Peter King

The best of the Super Bowl LVII experience

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The XXV things I heard, saw, know or somehow experienced at Super Bowl LVII:

1. JuJu Smith-Schuster made one of the best entrances in Super Bowl history, without a doubt, on Sunday afternoon:

2. Interesting Super Bowl tidbit from Roger Goodell: The NFL is likely to pick two more Super Bowl sites by year’s end. The next two are set: Super Bowl 58 next year in Las Vegas, and SB 59 in February 2025 in New Orleans. I’d bet a lot that one of the two games after that, in 2026 or ’27, will go to Los Angeles. The NFL loved the venue, the city and the facilities last year at SoFi, and the idea when the place was built was to give LA a game once every four or five years.

3. Best news tidbit, nearly hatched: The NFL is working toward playing its two games in Germany on consecutive Sundays next November. I’m told Kansas City and New England, previously announced as host teams, expect to play on Sundays in an eight-day span, and it’s probable but not certain that both games will be in Frankfurt. Last year’s successful Germany debut was at Allianz Arena in Munich. The Frankfurt stadium is Deutsche Bank Park, with a retractable roof, about four miles from the city center. It’ll be pretty amazing to have Patrick Mahomes and Bill Belichick in Germany on back-to-back NFL weekends.

4. Best news tidbit, not yet hatched, but developing: The NFL is working with digital geniuses to develop a low-latency broadcast. Low-latency means a shorter time between a live football play and when you see it on your TV or mobile device. Why is this important, shortening the time between the live play and when it can be shown? Because that would allow viewers to be more able to bet on props involving each play. Seems a little insidious to me, to invite more people to bet more money on more football things, but the NFL is driving to make a jillion on sports betting, and this could be the next addictive frontier.

5. I won’t be surprised if there’s news soon on the Dan Snyder story in Washington. Stuff seems to be percolating.

6. Today is day 360 since the NFL announced that Mary Jo White was leading an investigation into the Snyder ownership. A year seems sufficient. Right?

7. Interview Subject of the Week: Eagles offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland, in charge of the care and development of the best line in football, and the man who invented a left tackle out of Australian rugby player Jordan Mailata. We spoke during a Wednesday media availability, and I asked him about the Jeff Stoutland University thing—when Mailata, introduced before a Monday night game, said: “Jordan Mailata, Jeff Stoutland University.”

8. Stoutland: “We spent a lot of time working together, after practice, in camp, before practice, all the time, I mean. I really believe that when he had to get up there and speak of where he went to college, it wasn’t a joke now. This wasn’t a joke. He didn’t know what to say. So he didn’t have a college like our guys, and he said to Lane Johnson, ‘Lane, what do I say?’ Lane goes, ‘Just say, Jeff Stoutland University. That’s where you learned how to play this game.’”

9. So Phoenix as a Super Bowl site. It’s spread out, very spread out. But I kind of like that. The weather’s nice, lots of good places to eat and to walk, and downtown is good and big enough to have all the events needed. It’s certainly not a walkable Super Bowl. My hotel in Scottsdale was 32 miles from the stadium, but I don’t care much about that. All in all, it’s a good place to hold the game, at a very good time of year.

10. Tone Deaf Quote of the Week: From Roger Goodell, in his annual Super Bowl press conference, on officiating, in the wake of the fourth-quarter debacle in the AFC Championship Game: “I don’t think it’s ever been better.” Five documented errors in one series (see my column last week), and officiating has never been better? Obviously Goodell wants to back his officials. Understandable. Loyal. But don’t take us for saps, please. A better way to truth-tell to your fans and to back the officials would be to say: “We didn’t reach the highest standards we expect late in the AFC Championship Game. But our officials have an excellent track record, and I believe over the span of the season we had a great season.”

11. This is not in any way scientific, because there aren’t a ton of NFL GMs and personnel people who hang around the Super Bowl. But Aaron Rodgers starts what he called a four-day darkness period in the pitch dark of a home, alone, today, and there was eyebrow-raising among a few league or team people I brought this up with, the reaction being: I can see why the Packers would consider trading him. Seems like a good person, but he might be more trouble than he’s worth. Not to the Jets.

