By JOSH DUBOW AP Pro Football Writer
PHOENIX — Andy Reid posed with the Lombardi Trophy as he took the stage the morning after his second Super Bowl win and simply said: “It never gets old standing right here.”
As long as Reid is dialing up plays and Patrick Mahomes is executing them, the Kansas City Chiefs will be in contention to get right back into this spot.
The duo – an innovative play-caller and a young quarterback whose achievements already rival some of the game’s greatest ever – won their second Super Bowl together in the past four seasons when Kansas City beat the Philadelphia Eagles, 38-35, on Sunday.
“As long as Andy Reid is coaching us, we’ll always have a chance,” Mahomes said Monday at a news conference honoring the Super Bowl-winning coach and MVP. “I’ll keep the big guy around a couple more years at least and we’ll try to be back at this game as many times as possible.”
Since Mahomes became the starter in Kansas City in 2018, the Chiefs have made it to the AFC championship game every season, the Super Bowl three times and won it twice.
This title might have been even sweeter than the first, following the 2019 season, as Mahomes overcame a high ankle sprain that limited him in the playoffs and quieted the skeptics who doubted whether he could have the same kind of success after the Chiefs traded away game-breaking wide receiver Tyreek Hill.
But with a strong offensive line that held the Eagles’ vaunted pass rush to no sacks, All-Pro tight end Travis Kelce and a cast of mostly young receivers who stepped up in the Super Bowl, the Chiefs still had the league’s top offense thanks mostly to the combo of Reid and Mahomes.
“It’s hard not to hear that stuff, especially in today’s age and social media and everything like that,” Mahomes said. “You hear how not good we’re going to be. All you can do is prove it on the football field. I’m not a guy that’s going to respond and say stuff back to people. I’m just going to go out there and prove it on the football field. Once you do that, there’s nothing they can really say.”
All that’s left to ask about Mahomes after a week in which he won his second regular-season MVP award and second Super Bowl MVP is where he will eventually rank among the game’s greatest quarterbacks.
Mahomes is already on a pace no one else has set.
He joined Hall of Famer Joe Montana and Tom Brady – considered by many the best quarterbacks in the Super Bowl era – as the only players ever to win multiple MVP awards in the regular season and Super Bowl.
Mahomes did it in his sixth season, while it took Brady 11 years and Montana 12 until they accomplished the feat.
Mahomes became the seventh player to win the NFL regular-season MVP and Super Bowl MVP in the same season – with the first six already enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
The Super Bowl win by Mahomes also broke some hexes as he became the first MVP to win the title since Kurt Warner in the 1999 season and the first player ever to lead the league in yards passing and win the Super Bowl in the same season.
The decision to trade Hill has set the Chiefs up well as they head into the offseason in good shape on the salary cap, with 12 projected draft picks, and a strong rookie class from 2022 that only should improve.
But most importantly, they have the coach and quarterback, with the 64-year-old Reid pointing to Mahomes when he said he has no plans to step down any time in the near future.
“I’m enjoying what I’m doing,” Reid said. “I have this guy over here who is a pretty good player, so I’m doing OK.”
SUPER BOWL A RATINGS HIT
Fox was hoping the matchup of two top teams in the Super Bowl and a close game would lead to a record night.
Even though Sunday’s game came down to a field goal with eight seconds remaining, Fox fell just short of its goal.
The Chiefs’ rally to defeat the Eagles is on pace to become the third most-watched television show in history, with an estimated 113 million people watching, according to preliminary numbers released Monday.
Fox said the audience estimate includes the broadcasts on Fox and Fox Deportes as well as streaming on Fox and the NFL’s digital sites. The figures are via Nielsen’s Fast National data and Adobe Analytics.
The 2015 game between the New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks on NBC holds the record at 114,442,000 viewers (not including streaming), followed by Super Bowl 51 in 2017 on Fox between Atlanta and New England (113,668,000).
This was Fox’s 10th Super Bowl since it began airing NFL games in 1994 and the second most-watched program in Fox Sports history.
It would also be a slight increase over the 112.3 million average for last year’s Super Bowl. The Rams’ victory over the Cincinnati Bengals was broadcast by NBC and Telemundo and streamed on Peacock and NFL digital sites.
According to Adobe Analytics, this year’s digital feed averaged a Super Bowl record 7 million streams, an 18% increase over last year (6 million) and more than double Fox’s last Super Bowl in 2020 (3.4 million).
It was the third straight year the streaming average has surpassed 5 million. The first Super Bowl to be streamed, in 2012, averaged 346,000.
