MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — Patrick Mahomes had two goals when he became the starting quarterback for the Kansas City Chiefs.
The first was to win the Lamar Hunt Trophy, awarded annually to the AFC champion, which Mahomes and the Chiefs earned two weeks ago and advanced them to Super Bowl LIV against the NFC champion San Francisco 49ers.
“The second most important thing was to get Coach (Andy) Reid a Super Bowl trophy,” Mahomes said minutes after Kansas City achieved just that with a 31-20 come-from-behind win over the 49ers late Sunday at Hard Rock Stadium.
“He’s one of the greatest coaches of all time. I don’t think he needed the Lombardi Trophy to prove that, but to do that, it just puts all doubt aside. He’s going to be listed as one of the all-time great coaches whenever he wants to be done, which I hope is not anytime soon.”
Reid, the lovable 21-year NFL head coach and former BYU lineman who’d lost in conference championship games five times and in the Super Bowl once prior to Sunday night, finally had his long-awaited trophy.
“I told (my team) that I would coach another 20 years if I could have that group right there,” Reid said, while also sharing his congratulations with the Hunt family, owners of the Kansas City franchise, and Chiefs fans. “They’re a beautiful bunch, resilient, tough-minded, as you saw tonight.”
Kansas City’s Super Bowl victory came in heart-stopping fashion.
The Chiefs scored 21 points in the final 6:13, a rally started in essence by a 44-yard pass from Mahomes, the Super Bowl MVP who threw for 219 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions while adding another score on the ground. Mahomes found Tyreek Hill on a third-and-15 play with just over seven minutes remaining. At the time, the 49ers led 20-10, but that led to a Travis Kelce 1-yard score.
Kansas City running back Damien Williams, who expressed his desire earlier in the week to cement Reid’s legacy, then scored the go-ahead touchdown, on a 5-yard pass from Mahomes with 2:44 to play, and iced the contest with a 38-yard touchdown run 1:32 later.
“It’s been a long time coming for him,” Kansas City safety Tyrann Mathieu said of Reid. “He gives us that confidence, he lets us be ourselves and he has created this culture that it’s all about family, that it’s all about team. We can feel that.”
The Chiefs endured, giving up 17 straight points to the 49ers, part of that damage being inflicted by a former BYU defender, Fred Warner, whose third-quarter interception helped lead to a 49ers touchdown that put San Francisco up 20-10.
After watching his team struggle time and again on third downs — the Chiefs were 1 of 6 on third down in the first half — it was Mahomes’ improbable third-down pass to Hill midway through the final quarter that helped revitalize Reid and the Chiefs, as well as their third-year quarterback.
“He kept firing, that’s what he did,” Reid said of Mahomes. “The guys around him just believed in him. We all did. And then our defense had a couple great stands in there.”
Reid became the third BYU tie to win a Super Bowl as a head coach, the first since Brian Billick led the Baltimore Ravens to the title in Super Bowl XXXV. Since then, Reid lost in Super Bowl XXXIX with the Philadelphia Eagles and Mike Holmgren came up short with the Seattle Seahawks a year later.
Holmgren, who was BYU’s quarterbacks coach from 1982-85, became the first former Cougar to win the Super Bowl as a head coach, leading the Green Bay Packers past the New England Patriots 35-21 back in 1997. Reid was an offensive assistant on that Packers team.
“The work he puts in day in and day out, he gets there at like 3 in the morning and leaves at 11. I don’t think he sleeps. I’ve tried to beat him in, and I never can. He’s someone who works harder than I’ve ever known,” Mahomes said of his coach.
It’s a work ethic that spreads to the team and began months ago.
“We started this back in August in St. Joe’s and the way we practice in camp is tough and hard,” Chiefs fullback Anthony Sherman said. “The reason Coach Reid does that is so that he knows the kind of guys that he has here in this moment right now and your mindset, your attitude and the way they are going to finish.”
Mahomes sees a solid foundation in Kansas City.
“With the coach that we have, I think we have a chance to be good year in and year out,” Mahomes said. “Like I said, it’s not going to be easy.”
For Reid, the celebration Sunday night was going to be simple.
“I’m going to have a double cheeseburger tonight with extra cheese,” Reid joked, then added, “I’m going to enjoy it with family and the team, that’s what I’m going to do.”