12. Re: Hall of Fame voting, a few thoughts. (I’m one of the 49 voters for the Hall.) Most of you know how the process works. The 15 modern-era finalists get discussed, as do the four total Senior and Contributor candidates. The committee votes, one by one, on the three Senior (Ken Riley, Joe Klecko, Chuck Howley) and one Contributor (Don Coryell) candidates. If they get 80 percent of the private vote, they’re in. All four got in. Then we vote to cut the 15 modern candidates down to 10. When the top 10 get announced, we vote for our top five. After the cut to five is made, we’re asked to vote yes or no on the final five. If they get 80 percent yes votes, they’re in. Overall, this was a more contentious year than usual. Lots of discussion on return specialist Devin Hester, who didn’t make it, and on the three receivers who seem to be cancelling each other out.

13. My cut to five: Andre Johnson, Albert Lewis, Darrelle Revis, Joe Thomas, Zach Thomas. Toughest decision for me was Lewis or Ronde Barber, who I was also bullish on. But I thought Lewis’ all-around game—superb coverage, physicality, special teams, kick-blocking—gave him a microscopic edge. I was happy for Barber, though. Sad for Lewis. And I fully supported Demarcus Ware, who was seventh on my list.

14. Discussion time: six hours, 23 minutes. Slightly less than usual.

15. As for the receiver logjam, the candidacies of Andre Johnson, Torry Holt and Reggie Wayne all have their partisans among the voters. I don’t know how it gets solved, particularly with more receivers with inflated numbers entering the pool in coming seasons. I am partial to Johnson. He’s the biggest (6-3, 230). He’s virtually as fast as the fastest, Holt (4.40 to 4.38 for Holt in the 40-). He didn’t have the advantage of playing with Peyton Manning or on the Greatest Show on Turf. (Though Holt played more than half his career with lesser QBs on lesser offenses.) And he didn’t have a player like Marvin Harrison or Isaac Bruce on the other side to take attention away from him. I think Johnson’s clearly the best of the three, but I’m one of 49 voters.

16. I don’t think there’s a lock next year among first-time-eligibles, but the cases of first-timers Julius Peppers and Antonio Gates will be strong.

17. My theory on why it might take a while for Darren Woodson or any safety to make the Hall of Fame soon: In the 16 years from 2001 to 2016, zero safeties were elected among the 99 enshrinees. In the past seven years, which you might call the Safety Overcorrection Era, 10 safeties have been enshrined among the 52 men voted into the Hall: Kenny Easley, Brian Dawkins, Ed Reed, Johnny Robinson, Steve Atwater, Cliff Harris, Troy Polamalu, Donnie Shell, John Lynch and LeRoy Butler. (I didn’t include Charles Woodson, of course, because he spent only the last four years of his career at safety.)

18. Not-so-strange workout bedfellows: Colts owner Jim Irsay with a toned Paul McCartney in the gym at the Phoenician Resort.

19. House speaker Kevin McCarthy and “Modern Family” star Eric Stonestreet communing with football power people at the Friday night commissioner’s party. McCarthy’s tight with Cardinals owner Michael Bidwill.

20. Walk of the Week: The 70-minute Sunday morning walk on the Wind Cave Trail up Usery Mountain in Mesa. Made it with Don Van Natta, a hiking vet, just after 7 a.m.

21. Nick Sirianni, with the tears streaming down during the National Anthem. That was a wow.

22. I’m sure you all would be shocked to know that, circa 2007/2008, when I coached a 10U travel softball team in Montclair, N.J., our team song was “Umbrella,” and our girls delighted in singing it, especially the eh-eh-eh-eh-eh part. Other than recognizing the song, and being happy to hear it, I won’t be able to give a review on the Rihanna halftime show.

23. Patrick Mahomes re-sprained his ankle at 6:02 p.m. local time. He did not play for the rest of the half, which ended at 6:16 p.m. The halftime show ended at 6:40 p.m. The third quarter kicked off at 6:49 p.m. Kansas City got the kickoff, and Mahomes trotted on the field and took his first snap of the quarter at 6:50 p.m. Thoughts: Incredible that the field got cleared of the halftime show extravaganza and the game resumed in nine minutes time and I have no idea how Mahomes looked borderline absolutely normal 48 minutes after the world saw him in agony. What a performer.

