How Super Bowl LIV was a perfect game for the Chiefs

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We haven’t even mentioned that Andy Reid can win the big one. Winning his 222nd NFL game on 2-2-20, and even pilfering a play from Kyle Shanahan’s playbook in the process (more about that later), the Chiefs actually played a perfect game, for them. This is why:

• They were behind by double-digits. KC rallied from 0-24 to beat Houston in the AFC divisional round, 7-17 to beat Tennessee in the AFC Championship Game, and 10-20 Sunday night in the Super Bowl. The difference this time: The first two deficits were in the first half. The Chiefs trailed the Niners by 10 with eight minutes to play in the fourth quarter.

• Reid’s play-design and play-calling, his best traits, were huge. Not just on “Wasp,” but on several back-and-forths on the sidelines with Mahomes, offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy and Kafka. “That’s one of the advantages of sitting over there with [Mahomes],” Reid said. “You get a feel for what he likes.” All the coaches, and Mahomes, liked the play Shanahan first ran when he was offensive coordinator in Washington in 2010, overloading the offensive line with an extra receiver in a tight formation, and then having the receiver (in this case Sammy Watkins) leak out to an open seam up the left side. Mahomes to Watkins, gain of 28. Every week, Reid has his offensive staff draw up plays on the white board in his office, and in preparing for this game, that’s one of the plays they loved. In fairness, Shanahan called it first, but many teams call it now. And it came back to bite Shanahan on Sunday, on a second-quarter Chiefs field goal.

• Mahomes did what great quarterbacks do and what he’s done so often since being drafted 10th overall in 2017: He forgot the bad plays, fast. He threw the first two picks of his postseason life on consecutive series in the second half. One: A ridiculous throw right into the arms of Niners linebacker Fred Warner in Niner territory. Two: He threw a pass behind Hill, it was tipped, and it was picked. When I asked him about those at his locker, a couple of Chiefs officials shielding him from a small crowd, the look on his face was more embarrassment than anything else. Right here, the way this game turned reminded me of Russell Wilson in the 2014 NFC Championship Game. Remember? Wilson threw four picks to put Seattle in a huge hole against Green Bay, then led two TD drives to send the game to overtime, and won it with a laser touchdown throw to Jermaine Kearse. Wilson’s indomitable. Mahomes is getting to be on that level too, with three touchdown drives in the last half of the last quarter of the season.

“We got MVPat on our side!” defensive tackle Chris Jones crowed. “We don’t care if he throws a damn interception. He always comes back.”

The rest of the world . . . well, maybe we all weren’t so sure. This being a night game, and this column being ridiculously long, much has to be done as the game is in progress. Early in the fourth quarter, with the Niners up 20-10, Mahomes threw his second straight interception, and I went to the Award Section of the column. In the GOAT OF THE WEEK section, I typed in Mahomes’ name and wrote: “A bummer of a game—certainly the worst big game he’s played in his three NFL seasons—for the most dangerous quarterback in the NFL. With no indication that such a stinker was coming.”

Ooops. Good thing there’s a delete button on this laptop.

But when I got a few minutes with Mahomes post-game, he sounded like he’d have given himself GOAT OF THE WEEK if, in some other life, he’d been a sports writer with a silly column. When he talked about the interceptions, he was clearly pained.

“The first one,” Mahomes said, “was horrible. I tried to do too much, stretching the guy [Warner] and trying to make a perfect throw, which I probably should’ve never done. Hit him right between the 5 and the 4. [Warner is number 54.] And then the second one, to be in field-goal range and then to throw a tipped interception . . . I thought that was gonna hurt us a lot more than it did. It was definitely something that made me very sick.”

With 8:53 left in the game, Mahomes trotted out to the huddle. He told the other 10 guys to keep fighting, keep believing. “You gotta believe, 10,” he said to Tyreek Hill, who is number 10. Maybe he did, or maybe he didn’t. But if the Chiefs were to come back, they’d need Hill’s speed and the greatest moves of any receiver in football.

On second-and-15 from the KC 35-yard line, Mahomes underthrew Hill on a 16-yard stop route up the right seam. Like, really underthrew him. Hill dove for it and it was ruled a good catch . . . but at the last second, Shanahan threw the challenge flag. He won the challenge. Third-and-15 now.

Earlier in the half, in those sideline confabs you always see Reid having with Mahomes (and Bieniemy and Kafka), Mahomes told Reid he loved Wasp. “Yeah, yeah,” Mahomes told me. “I just wanted to run it to get it out there and give Tyreek a chance to make a play. How they were playing, I knew it would be Tyreek one on one with the safety.”

