Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes speaks during an NFL football Super Bowl media availability in Scottsdale, Arizona, Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2023. The Chiefs will play against the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl 57 on Sunday. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin ) Ross D. Franklin AP
This year’s Super Bowl features a rare matchup of the NFL’s top two teams from the regular season.
The Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs were the only winners of 14 games in the league, marking just the sixth time since the 1970 merger that the teams with sole possession of the top two regular season records have met for the championship .
The last time it happened was after the 2013 season, when Seattle beat Denver 43-8 in a 13-win team matchup.
That blowout was relatively typical of these encounters, with the winning margin averaged 21 points in the previous five powerhouse matchups.
The closest game came was Washington’s 37-24 victory over Buffalo after the 1991 season. In the three others, San Francisco beat Miami 38-16 after the 1984 season, Dallas beat Denver 27-10 to to finish the 1977 season and Oakland beat Minnesota 32-14 the previous year.
Since seeding began in 1975, this marks the 15th time each conference’s top team has made it to the Super Bowl. The last time came after the 2017 season when the Eagles won their first Super Bowl championship by beating New England 41-33.
This also marks the third time both Super Bowl teams have won at least 14 games in the regular season, though both Kansas City and Philadelphia needed wins in the added 17th game to get there. Atlanta and Denver did it in 16-game seasons in 1998, and Miami and San Francisco in 1984.
The Chiefs and Eagles also controlled the entire postseason with no playoff deficit. The only other times both Super Bowl teams did that was in the 2004 season (Patriots vs. Eagles), 1991 season (Bills vs. Washington), and 1966 season (Packers vs. Chiefs).
AIR IT OUT
Patrick Mahomes will attempt to do something that has never been done before in the NFL by following up on a regular season where he led the league with a Super Bowl title.
Mahomes threw for 5,250 yards during the regular season—511 more than second-place Justin Herbert for the biggest difference between first and second since Kurt Warner beat Peyton Manning by 699 yards in 2001.
The only player to reach the Super Bowl after throwing more yards than Mahomes in the regular season was Manning, with a record of 5,477 in 2013. His Broncos lost 43-8 to Seattle in the Super Bowl.
That was one of six times before Mahomes that the league-leading player in yards-passing made it to the Super Bowl, losing all of them. The others were Tom Brady (2017 season), Brady (2007), Rich Gannon (2002), Warner (2001), and Dan Marino (1984).
Chiefs coach Andy Reid joins Dan Reeves as the only coaches to face a franchise in the Super Bowl that they previously took to the big game.
Reid coached the Eagles to their second Super Bowl after the 2004 season before being fired after the 2012 season. He quickly built Kansas City into a powerhouse and is now poised for his fourth Super Bowl appearance as head coach – the ninth coach to reach that mark.
Reid will hope for better luck in his rematch than Reeves had after the 1998 season against a Denver organization he had led to the Super Bowl in the 1986, ’87 and ’89 seasons before losing all three. The Broncos defeated Reeves and the Atlanta Falcons 34-19 in the Super Bowl.
Two other coaches faced their former teams in the Super Bowl and finished on the winning side: Jon Gruden led Tampa Bay past the Raiders after the 2002 season and Weeb Ewbank coached the Jets to a massive upset over the Colts after the 1968 season.
The Eagles will be the sixth franchise to reach the Super Bowl under four coaches, with Nick Sirianni joining Doug Pederson, Reid and Dick Vermeil.
The Raiders, 49ers, Colts and Rams all achieved it with four coaches, and the Broncos did it with a record five.
AMAZING TIGHT END
Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce has built a playoff career perhaps only surpassed by all-time best receiver in Jerry Rice.
Kelce has 127 catches in 17 career playoff games for 1,467 yards and 15 touchdowns. The only player to surpass either of those numbers was Rice, with 151 catches for 2,245 yards and 22 TDs in 29 playoff games.
The Mahomes-Kelce connection is also one of the best, with their 13 TD passes in the playoffs trailing only the 15 Tom Brady threw to Rob Gronkowski.
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