24. The turf was abominable. How can the Super Bowl be played on an ice rink? That simply has to be addressed at the highest level of the league, and this week. This field was new sod, grown in Arizona, installed two weeks ago, and cost $800,000. And on both the painted areas and the pure grass areas, players slipped all night. Inexcusable.

25. I cannot be more impressed with Jalen Hurts as a player, a leader, a competitor. Think how far Hurts has come, and how high the Eagles have risen with him, in the last six months. Philadelphia GM Howie Roseman has a lot of tough decisions to make on his roster, but how good must he feel to know that he invested a low second-round pick in a backup QB in 2020 and what he has now is a long-term quarterback who is the envy of every franchise in football? Listen to Hurts after this crushing loss: “It is a tough feeling to come up short. It’s a very tough feeling. But I know that the only direction is to rise. That’ll be the MO going forward. That is the mentality.” Perfect.

The ‘Corn Dog’ that won Super Bowl LVII for Kansas City Chiefs


GLENDALE, Ariz.—For 47 minutes Sunday night in Super Bowl LVII, Kansas City never led. Their quarterback re-sprained his right ankle just before halftime, and the Eagles led by 10 as Rihanna sung to the world, and though the momentum began to change in the third quarter, everything was a chore for the men of Andy Reid.

Then, with the ball at the Eagles’ five-yard line early in the fourth quarter, on third-and-three, Reid looked at his play sheet and called a play he loved.

“Corn Dog,” Reid said.

Seriously. That’s what the play was called.

Corn Dog, with the formation on one side of the play call, and a run portion (if Patrick Mahomes chose to hand it off) on the other side.

The first Reid-Mahomes Super Bowl title, three years ago this month, produced 2-3 Jet Chip Wasp, the long fourth-quarter pass from Mahomes to Tyreek Hill that gave the team life in the comeback win over the Niners.

Now, Philadelphia led 27-21 and the most important play of the game was facing Reid and his offensive coordinator, Eric Bieniemy. A field goal wasn’t good enough here, because KC had already allowed four scoring drives of 60 yards or longer to stoic superstar Jalen Hurts, who played one of the best games of his life in the biggest game of his life. To keep up with Hurts, Mahomes needed touchdowns.

That’s where this weird, very Reid-like formation and stilted motion came into play. Two wide receivers split wide, JuJu Smith-Schuster to the left, Kadarius Toney to the right. Two tight ends sat in the slot, Noah Gray left, Travis Kelce right. Mahomes had all the power in his hands, and Reid trusted him to use it: It was more likely a run call, but depending on how Eagles cornerback Darius Slay played Toney, Mahomes could check to a pass. Reid was pretty sure the check would come, but the reason he loved this play was he knew Mahomes would make the right call. He knew his quarterback wouldn’t be greedy. He’d choose the right variation of the Corn Dog, a smart play given the quirky name by his coaches.

“How many times have you run this play this year?” I asked Reid an hour after the game in his office inside the cigar bar that was the Kansas City locker room.

“Um,” said Reid, “that’s the second time we’ve run it.”

And that wouldn’t be it for a variation of the Corn Dog. The concept actually would win this Super Bowl for Kansas City. In a surprise (if you turned the game off at halftime), Kansas City rallied to beat Philadelphia 38-35 in one of the most exciting Super Bowls ever.

One day, when the coaching book on Andy Reid is written, there will be chapters about why players like playing for him, and why coaches like sitting in his office suite next to Arrowhead Stadium thinking up new ideas to confound smart defenses—the way they did last week when preparing for an excellent Philadelphia defense. “It is so much fun playing for the man,” Smith-Schuster said Sunday night.

I still didn’t understand one thing: Why name the play Corn Dog?

“Well,” said Bieniemy, “we like to eat.”

In Reid’s office at State Farm Stadium Sunday night was his longtime agent, Bob Lamonte, and his grandson, Maverick. “My good luck guy,” Reid said with pride, nodding to the boy. Maverick, son of Britt Reid, who is imprisoned for an accident that badly injured a young girl in 2020, has been with Andy Reid for the team’s playoff run. The coach seems to enjoy having Maverick by his side.

