo Bills and the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC playoffs.
The last two of those victories came on the road.
Then they beat a San Francisco team that, on paper, seemed more complete. More talented. There's a reason the 49ers were favorites in this game.
And, yet, the Chiefs erased a 10-0 deficit. Then they erased a 16-13 deficit in the fourth quarter. And erased a 19-16 deficit with only 1:56 left in regulation.
The Chiefs also fell behind in overtime when the 49ers kicked a field goal to culminate the extra period's first possession.
Then the Chiefs got the ball for the first time in overtime. And during the extended television timeout after the kickoff, as the Chiefs waited to start their only overtime drive, Mahomes delivered a message to his teammates.
"He was like, 'Come on, we're going to go score,' and that was it," receiver Rashee Rice said.
Patrick Mahomes Delivers In Crunch Time
Mahomes delivered the game-winning 3 yard touchdown pass to Mecole Hardman. He finished with 333 passing yards and 2 TD passes. And the cynics will say it was all dink and dunk and nothing dynamic.
Go ahead and feel better about that if you must. Mahomes, meanwhile, probably feels pretty good about taking home the Super Bowl MVP trophy for the third time in his career.
Mahomes is on a mission now, folks. He's not just chasing Super Bowl titles. He's chasing Tom Brady's record of seven Super Bowl titles.
Mahomes has three at age 28. And minutes after winning this one, he was thinking of the next one.
"I'm going to celebrate tonight, I'm going to celebrate at the parade," he said. "And I'm going to do whatever I can to be back at this game next year, trying to go for that three-peat.
"It's an ongoing thing in the NFL. I think Tom [Brady] said it best: Once you win that championship, you have those parades, and you get those rings, you're not the champ anymore. You have to come back with that same mentality. I learned from guys like that – I think the greatest of all time at the top of the level.
"That's my mindset. I'm going to celebrate with my guys for how we've done this. But then we're going to work our way to get back to this game next year."
Chiefs Easy For Others To Hate
That's not good news for the rest of the NFL. Nobody outside Kansas City is going to like that. In fact, the Chiefs are soon going to cross over into territory the Patriots occupied for years in that everyone is going to start hating them.
Because, in part, they are kind of easy to hate in some respects.
Kelce has a pop star girlfriend. Mahomes has a wife in the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue. And Reid eats as many burgers and "noogies" as he wants and still comes up with winning game plans.
All that is reason enough to feel a certain way about the Chiefs. But, you see, they're also annoying in that they win when they have no apparent right to do so.
They lost Tyreek Hill to the Dolphins two seasons ago. Hill wanted to stay, but he wanted to become the highest-paid receiver in the NFL more. So he left.
The Chiefs plugged the void with middling receivers who had some, but not a lot of success elsewhere – Marquez Valdes-Scantling, JuJu Smith-Schuster, guys like that.
And they won the Super Bowl without the NFL's most dynamic receiver last year.
This year, the Chiefs both lost their offensive tackles. And the middling receiver corps broke up.
So the Chiefs led the NFL in dropped passes. And you saw how left tackle Donovan Smith and right tackle Jawaan Taylor struggled throughout the season – sometimes having to jump the snap count to have any prayer of protecting Mahomes.
And what happened despite these obvious flaws?
The Chiefs won it all anyway.
Are they serious?
Chiefs ‘Know’ How To Win
The vexing thing is the Chiefs know their flaws. And overcome them anyway. They actually brag about it among themselves.
Take Kelce did so in a speech to his teammates Saturday night. It was about how everyone considered them underdogs. And that no one gave them a chance. But ...
"That we have the formula," Kelce said. "That we know how to go and get it. And they didn't. That being said, I got nothing but respect for the 49ers. They showed a lot more than even I imagined.
"There will be a lot of words being thrown around but that team is every bit as deserving as we were. I got a lot of respect for them, their coaches and how they go about their business."
The 49ers indeed deserve respect. This is their second Super Bowl in five years. They've lost both to the Chiefs.
It's got to be painful being so good but not good enough to overcome the NFL's newest dynasty.
"It hurts," Niners running back Christian McCaffrey said. "It hurts deep."