LAS VEGAS (AP) — The Kansas City Chiefs beat the San Francisco 49ers 25-22 in overtime in a Super Bowl unlike any other. Here's a look at a few topics that will linger in the aftermath:
BEST SUPER BOWL EVER?
This Super Bowl will likely go down as one of the most memorable, given Taylor Swift's involvement and the fact that it was in Las Vegas for the first time. Throw in Kansas City winning back-to-back titles — a rare accomplishment — and Patrick Mahomes' late brilliance, and it was a classic.
But it wasn't the most well-played game, with both teams losing big turnovers and neither offense really doing much until the end, when fatigue might have been a factor.
BEST TEAM EVER?
It's in play now for the Chiefs, who have reached four Super Bowls in five years and won three of them. Now they'll go for something nobody — not Joe Montana's 49ers or Tom Brady's Patriots — has done. Kansas City can win a third consecutive Super Bowl.
That might seem unlikely, but so did this championship for most of the season. The Chiefs went the whole second half of the AFC championship game and the whole first half of the Super Bowl without a touchdown. If they could manage to win it all anyway, what does it take to beat them?
“Battling through the adversity that we went through this year, and the guys staying with the process, keeping believing," Mahomes said. "You never know how it’s going to happen, and to be able to go play three great teams to get to this game and play another great team, and win all those games, it was a true road in the playoffs, and we were able to come through and be Super Bowl champs.”
BEST QB EVER?
Mahomes has a while to go before he can match Tom Brady's longevity and career accomplishments, but he may have an even better resume than the New England quarterback did at the same age. Mahomes has three Super Bowl titles at age 28 and was the MVP in each of those wins. When he was 28, Brady had won three Super Bowls and been MVP for two.
But at that age, Brady hadn't won any regular-season MVPs, and Mahomes already has two.
BEST CELEBRITY FAN EVER?
Taylor Swift's fiercest loyalists might claim that she was the good luck charm that brought Kansas City another championship. Even if you're not buying that, there's no denying that her relationship with Travis Kelce added some buzz to what was a fairly drab regular season for the Chiefs.
Then they went on their postseason run, culminating in an almost perfect storm of sports and pop culture intersecting at the Super Bowl. Maybe Kelce and Swift will be back at the Super Bowl next year, too, but the NFL and Chiefs fans shouldn't take for granted the sequence of events that unfolded over the past few months.
BEST HOST CITY EVER?
Now we're definitely in the realm of the subjective, but the first Super Bowl in Las Vegas was a hit among many fans — some of whom came to town even if they weren't sure they'd be able to get into the game.
The demand for tickets made it clear how popular a site this was. And as sports leagues embrace Las Vegas more and more, it's a question of when, not if, more events like this come to town.
The 49ers were about as close to a championship as you can be without winning it, and coach Kyle Shanahan is still chasing a title after losing another Super Bowl. He's been on the wrong end of the only two Super Bowls to go to overtime — this one and Super Bowl 51, which he lost as an offensive coordinator for the Atlanta Falcons.
Shanahan is one of the game's most influential offensive minds, but this wasn't one of his masterpieces. The 49ers got 160 total yards from Christian McCaffrey, but two touchdowns and three field goals weren't enough for San Francisco to win. And Shanahan's decision to take the ball first in overtime raised some eyebrows.
Meanwhile, Kansas City's Andy Reid won his third Super Bowl title.
HIS FINEST HOUR?
What a career defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo has put together. When he was with the 2007 New York Giants, he helped take down previously unbeaten New England in the Super Bowl. Now he's won three titles with the Chiefs.
With Mahomes and the offense no longer lighting up opposing secondaries like in the past, the pressure was on Spagnuolo's defense. It delivered, holding Lamar Jackson and Baltimore to 10 points in the AFC championship game and then keeping Kansas City in it against the 49ers until the offense got rolling late.
There was talk about whether Usher's halftime show might be overshadowed by Swift's presence in the crowd, but he delivered a set with several highlights, including appearances by Alicia Keys, H.E.R., Jermaine Dupri, Lil Jon and Ludacris.
MVP Lamar Jackson may have taken home the biggest prize at NFL Honors this week, but the Houston Texans look like a team to watch going forward. They swept the Rookie of the Year awards for offense and defense with quarterback C.J. Stroud and defensive lineman Will Anderson Jr.
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Noah Trister, The Associated Press