Reid, who turns 65 next month, was peppered with questions about his future during the week. Jay Glazer reported Sunday on FOX that Reid would have a decision to make about his future after the game. So, post-Corn Dog, I asked him about it.

“Are you gonna retire?” I said.

“I’m not,” Reid said.

“You’re gonna coach again?”

“That’s what I plan on doing. Yeah, God help me.”

This was an emotional game for Reid, because in the last quarter-century, he has fixed both franchises. He coached the Eagles for 14 seasons, laying the groundwork for their long-term respectability and coaching/teaching current GM Howie Roseman. Reid took about 10 minutes off from football before taking the job coaching Kansas City in 2013. What a run he’s had: Reid’s the only coach in NFL history to have more than 100 wins with two different franchises. He’s taken Kansas City to three Super Bowls in the last four seasons, winning two. Reid’s 269th career win—regular- and post-season—here puts him one win behind Tom Landry for fourth place on the all-time list.

But this was also a rollicking and significant win for his quarterback. Think of his three playoff games this season: suffers a high-ankle sprain against Jacksonville, grouses at Reid for taking him out to have the ankle examined in a 27-20 win; survives against Cincinnati in the AFC title game 23-20, gritting through the ankle issues; leads his team back from 10 points down (for the second time) to win the Super Bowl after re-injuring the ankle. For the post-season, playing with a bum ankle for 85 percent of the snaps, Mahomes completed 72 percent of his throws with a rating of 114.7.

There’s another guy who had a bunch of narrow playoff and Super Bowl wins in his early NFL life: Tom Brady. Let’s compare the two men when they were 27. That’s how old Mahomes is now.

Brady at 27: 57-14 overall record, three Super Bowl wins, 11-to-3 post-season TD-to-Interception ratio.

Mahomes at 27: 75-19 overall record, two Super Bowl wins, 35-to-7 post-season TD-Pick ratio.

Not so different, is it?

This post-season stamped Mahomes as a player with great talent and a Brady ethos. When middle linebacker T.J. Edwards tackled Mahomes on his last snap of the first half, Edwards rolled Mahomes’ injured right ankle. This game looked very dark for Kansas City. The pain on Mahomes’ face made every fan of the team and the quarterback feel like vomiting.

“I knew it wasn’t good,” Mahomes told me.

But when we spoke 90 minutes after the game, it was apparent Mahomes knew something else.

“Whatever it was, I wasn’t coming out of the game,” he said. “This is the Super Bowl. You think I’m coming out of this game? We got all off-season to get well. We had only two quarters left to play, and we had to find a way to win.”

At halftime, down 10, Reid told his team, “Ten points. Ten points isn’t a lot. We’re just off a tick.” And Reid said the halftime’s so long, it allowed his team to calm down—but not before Mahomes and Travis Kelce lit into the group.

Mahomes said he thought his team was playing tight. “We weren’t playing with our normal joy,” he said. “I said you can’t let the moment overtake you.”

There was 48 minutes of real time between snaps for Mahomes, with the long halftime. Mahomes and the offense came out sharp, driving 10 plays for 75 yards on the opening drive of the second half. Now it was 24-21. After the Eagles chewed up almost eight minutes on the next drive, now came the key drive of the game.

Kansas City churned down the field to the Eagles’ five-yard line. Third down. Twelve minutes left in Super Bowl LVII.

This is what Reid and his coaches and Mahomes thought with two receivers split right and two tight ends in the respective slots: We’ll send Toney in motion from right to left—then, suddenly, he’ll stop and turn back around quickly to go to his wide-right position. The coaches thought the cornerback on Toney, Darius Slay in this case, would follow Toney and never think Toney would cut the motion short and sprint back to his original spot.

They were right. It was easy to see Slay never thought Toney would turn around. Who does that?