This was the same play Mahomes used in the AFC Championship Game last year. The Patriots blanketed Hill, holding him to one catch for 42 yards. That one catch came on the Wasp play. On the play, KC uses a three-by-one formation. Wideout Sammy Watkins is wide left, Hill inside, and Travis Kelce inside of Hill. On the right side is backup tight end Blake Bell. So the Chiefs ran the play in the first half. “A set-up,” Kafka the quarterback coach said. Deep safety Jimmie Ward, in the first half, saw Hill run right at him. And so midway through the fourth quarter, with the same play-call and same formation, Ward obviously assumed Hill was coming at him again. With Watkins running a short in-cut and Kelce idling through the middle to attract attention, Hill sprinted at Ward.

Then Hill cut to the corner. Ward wasn’t ready for that.

The line of scrimmage was the Chiefs’ 35. Mahomes, who’d taken a Pistol snap at his 30, ambled back to the 22 (“The line had to give me a bunch of time, and those guys did,” Mahomes said, correctly). Meanwhile, Hill was floating into a spot around the 25-yard line of the Niners, absolutely wide open. San Francisco defensive coordinator Robert Saleh will have nightmares about this play that ruined his heretofore superb defensive plan. From the Chiefs 22 to the Niners 22, that’s how far this ball traveled—56 yards in the air. And it landed right on Hill, with Ward arriving a half-second too late. Gain of 44.

That led to a rollout one-yard TD pass to Kelce. And when Jimmy Garoppolo couldn’t come up with a drive on the ensuing Niners possession, Mahomes responded with a 65-yard drive in two-and-a-half minutes to take the lead. Damien Williams scored the last two TDs for the Chiefs, and he won the battle of undrafted running backs: Williams, 104 yards and two scores to Raheem Mostert’s 58 yards and one touchdown run.

This was a perfect game for the Chiefs not because they played a perfect game. It’s because the game illustrated everything Reid has built in Kansas City. He has the quarterback who, though just 24, has become a part of the decision-making process. Reid built a team that trusts he’ll put them in the best position to win. He built a team that’s all-for-one, one-for-all; even after this game, he was still harkening back 54 weeks, to the AFC title game loss to New England, when the departed Dee Ford jumped offside, enabling the Patriots to have life late. “It wasn’t Dee Ford,” Reid said. “It was all of us. We were all four inches off.” That kind of stuff is corny and all, but his players know it’s Reid. The same way he deflects blame for the Donovan McNabb Super Bowl faux pas slow-play 15 years ago is the way he takes on the heavy stuff to this day.

“Can I tell him the practice story?” Kansas City medical czar and longtime Reid confidant Rick Burkholder said in Reid’s office post-game.

“Go ahead,” Reid said.

“So it’s 10 degrees outside the Wednesday before the [AFC title game], and Andy tells the team practice would be outside,” Burkholder said. “They don’t flinch. They figured there must be a reason for it, I guess.”

“I paused after telling them,” Reid told me, “and nobody gasped.”

“What’d you do? Practice inside?” I asked.

“Yeah, like always,” Reid said.

“The point is, they want to win it for him, and he wants to win it for everybody else,” Burkholder said.

Read more from Peter King’s Football Morning in America column here. 

NFL quarterback rankings 2023: Chris Simms’ top 40 QB countdown ahead of upcoming NFL season


While the NFL is a league that is ever-changing, some things are set to stay the same in 2023 — like the revealing of Chris Simms’ top 40 QB countdown.

Last year’s list saw Josh Allen take his place atop the quarterback throne, with Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes and Los Angeles’ Justin Herbert not far behind at No. 2 and No. 3, respectively. It was, however, Mahomes who would ultimately reign over all NFL quarterbacks at the end of the season, as the 27-year-old collected both the NFL MVP honors and his second Lombardi Trophy.

This NFL offseason, however, has brought some intriguing adjustments that are likely to shake up Simms’ rankings.

While some signal-callers such as Jalen Hurts and Lamar Jackson found their prolonged home with massive contract signings, others will be venturing to a new franchise in search of a fresh start. Aaron Rodgers‘ trade to the New York Jets is unquestionably the most staggering shift, but other quarterbacks on the move such as Derek Carr and Jimmy Garoppolo cannot be forgotten.

RELATED: Mike Florio gives an inside look into the Lamar Jackson deal

And with three of the first four picks in the 2023 NFL Draft being spent on a quarterback, emerging talent will likely turn the tides for some franchises this upcoming season.