Rihanna’s halftime show averaged 118.7 million viewers, making it the second-most watched in Super Bowl history. Katy Perry’s 2015 performance holds the top mark at 121 million.
The Spanish-language audience average for the game was 951,000, a record for the most-watched Super Bowl game in Spanish-language cable television history. It was also the most-watched non-soccer event in Spanish-language cable history.
The Super Bowl has been televised in Spanish in the United States since 2014.
Final Nielsen data will be available on Tuesday, including the English-language television-only figures. After Super Bowls averaged more than 100 million viewers from 2010-18, four of the five games before this year had fallen short of that number because of cord-cutting. That included 95.2 million for the 2021 Super Bowl between Tampa Bay and Kansas City, which was the game’s lowest TV-only average since 2007.
If Sunday’s number can better the 99.18 million from last year, it would mark the first time since 2015 there had been two straight years of increases.
Not surprisingly, Kansas City and Philadelphia were the two highest-ranked markets. Kansas City led the way with a 52.0 rating and 87 share followed by Philadelphia’s 46.3/77.
The rating is the percentage of television households tuned in. The share refers to a percentage of the TV-watching audience viewing a particular program at the time.
CHIEFS’ RALLY FUELS COMEBACK FOR SPORTSBOOKS
When Mahomes rallied the Chiefs to a Super Bowl victory, he also led a comeback for the sportsbooks.
Kansas City’s 38-35 win meant the books were winners on the betting line, which generally favored the Eagles by 1½ points and drew plenty of wagering on the NFC champions. That victory by the sportsbooks offset a loss on the total, which was 51½ points at many places that were hit hard by bets on the over.
“Best case was Chiefs and under,” Chuck Esposito, sportsbook director for Red Rock Resort in Las Vegas, said in a text message.
Jason Scott, BetMGM vice president of trading, expects the national handle on the Super Bowl to set a record simply because sports betting is legal in many more states. Jay Kornegay, vice president of race and sports operations at Westgate Las Vegas, expects the handle to be the highest, but probably will come in below expectations.
When it comes to the Super Bowl, expectations are relative because the sportsbooks know there will be a massive amount of money bet regardless.
Caesars Sportsbook tweeted that it took $2.2 million in New York on the Eagles to cover the 1½-point spread. The bettor probably had a good feeling when the Eagles led 24-14 at halftime.
The feeling was not so good at the books, which were envisioning the double whammy of an Eagles win and the total going over. Mahomes limping into halftime on an injured ankle didn’t exactly ease those concerns.
“We weren’t too thrilled at the break,” Kornegay said.
At that point, he added, betting favorite Travis Kelce was delivering on the wagers. The Chiefs tight end had three catches for 60 yards at halftime, and his touchdown paid off on a plus-230 proposition bet, meaning a $100 wager would be worth $230.
“It looked like he was going to have 15 catches in the game,” Kornegay said. “I’ve got to give credit to Coach (Andy) Reid and Mahomes for making that type of comeback and scoring that many points in the second half without involving Kelce. Kelce really disappeared in the second half. I mean, most people in this room couldn’t name two receivers for Kansas City.”
Kelce caught three passes in the second half for 21 yards.
The public won on the props at different books that paid off on the Eagles’ successful 2-point conversion and the Chiefs’ defensive score. Esposito said, however, enough of the props bets went Red Rock’s way to make his casino a “small winner” in that area.
Kornegay and Scott said their lines remained at 1½ because there wasn’t a surge on Chiefs betting to move the line at their sportsbooks. That wasn’t the case at Circa Sports in Las Vegas. It closed at Philadelphia at minus-1, according to Circa sports marketing manager Aaron Oster.
The sportsbooks, however, couldn’t make the total high enough, and it was clear early this game had the makings of an offensive slugfest.
“The totals market will actually be the most money we’ve ever lost on one market,” Scott said.
If not for the rally by Mahomes and the Chiefs, BetMGM and many other books would have had a much tougher day. Mahomes was named the regular-season and Super Bowl MVP, and he was especially valuable to the books.
“Was a very nice day,” Scott said. “Patrick Mahomes saved us.”
This year’s Super Bowl was the first played in a stadium with a sportsbook inside the venue.
Next year’s big game will be in Las Vegas.
“We are going to be the football capital of the world next year,” Kornegay said. “There are so many venues outside of Allegiant (Stadium) that fans can enjoy. I don’t know any other city that has that many hotel rooms and all these different venues of where they can enjoy the game.
“So I suspect that we’re going to see record numbers across the board come next February.”
AP sports writers Joe Reedy and Mark Anderson contributed to this report.