Slay followed Toney, never adjusting when Toney turned around. The resulting corner route by Toney gave him an almost-unheard-of 11.2 yards of separation from the nearest defender. In a game this big, that’s an incredible gaffe by the Eagles. “We knew they’d pass off the motion guy, Kadarius,” Mahomes said. Well, fine. But who was going to pick him up on the way back? No one.

“We work hard every day to know the [defensive] personnel,” Toney said, “to know exactly how they’re going to play us. We try to go out there and exploit it.”

But one more thing: Mahomes’ first read was the run to Jerick McKinnon. The play design called for him to switch to pass if the corner kept running across the formation instead of returning to play Toney. When that happened, Mahomes changed to a pass. Maybe the simplest TD throw of his career. “Good play against man coverage,” Reid said. “We had it ranked high [on the play sheet].”

Kansas City 28, Philly 27. Eagles go three-and-out. Then Eagles punter Arryn Siposs clanked a wounded duck of a punt (“He just gave us an ugly punt,” Toney the returner said), and the former Giant returned it 65 yards, to the five-yard line. Again with a huge third down from inside the Eagles’ 10-, Reid chose a similar play to Corn Dog with Skyy Moore on the left side instead of right. Moore jet-motioned from the left inside, then turned quickly and sprinted back.

Incredible. Eagles got fooled again. Another wide-open touchdown. I thought at that moment: Poor Jonathan Gannon. The Philadelphia defensive coordinator, slated for a head-coach interview with the Cardinals early this week, will walk into said interview having given up a 38-spot in the Super Bowl, and having given up the easiest, most wide-open TD passes – two of them! – in the post-season.

“We did a good job of window-dressing it,” said Moore.

I should say so. Moore was as open as Toney. Now Kansas City had a 35-27 lead. The Eagles tied it on Hurts’ amazing third TD run and his subsequent two-point run. With the score 35-all, Kansas City got a huge break with 1:48 left in the game. Mahomes threw a third-down incompletion, setting up a Harrison Butker 33-yard field goal—basically a PAT.

Wait. Flag. James Bradberry was called for a defensive hold. Replays showed it happened, but it wasn’t an egregious hold. No matter. Ref Carl Cheffers, per pool reporter Lindsay Jones, called the flag “a clear case of a jersey grab that caused restriction.” Bradberry admitted he fouled Smith-Schuster—but that didn’t stop Eagles fans everywhere from screaming about the flag.

That gave KC a fresh set of downs, and the clock got whittled down to 11 seconds. Butker’s 27-yard field goal won it with eight seconds left.

Great day for Reid. Great day for Mahomes. One of my lasting memories from this game—other than the acrid cigar smoke that will never come off the clothes of anyone in the Kansas City locker room post-game—will be seeing Patrick Mahomes go to so many guys in the locker room, just saying thanks. He hugged TD-scorer Moore, who’s had some tough moments this year, and said, “Waited till the last game, huh? Love you! Way to get it in there!” I mean, what do you think that means to a rookie like Skyy Moore, having a two-time MVP and Super Bowl MVP look you in the eye, hug you, and tell you that?

This game stamped Mahomes without question as this game’s best and brightest quarterback, leader and franchise linchpin. The Eagles are close, with Hurts. Very close. But Mahomes willed this team to its second Super Bowl in four seasons. I sincerely doubt he’s done.

Dak Prescott’s heroics lead Dallas Cowboys past Philadelphia Eagles in NFL Week 16


No good team needed a huge win more than Dallas. The Cowboys were down 10-0 early, tied it at 17-17 before halftime, then got down 27-17 in the third quarter, tied it at 27-27 to start the fourth quarter, then scored 13 points in the last six minutes. So: Dallas 40, Philadelphia 34. Most impressive to me was Dak Prescott throwing a pick-six on his second straight drive (closing the loss at Jacksonville last week, and on the opening Dallas drive in this game), then coming back in the last 54 minutes to complete 78 percent of his throws with three touchdowns and no picks while getting beat up pretty consistently. Loved Prescott hanging in there. After the game, I asked him about his mental state after throwing the 42-yard pick-six to Josh Sweat that put the Cowboys in a 10-0 hole.

