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Super Bowl

Billy Vue

Feb 12, 2024

This past Sunday featured the biggest game of the year, the Super Bowl. Super Bowl 58 was held in Las Vegas, in the home of the Raiders, Allegiant Stadium. The San Fransico 49ers faced off against the Kansas City Chiefs in a Super Bowl that had it all, broken records, overtime, controversy, everything.  

The first half saw little scoring, with the 49ers being up 10-3 going into the half. Despite only 1 possession separating the two teams, the defending champions, the Chiefs, had frustration boiling over on the sideline. After a fumble in the redzone from running back, Isaiah Pacheco, the Chief’s star tight end, Travis Kelce got up in the face of Head Coach, Andy Reid, bumping him purposefully, while yelling in frustration. Reid shut down any animosity later in an interview, “It [getting bumped by Kelce] tests that hip out. He caught me off balance. Normally, I give him a little, but I didn’t have any feet under me”.  

Going into the second half, the Chiefs received the ball and looked poised to catch up. But that poise did not last long. After a 12-yard loss due to a fumbled pitch, Chiefs quarterback, Patrick Mahomes, forced the ball downfield and threw an interception.  

It was not until the last few minutes of the 3rd quarter, did anyone score, when Chiefs' kicker, Harrison Butker, kicked the longest field goal in Super Bowl history, a 57 yarder. Not much later, a botched punt return by the 49ers set the Chiefs up in the red zone. The short drive resulted in Marquez Valdes-Scantling catching a 16-yard touchdown.  

Down 13-10 in the 4th quarter, the 49ers began to score, and the game turned into a slugfest. Touchdown for the 49ers, field goal for the Chiefs, field goal for the 49ers, and a final field goal for the Chiefs to bring the game into overtime, 19-19.  

This is where the controversy begins. The 49ers won the coin toss to begin overtime, which means that they got to choose whether they want the ball, or whether they want to put their defense out there first. The 49ers elected to receive the ball, and this is where it all started. In a regular-season game, you normally want the ball first, because the first team to score a touchdown wins. Playoff overtime rules, however, are different. No matter what happens offensively on the first drive, the defending team still gets a rebuttal. So, analytically, you would want to defend first if you are playing by playoff overtime rules. That way, you know what you need to get, whether that is a field goal or touchdown. Since the 49ers chose to receive, they got the ball first. A long-drawn-out drive put them down in the redzone, at a 4th and 4. They chose to kick the field goal, rather than try to convert the 4th down.  

This is the exact opposite of what you want. A hungry and tenacious Chiefs team took the ball and drove down the field. A touchdown would win, since it outweighs a field goal. That is exactly what they did. Patrick Mahomes called game and ended it with a 3-yard touchdown pass to receiver Mecole Hardman.  

After the game, many 49ers' players came out and stated their thoughts on the overtime rules. 49ers Fullback, Kyle Juszczyk stated, “I didn’t even realize the playoff rules were different in overtime... I assume you just want the ball to score a touchdown and win. I guess that’s not the case”. Another player, 49ers linebacker, Arik Armstead stated, “I didn’t even know about the new playoff overtime rule, so it was a surprise to me”. At the end of the day though, an opening drive field goal wouldn’t have won the game with any overtime rules. 

The Niners’ head coach, Kyle Shanahan defended the decision and stated, “But we went through all the analytics and talked to those guys. We just thought it would be better. We wanted the ball third. If both teams matched and scored, we wanted to be the ones who had the chance to go win. So got that field goal, so knew we had to hold them to at least a field goal and if we did, we thought it was in our hands after that”. In simpler terms, Shanahan believed that the teams would match in each of their first drives, which would give the Niners the chance to ice the game by scoring a touchdown after they both scored the same number of points.  

Either way, it’s over now. The Kansas City Chiefs are the Super Bowl 58 champions, and the first back-to-back champions in nearly 20 years. When asked about whether or not the Chiefs are now a dynasty, after winning 3 Super Bowls in the last 5 years, Patrick Mahomes said, “Yeah. It’s the start of one. We’re not done. I know we’re gonna celebrate tonight, celebrate at the parade Wednesday in Kansas City, but we’re not done. We’re a young team and we’re gonna keep this thing going”. 

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