The Kansas Chiefs are back in the Super Bowl.

After winning the NFL title in 2020 and falling to Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2021, they were denied a third straight appearance last season by the Cincinnati Bengals, losing at home in the AFC championship game.

The rematch this past Sunday was a tough, controversial battle with social media posts and sports talk shows claiming that poor officiating that favored the Chiefs had as much to do with their 23-20 victory over the Bengals than the players. But in the end, Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker’s 45-yard field goal with three seconds remaining sent his team to Super Bowl 57 in Glendale, AZ, on Feb. 12 to face the NFC champions, the Philadelphia Eagles.
It will be a historic matchup, as the game will feature two Black starting quarterbacks for the first time. Patrick Mahomes will be under center for the Chiefs, and Jalen Hurts will operate the Eagles’ offense. Mahomes led the Chiefs to a 31-20 victory over the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl 54 in 2019, becoming the third starting Black quarterback to win the game. Washington’s Doug Williams was the first in 1988, followed by Russell Wilson with the Seattle Seahawks in 2014.

“I’ve watched them all year long,” said Mahomes about the Eagles after the Chiefs topped the Bengals. “Great quarterback. Great entire team. It’s going to be a great challenge for us, but I’m going to celebrate this one first.”

Playing with a right high ankle sprain suffered the previous Sunday versus the Jacksonville Jaguars, Mahomes was magical against the Bengals, going 29-43 for 326 yards and two touchdowns. His scramble in the final seconds of the game gave the Chiefs a prime opportunity for the win. He was shoved in his back by Joseph Ossai while already out of bounds and the Bengals linebacker was flagged for a 15-yard penalty, moving the Chiefs into position for the game clinching kick.

“The defense got stops for us,” Mahomes noted. “I knew I was going to do whatever I could to get us in field-goal range.” Ossai was clearly distraught as television shots showed him on the Bengals bench.

“We’re not going to make it about one play. There was plenty of plays we left on the field today that could have put us in a better position,” said Bengals coach Zac Taylor. “The character of this football team, that’s never going to change. We’ve got the right people in the locker room, the right men leading this team and this organization.” 

The Bengals will be thinking about what could have been all offseason while the Chiefs look to add another Super Bowl to their trophy case.

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