Star quarterback Patrick Mahomes led the Kansas City Chiefs to their first Super Bowl triumph in 50 years with an impressive race to catch up. In the thrilling final of the National Football League, the Chiefs prevailed 31:20 against the San Francisco 49ers and their German professional Mark Nzeocha. Kansas City celebrated their first title in Miami since 1970. The 49ers, however, have to wait for their sixth win in the Super Bowl and remain behind the record winners New England Patriots and Pittsburgh Steelers.
The 30-year-old Franconian Nzeocha missed out on becoming the third German to win the title at the world’s largest individual sports event. So far, only Sebastian Vollmer and Markus Koch have secured the coveted winner’s ring for the champions.
Catching up in the last quarter
In the last quarter, the Chiefs were already 10:20 behind. Although two of his passes had previously been intercepted by the opponent, Mahomes was not deterred and put his team in the lead with two touchdown passes. In addition, the 24-year-old ran a ball himself into the end zone in his first Super Bowl. Mahomes is the second youngest champion as quarterback after Ben Roethlisberger.
For a long time it looked like a triumph for Nzeocha & Co. With a concentrated gaze, the 30-year-old stood at the edge of the game shortly before the game in the US anthem sung by Demi Lovato. Right on the first move, Nzeocha was on the lawn. Especially when the ball was kicked long across the field, it was used in San Francisco. His family around wife Taylor, son Cameron James with headphones and the three brothers watched the game from the stands.
Nzeocha celebrated the 3-0 lead of his 49ers with a field goal – a successful kick through the bars – from Robbie Gould. But with the deficit, Chiefs playmaker Mahomes slowly gained momentum. Shortly before the end of the first quarter, he himself ran the ball over a yard for the first touchdown and the 7: 3 into the end zone.
For the first time, the 49ers were behind in these playoffs – and made the first serious mistake. Under pressure from the opposing defense, quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo threw a desperate pass, the flutter ball was easily intercepted by Chiefs defender Bashaud Breeland.
Kansas City Chiefs players celebrate their victory. (Wilfredo Lee / dpa)
The 28-year-old Garoppolo has more Super Bowl experience than Mahomes, but in his two final wins with the New England Patriots he was not used as a substitute for Tom Brady. But Garoppolo also proved that he had not led San Francisco to the Super Bowl by accident. With the successful pass to Kyle Juszczyk, the 49ers equalized at 10:10 before the acclaimed halftime show of the two pop singers Shakira and Jennifer Lopez.
It was only the fourth time that both teams started the second half of the Super Bowl with equal points. And it stayed exciting. After 13:10 for the 49ers, Mahomes also made a mistake. For the first time in this knockout round, a pass was intercepted by him. While the most valuable player of the past season weakened unusually, Garoppolo became more and more secure. He made twelve passes in a row to his teammates, running back Raheem Mostert made it 20:10.
The 49ers took advantage of Mahomes’ next weakness. But even his second interception did not bother the 24-year-old, on the contrary. With the precision of a great champion, Mahomes led his attack twice into the opposing end zone. San Francisco still had the chance to counterattack – but Garoppolo couldn’t find his teammates with his passports. With a touchdown run over 38 yards of space, Damien Williams removed the last doubts about the Chiefs victory. (dpa)