Super Bowl through the ages

Super Bowl through the ages

Danielle Joseph, co-sports editor

The Super Bowl. The one night every year when football fans all over the country are glued to their seats cheering, laughing, and celebrating. Sometimes, though, there is also a bit of angst as they watch arguably one of the best football games of the year. 

I was introduced to the sport of football from the moment I was born. I grew  accustomed to cheering on the Chicago Bears every Sunday through the highs and the lows of the team’s season. I remember going to school on Mondays wanting to talk about the Bears’ disastrous or successful game. Eventually, I noticed no one paid as much attention to those regular season games as I did.

 However, when it came to the Super Bowl week, the game was all anyone talked about. 

The morning after Super Bowl Sunday, I could go to school and talk with other students about the game. From the Patriots overcoming a 28-point deficit to beat the Falcons in Super Bowl LI, to the “Philly Special” where Nick Foles, Philadelphia Eagles backup quarterback, led the team to a stunning 41-33 victory over the Patriots. Needless to say, football fans have experienced many stellar victories. 

As I got older, I began to understand the greater cultural implications the Super Bowl has on our society.

 On average, the Super Bowl has over 95 million viewers each year, which ranks it as the second most-watched sporting event in the world, according to Statista. Within the 95 million viewers, 54 percent either host or attend a Super Bowl party, Advantage Solutions reported. This year, the Super Bowl had over 113 million viewers, according to Nielsen’s fast nation data.  

What attracts these large audiences? Well, the Super Bowl has something for everyone. The sports gurus receive an entertaining and competitive game to watch, the music fans get to watch an eventful halftime show, and everyone enjoys the Super Bowl commercials.

Super Bowl LVII featured the Kansas City Chiefs from the American Football Conference (AFC) and the Philadelphia Eagles from the National Football Conference (NFC), resulting in score of 38-35 on February 12th, 2023. The game occurred in Glendale, Arizona at the State Farm Stadium (home to the Arizona Cardinals). 

History was made for both the Eagles and the Chiefs. Eagles center Jason Kelce and Travis Kelce, Chiefs tight end, were the first brothers to face each other in the Super Bowl. Additionally, this was the first Super Bowl where two Black quarterbacks, Patrick Mahomes from the Chiefs and Jalen Hurts from the Eagles, went head to head. These quarterbacks will arguably bec0me the faces of the National Football League (NFL) in years to come. Mahomes made his third Super Bowl appearance after a win in Super Bowl LIV against the San Francisco 49ers. Hurts made his first Super Bowl appearance, sending the Eagles back to the Super Bowl after their Super Bowl LII win with backup quarterback Foles. Mahomes and Hurts both stepped up when their teams needed them the most. Mahomes won the Most Valuable Player (MVP) award, while Hurts placed second in MVP voting. 

Red Kingdom 

 In nail biting fashion, the Kansas City Chiefs defeated the Philadelphia Eagles, 38-35, making Mahomes the only quarterback in the National Football League (NFL) to win the Most Valuable Player (MVP) award and win the Super Bowl in the same season. 

The game began with a strong start by both offenses, each putting up seven points on the scoreboard during their first offensive drives. However, both defenses stepped up to conclude the first quarter with a tied score, 7-7. 

The Eagles soared their way through the second quarter, scoring 17 points offensively and holding the Chiefs offense to zero points. The only mistake by the Eagles was a fumble by Hurts, on a third and five, which was recovered by Chiefs linebacker Nick Bolton for a defensive touchdown return. However, Hurts put that fumble behind him as he came out on the next drive with three runs, including a rushing touchdown, to put the Eagles ahead 21-14. 

As everything seemed to be going right for the Eagles, the opposite was true for the Chiefs as Mahomes went down with 1:44 to go in the first half from a nasty tackle by Eagles linebacker T.J. Edwards. The tackle irritated Mahomes’ ankle, already injured during the American National Conference divisional round against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Mahomes was seen limping to the sideline as the Eagles offense marched downfield to put up three more unanswered points to extend their lead to ten points at half. 

The primary reason the Eagles were so successful in the first half was because of the aggressiveness of Head Coach Nick Sirianni. On almost every fourth down scenario, Sirianni would leave the offense on the field and the offense was able to convert every time because of the athletic ability of Hurts. On fourth down conversions, the ball was in Hurts’ hands almost every time and he would pull through by securing the first down for the Eagles, especially throughout the first half, where Hurts dominated on the ground, even setting a Super Bowl record for the most rushing touchdowns by a quarterback (3). 

While the first half was all Eagles, the game virtually flipped in the second half as the Chiefs took command on both sides of the ball. The Chiefs established a run game with Isiah Pacheco, Chiefs’ rookie running back, leading the way with 76 yards on the ground and in the air. However, the major x-factor in the Chiefs’ ability to establish control in the game was their offensive line. The Eagles defensive line set a franchise record of 78 sacks this year and the fact that the Chiefs offensive line didn’t give up a single sack was impressive. It also alludes to the ability of Mahomes to scramble out of the pocket, which he did on multiple occasions despite his injured ankle. 

As the third quarter came to a close, the Chiefs were able to cut the Eagles lead down to six points. Once the fourth quarter began there was no answer for the Eagles defensively to combat the aggressiveness and fast tempo of the Chiefs’ offense. Even though Travis Kelce, Chiefs tight end, was a factor all game, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Chiefs wide receiver, and Skyy Moore, Chiefs wide receiver, stepped up and provided that extra spark the Chiefs offense needed to close out the game. 

With five minutes remaining in the game, the score was tied at 35 and the Chiefs possessed the football. They were able to wind down the clock to secure a game winning field goal by Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker, who had missed a field goal in the first quarter. The Eagles offense might have had a chance to try and score were it not for a controversial holding penalty on Eagles cornerback James Bradberry, setting up a first and goal for the Chiefs and the ability for them to wind down the clock. 

With the 2022 NFL season closing its books, the Chiefs captured their second Super Bowl win in the last four years, and Mahomes won his second Super Bowl MVP within that same time span. 

As NFL fans look ahead to the 2023 NFL draft, the Chicago Bears are officially on the clock.