See below for Chris Simms’ top 40 QB countdown ahead of the upcoming season. Be sure to subscribe to Chris Simms Unbuttoned for more on the 2023 NFL season as well as an unfiltered look at the NFL featuring player access, unabashed opinion, X&O film breakdown and stories from a life in and around football.

RELATED: Peter King’s latest offseason NFL power rankings

Chris Simms’ 2023 Top 40 QB Countdown:

40. Desmond Ridder (ATL)

39. Sam Howell (WAS)

38. Bryce Young (CAR)

37. CJ Stroud (HOU)

36. Anthony Richardson (IND)

35. Mike White (MIA)

34. Gardner Minshew (IND)

33. Taylor Heinicke (ATL)

32. Jarrett Stidham (DEN)

31. Jordan Love (GB)

30. Davis Mills (HOU)

29. Tyler Huntley (BAL)

28. Andy Dalton (CAR)

27. Sam Darnold (SF)

26. Brock Purdy (SF)

25. Kenny Pickett (PIT)

24. Baker Mayfield (TB)

23. Justin Fields (CHI)

22. Jimmy Garoppolo (LV)

21. Tua Tagovailoa (MIA)

20. Mac Jones (NE)

19. Kyler Murray (AZ)

18. Derek Carr (NO)

17. Jared Goff (DET)

16. Ryan Tannehill (TEN)

15. Geno Smith (SEA)

14. Russell Wilson (DEN)

2023 NFL Schedule Release: Start time, how to watch, live stream, channel


With another exciting NFL Draft in the books, teams can now turn their gaze toward the road to Super Bowl LVIII in Las Vegas. The path to Super Bowl glory, however, is about to become abundantly more clear with the 2023 NFL season schedule release.

This year’s NFL season schedule release is nearly here, with the entirety of the 2023 NFL schedule being unveiled on Thursday, May 11 at 8 p.m. ET on both Peacock and NFL Network. See below for everything you need to know for one of the offseason’s most anticipated events.

RELATED: Click here for full analysis on Rounds 1-7 of the 2023 NFL Draft

When will the 2023 NFL season schedule be released?

While all 272 matchups have been known since the conclusion of the 2022 regular season, the order and dates for these games have remained a mystery. The secret is nearly out, however, with every NFL game on the brink of revelation.

The full 2023 NFL schedule will be released on Thursday, May 11 at 8:00 p.m. ET.

How can I watch the 2023 NFL season schedule release?

The 2023 NFL season schedule release will take place Thursday, May 11 on Peacock, NFL Network, and the NFL app at 8 p.m. ET.

While the entirety of the schedule will be unveiled at that time, select games have already been and will continue to be released prior to the official event. Ahead of the 2023 NFL season schedule release, the following games will be announced:

Who will play in the 2023 NFL Kickoff game?

The first game of the 2023-24 NFL season will see the reigning Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs take the field in Arrowhead Stadium.

The opponent that will meet Patrick Mahomes and company in Kansas City, however, remains to be revealed.

Which NFL teams have international games in 2023?

While the majority of the matchups set to take place next season have yet to be announced, the league has already revealed which teams will head overseas for international showdowns.

Below is the full list of international NFL games for the 2023-24 season, with three in London, U.K., and two in Frankfurt, Germany.

Falcons vs. Jaguars: Week 4, Oct. 1 at 9:30 a.m. ET | Wembley Stadium in London, U.K.

Jaguars vs. Bills: Week 5, Oct. 8 at 9:30 a.m. ET | Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, U.K.

Ravens vs. Titans: Week 6, Oct. 15 at 9:30 a.m. ET | Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, U.K.

Dolphins vs. Chiefs: Week 9, Nov. 5 at 9:30 a.m. ET | Frankfurt Stadium in Frankfurt, Germany

Colts vs. Patriots: Week 10, Nov. 12 at 9:30 a.m. ET | Frankfurt Stadium in Frankfurt, Germany

RELATED: NFL’s 2023 international games full of “star power”

When is the Super Bowl and where will it be taking place?

Stars will be shining bright in Las Vegas, Nevada, for Super Bowl LVIII, set to take place on Feb. 11, 2024, at the home of the Raiders in Allegiant Stadium.

This will be the first Super Bowl to ever take place in Las Vegas, which hosted the 2023 Pro Bowl and 2022 NFL Draft.

Be sure to follow ProFootballTalk for the latest news, updates, and storylines about the upcoming NFL season!