“Thinking about that,” he told me, “I’m thinking about the way I was raised. Being the little brother, there’s a lotta times I got my ass kicked and things didn’t go my way. The only chance I had against them was to forget about what just happened, come back, respond, and beat ‘em. Sometimes I’d find my mother, I’d be crying, and she said, ‘If you can’t play with the big dogs, stay on the porch.’ So in a situation like today, early in the game, it’s about staying focused, understanding what’s happened is done. So I made a bad throw. What can I do about it? Respond. And I know I will.”

Coming off of two unimpressive performances — outscored 63-61 across the narrow win over the Texans and loss to the Jags — the Cowboys needed some offensive explosiveness. To advance in the NFC, they need to do what they’ve done recently: four times in their last eight games, Dallas has scored 40 or more. Though Jalen Hurts didn’t play for the Eagles Saturday, Gardner Minshew was spunky and productive if not as safe as Hurts. And Dallas put up 40 against a D that had allowed more than 22 points only three times all season.

“It’s how we won that I think will help us,” Prescott said. “Down 10 in the first half, down 10 in the second half. Coming back both times. You think that doesn’t mean something big to us? We fought, we trusted, we gained confidence against the best team in the league by fighting back over and over.”

Running can be sexy, to some. The Panthers rushed 43 times for 320 yards, a 7.4-yard average, and the result was predictable: Carolina 37, Detroit 23. Talk about bursting the bubble of all the good feels for the Lions, who came in on a 6-1 roll. It’s the 6-9 Panthers who exited this game looking like much more of a playoff threat than the Lions. And, of course, Carolina can win the NFC South by sweeping games at the Bucs and Saints. Pretty crazy, after starting 2-7.

“We’re not sexy,” interim coach Steve Wilks (5-5, stunningly) told me post-game. “We’re not the classic NFL team that’s going to throw it all over the place. But like I’ve told [offensive coordinator] Ben McAdoo, there’s nothing more demoralizing to a defense than not being able to stop the run.” The Panthers, lately, have added some misdirection and more motion to the run game because, as Wilks said, “You look around the league, and you see window-dressing and misdirection causes problems for the defense in the run game.”

Rushing for 320 yards is pretty damn demoralizing. And what Wilks has done with his team is to prioritize what they do well – run – behind a strong line and a renewed sense of pride in his 11 weeks as coach. “I’ve told our guys, ‘Act like a champion every day,’ and I think they’ve responded well to that. That’s how they’re acting.”

So, whatever happens in the last two games, Wilks has restored the pride in the franchise. I asked him if that should be enough to be seriously considered for the full-time job. “Straight honestly,” he said, “I don’t look at it that way. I’ve done this job before [in Arizona, for one season], and even though it was only for a year, I understand what’s important. Stay in the moment. Win today. Try to beat Tampa. That’s all that matters.”

The Bengals won fairly ugly, but in this stretch, who really cares? Cincinnati bolted to a 22-0 lead at Foxboro and hung on, thanks to one of my Goats of the Week, Rhamondre Stevenson, getting the ball punched out by safety Vonn Bell inside the Bengals’ 10-yard line to clinch the game late. Cincinnati 22, New England 18.

Think of what the Bengals have done in their seven-game winning streak. Every one of those wins except Cleveland at home has come against a team currently fighting for the playoffs, or a team that’s qualified for the playoffs. Amazingly, the Bengals might have the toughest last two games: Buffalo and Baltimore, both at home. The Bengals, 11-4, are a game up on 10-5 Baltimore, but the Ravens own the tiebreaker after a week five win over the Bengals.

When I asked Zac Taylor about it Saturday night, he said, “We keep winning, we’ve won seven in a row, and you look where we are and what’s ahead of us … it may not be enough,” he said.

Seems likely the Bengals will be either the three or five seed. If they lose the division and are fifth, a Wild Card game at Tennessee or Jacksonville awaits. As the three seed, they’d host some team from the seven-team moshpit of AFC teams with eight or seven wins currently. “We qualified for the playoffs Thursday night,” Taylor said, “and the thing I noticed with our team is no one really had any emotion about it. Making the playoffs isn’t good enough for us. And now, going into the playoffs, we can’t afford to lose any games.”

Read more in Peter King’s full Football Morning in America column