By Zach Jacovini
The NFC champion Philadelphia Eagles will face the AFC champion Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl 57 on Sunday, Feb. 12 for the right to take home the ever-coveted Lombardi Trophy.
While both teams were consistently two of the best in their respective conferences this season, both finishing as number one overall seeds, the way by which these two teams arrived in Glendale, Arizona for Super Bowl 57 could not be more different.
How the Chiefs Got Here
Kansas City is no stranger to playing in football’s ultimate contest, as this is the third Super Bowl they have played in under already legendary quarterback Patrick Mahomes. Kansas City, despite the loss of all-world receiver Tyreek Hill, still managed to put together an impressive regular season, finishing 14-3.
After clinching home-field advantage and the number one seed, the Chiefs entered the post-season with Super Bowl aspirations and the MVP favorite as their signal-caller. However, things can change quickly in the NFL, and in the AFC Divisional Round versus the Jacksonville Jaguars, Patrick Mahomes suffered a high-ankle sprain early in the game after finding himself collapsed by two Jaguar defenders.
Despite suffering what is commonly considered to be a multiple-week injury, Mahomes impressively was able to stay in the game after being evaluated by trainers at halftime and was able to defeat the Jaguars. The very next week, an even tougher task awaited Mahomes and his Chiefs, their newest rival and the team that had knocked them out of the playoffs on their own home-field the previous year, the Joe Burrow led Cincinnati Bengals.
Joe Burrow, a top signal-caller himself, had previously been 3-0 against Mahomes and the Chiefs, and that along with an already injured Mahomes had many experts believing that the Chiefs would fall victim to the Bengals again. However, in what many would consider one of the most controversial NFL games of the entire season, late in the fourth quarter with the game tied, Mahomes suffered a now infamous late hit while scrambling towards the sideline by Bengals defensive end Joseph Ossai. This drew a 15-yard penalty, and with that Harrison Butker was able to knock in a field goal to send the Chiefs to the Super Bowl.
While the Chiefs are currently seen as underdogs in the contest according to most betting markets, Chiefs fans still are remaining confident in their squads chances of chances? Why is this some may ask, look no further than Patrick Mahomes.
Jack MacFarlane, a senior economics major, has been a Chiefs fan for the last decade, and he’s confident that his team's quarterback can lead them to victory.
“I think that the game is certainly going to be a dog-fight,” MacFarlane said. “The Eagles have been dominating in the trenches all year, but the Chiefs are good in the trenches as well, and they sport one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL in Patrick Mahomes. He is one tough dude to beat.”
How the Eagles got here
Philadelphia, considered by many to be the NFL’s best team all-season long, arrives in Glendale, Arizona seemingly on a mission. Led by superstar quarterback and MVP finalist Jalen Hurts, the Eagles are a heavy-weight boxer that can beat their opponents in any way they choose to.
Whether it’s through a ground and pound rushing attack like their divisional round beating of the New York Giants, or a pass heavy big-play offense where their thousand yard receivers (A.J. Brown and Devonta Smith) are able to use their extreme athleticism to make contested catches, the Eagles can beat their opponents in any way they need to.
Through the excellent play of Philadelphia’s all-world offensive and defensive lines, the Eagles have steamrolled their way through the NFL playoffs so far. In the divisional round, the Eagles took on their long-time rival New York Giants, and while many believed the streaking Giants could give the number-one seeded Eagles a run for their money, the Eagles quickly took the air out of the Giants, with the game essentially being over by halftime as the Eagles led 28-0. Philadelphia finished the game the same way they started, running up and down the field versus the overmatched Giants defense, finishing with a final score of 38-7.
Their next game was considered by many to be their most difficult all season long, as the vaunted San Francisco 49ers defense was coming to town. Pro-bowl linebacker Hassan Reddick quickly put the 49ers chances of winning to rest, knocking out both quarterback Brock Purdy and quarterback Josh Johnson as part of a two sack effort in the first-half alone. The Eagles, while finishing the regular season on a somewhat low-note due to injuries and questionable play calling, have put all questions to bed on if they have what it takes to go all the way, and look like a team on a mission to bring the Lombardi trophy back to Philadelphia.
Unlike their last trip to the Super Bowl in the 2017-2018 season, the Eagles have a fully healthy roster and are looked upon by many to be the favorites to win this contest. This is for good reason, as top to bottom the Eagles are a team full of talented, team first players who are focused on one thing, finishing the job.
Ryan Kurtz, an undeclared freshman, has been an Eagles fanatic all his life, and he’s highly confident that his team will emerge victorious when Super Bowl 57 is over.
“I think that the Eagles are going to win the Super Bowl, specifically because of our defense,” Kurtz said. “I just cannot see their offensive line keeping up with our defensive line for all four quarters, and I think that will end up being the game changer.”
Safety Chauncey Gardner-Johnson versus tight end Travis Kelce
Wide Receiver A.J. Brown versus defensive back Lajarius Sneed
Eagles offensive line versus Chiefs defensive line
Eagles defensive line versus Chiefs offensive line
Quarterback Patrick Mahomes versus Eagles defensive backs James Bradberry and Darius Slay
Chiefs head coach Andy Reid versus Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni
Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts versus Chiefs linebackers Nick Bolton and Willie Gay