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Standing on the sidelines, drenched after being traditionally doused with a large vat of colored sports drink, the coach waited for the final seconds to tick down to zero before he could finally relax. Then, in that moment he was again covered, this time in the adulation of his fellow coaching staff. They hugged, cheered, and even a tear was shed. It was the culmination of not just this season’s hard work, but over two decades of being in the hot seat. His legacy now cemented, a place in the Hall of Fame was likely even before this moment; now, it’s almost a certainty.
Andy Reid is the epitome of hard work. Not suggesting that other head coaches are slackers, but when you study for as long and as hard as he, then the rewards surely come. In the warm Miami night, Reid’s work ethic paid dividends. He didn’t coach the perfect game, but he had his team believe they could win. They’ve been believing for the past month when coming from behind in their two playoff games, one of which was the second largest postseason comeback in history.
The Kansas City Chiefs play caller was humble as always he wasn’t ready to talk his own merits, “You know I don’t care about that, man. I really don’t. This is a pure team sport, I love that part of it, that why I got in it. I didn’t get in it for any other reason than to win games and to win them with great people.” He has indeed got great people around him, from the owners, whose family have been synonymous with the NFL from the very start, to his bright, talented team. The brightest of all, perhaps, is his quarterback, who could very well be the face of the league for many years to come.
Patrick Mahomes didn’t seem to let the occasion get to him, even after two interceptions off his passing, something that had been as rare as hens’ teeth. Instead he stuck to the plan, knowing that if he kept his poise, he too would get what was due. The 24-year-old was named the game’s MVP, the third youngest to receive that accolade, after a stunning fourth quarter display that saw his team come back from 20-10 down to score three touchdowns sweeping aside the San Francisco 49ers. “We never lost faith; I think that’s the biggest thing. Everybody on this team, nobody had their head down. And we believed in each other. That’s what we preached all year long.”
Tied at 10-10 at the interval, one which saw Latino artists Jennifer Lopez and Shakira wow the crowd with an energetic show, the Niners started to look imperious as their lauded defense started to take a firm grip. Finding themselves down 10-3 early, San Francisco scored 17 unanswered points, punctuated by Raheem Mostert running in from a yard out with little over two minutes to play in the third quarter. That’s when Mahomes started to weave his magic, throwing two touchdowns in under four minutes to put the Chiefs ahead. Niners quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo still had time to put himself in Super Bowl folklore, “Those of the moment you dream of and everything. We got rolling on a right note and just couldn’t finish it off.” The drive to go ahead was ended when he was sacked on fourth down. Shortly after the game was sealed when Damien Williams rumbled down the left sideline from 38 yards out. “It’s tough, I mean, I’ve never had this feeling before. Kind of an unreal feeling.” Garoppolo said.
With the sun fully set and darkness surrounding the bright lights of the Hard Rock Stadium, coach Andy Reid was now in his element. Fielding all the media questions was light relief now that he could hold the Vince Lombardi Trophy. When asked how he would celebrate he smiled and quipped that he would “get the biggest cheeseburger you’ve ever seen. Might be a double.”