Championship Weekend: AFC and NFC


Megan McKay, Staff writer

The stage is officially set for Super Bowl LVII as the Kansas City Chiefs face off against the Philadelphia Eagles. The Super Bowl will be played Feb. 12 at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. The Kansas City Chiefs defeated the Cincinnati Bengals, 23-20 in a thriller to secure the AFC title. 2020 Heisman Trophy winner and current Ben-gals quarterback Joe Burrow was looking to make it to his second consecutive Super Bowl game after losing last year in the championship, 23-20 to the LA Rams. However, Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes put together a legendary performance and finally defeated Joe Burrow for the first time. Even after suffering an ankle injury a week prior, Mahomes completed 29 of 43 passes for 326 yards and two touchdowns in the contest, and Mahomes was exceptional. Many were upset with the referees calls in the final minutes as the title game ended with Ben-gals defensive end Joseph Ossai left crying on the bench after his late push of an out-of-bounds Mahomes. Mahomes now has 32 career touchdown passes in the play-offs, matching Dan Marino for the eighth-most in NFL history. Mahomes is now the youngest quarterback in league history to win double-digit playoff games. Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce also made history after catching seven passes for 78 yards and a touchdown. Kelce now has the second-most receiving yards (1,467) in NFL postseason history, trailing only Jerry Rice (2,245). His 17 consecutive playoff games with three or more receptions marks the longest streak in league his-tory. Mahomes and Kelce have now connected for 13 career touchdowns in the postseason, making them the second-most productive duo in NFL playoff history. Only the New England Patriots’ Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski (15 touchdowns) teamed up for more scores in the play-offs. This duo will be a force to be reckoned with for the Eagles in this year’s Super Bowl. Kansas City is now headed back to the Super Bowl for the third time in the last four sea-sons, continuing a remarkable run of success that is unprecedented in franchise history. The Chiefs have shown no signs of slowing down as they will have an opportunity to win a third Lombardi Trophy. On the other side of the map in the NFC Championship game the San Francisco 49ers faced off against the Philadelphia Eagles. In a more dominant fashion the Eagles trailed over the 49ers in a 31-7 victory. The championship game was anticlimactic and after the 49ers first series, when starting quarterback Brock Purdy went down with an elbow injury and San Francisco had to resort to their fourth quarter-back this season, Josh Johnson, it was over early. It was overall a challenging offensive performance for the 49ers as the Eagles’ defense dominated them in every phase. Kenneth Gainwell led the Eagles in rushing with 48 yards on 14 carries. Dallas Goedert led all pass catchers with five receptions for 23 yards. Eagles QB Jalen Hurts was also a prominent factor as he had one of Philadelphia’s four rushing touchdowns. Hurts is making history by leading the Eagles to their fourth Super Bowl appearance in franchise history. According to the network, the conference title game drew 47.5 million viewers, becoming its most-watched telecast of any kind since last year’s NFC championship. The broadcast peaked at 52.3 million viewers and was the second most-streamed NFL game in Fox Sports’ history. According to analysts the Chiefs have a slight edge over the Eagles with Mahomes as their QB, who has already won a Su-per Bowl and MVP award. How-ever, the Eagles have high-level offensive abilities especially with their running backs. The Eagles also have the up-per hand with wide receivers AJ Brown, DeVonta Smith, and Quez Watkins. Brown and Smith have been considered to be the best WR duo in the NFL. Chiefs Kelce will also be a major difference maker as he has already become one of the best tight ends in NFL history. The Eagles also have a deep-er defensive line rotation which puts the Chiefs in a tough spot offensively. There are a few historic firsts of this year’s Super Bowl. Patrick Mahomes and Jalen Hurts will be the first black quarterbacks to face-off in Super Bowl history, while Jason and Travis Kelce brothers are set to be the first siblings to compete against each other in a Super Bowl.