Written By: Kathleen Scarola
On the 12th of February, approximately 113.06 million viewers tuned in to watch one of America’s favorite longstanding pastimes and traditions: the Super Bowl. This year’s game set the Kansas City Chiefs against the Philadelphia Eagles, with key players such as Patrick Mahomes (KC, quarterback), Travis Kelce (KC, tight end), Kadarius Toney (KC, punt returner) and Jalen Hurts (Eagles, quarterback). These individuals went on to set new records and make groundbreaking plays for their particular teams throughout the course of the game, increasing viewer captivation with each new turn of events in a tightly contested game that ended with a Chiefs 38-35 victory.
Not all viewers tune in for the actual sports component of the night however, with many switching the channel just to catch the year’s much-anticipated halftime performance. This year’s halftime show featured Rihanna, whose entertaining 14-minute act has already become something of an internet sensation alongside her surprise pregnancy announcement. Prior to kickoff, singer Kenneth Brian Edmonds (better known by his stage name Babyface) also performed “America the Beautiful,” followed shortly thereafter by eight-time Grammy winner and country music singer-songwriter Chris Stapleton performing the national anthem.
According to Fox Sports, the Eagles had been favored to win over the Chiefs, while leading NFL betting sites favored Kansas City. The Super Bowl brings the best against the best each season, so predictions often vary.
The first quarter passed by in a fairly uneventful manner with both teams scoring a touchdown, bringing the score at the end of the first to 7-7. The game began to pick up dramatically in the second quarter and after the halftime show. Despite a few major missed and incomplete passes on the Eagles end, the team was able to pull ahead 10 points from the Chiefs. It was also during the second quarter that Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes re-sprained his ankle, which was a pre-existing injury since the Chiefs’ divisional win over the Jacksonville Jaguars. Mahomes left the field briefly, but returned soon afterwards despite his evident pain. His efforts were partially in vain due to poor defense on the Chiefs’ end and several aggressive offensive Eagles runs and passes. Four seconds before halftime, the Eagles were able to score a 35-yard field goal, giving them a 17-7 lead Chiefs. However, this 10-point deficit would not be the end of the Chiefs, who emerged in new spirits going into the third quarter.
As previously mentioned, not all viewers tune in for the actual sports component of night. The longstanding Super Bowl Pepsi Halftime Show (now renamed to the Apple Halftime Show) showcased Rhianna this year, who has already become something of an internet and meme sensation as a result of her widely popular performance. As CBS Sports claimed, “It was a brilliant combination of hits, surprises and the show included both slower dramatic songs that crescendoed into her uptempo hits.” Between popular songs, entertaining dancers, and “levitating” platforms high in the stadium, Rhianna’s performance was certainly one to remember.
Going into the third quarter, the Chiefs found a new gear and began to play with a new vehemence with the intent of changing the 10-point difference. In what could have resulted in a decisive change in results however, Philly’s 22-yard pass on the right sideline was challenged by Kansas City head coach Andy Reid after it looked as if the receiver fumbled the ball. However, the call remained upheld which left Philly within field goal range. Both teams continued to put points on the board, bringing the score at the end of the third to 27-21.
Fourth quarter began with a Chiefs touchdown not long after the clock started, tying up the score at 28-28. The infamous “Kansas City Cry,” which could be heard throughout the course of the entire game, reached a new extent as the game continued along with each new nail-biting development. It was Kadarius Toney’s punt return, however, that would secure the beginning of the end for the Eagles. In what is currently the longest punt return in Super Bowl history, Toney ran 65 yards before he was stopped mere feet away from the endzone.
Kansas City proceeded to score another touchdown which allowed them to pull ahead for the first time all game, with the score at 35-28. The Eagles were quick to reply with a 46-yard pass and a touchdown of their own, which tied the game up once more at 35-35 with five minutes left in the game. Both teams continued to fight neck and neck and were still tied at the two-minute mark. With eight seconds left, the Chiefs managed to get within field goal range and finally score the winning field goal, leaving the score 38-35 Eagles. The last few seconds of the game ended rather quickly and uneventfully aside from an Eagles failed Hail Mary pass, which secured the Super Bowl LVII for the Kansas City Chiefs.
Following the team’s victory, Kansas City MVP starting quarterback Patrick Mahomes said, “You’re like a little kid winning a prize at the fair, whereas this one, you have dealt with failure. You understand how hard it is to get back on this stage and to win this game. To have a full, brand-new team, and go through the strain of getting better and better every single day, it gives you a greater appreciation for winning this game.”