On the way to Super Bowl LVII, it has been a long journey for both of these franchises through the course of NFL history.
The Philadelphia Eagles are one of the stalwarts of the NFL, having played their first season in 1933. The Kansas City Chiefs were first known as the Dallas Texans and their franchise opened play in the first season of the American Football League in 1960.
The Chiefs played in the first-ever Super Bowl in 1967 and won their first NFL championship three years later with Hank Stram as coach and Len Dawson at quarterback, and they did it on a frigid January afternoon in New Orleans. The Eagles won their first three NFL titles in 1948, 1949 and 1960 and then didn’t win another until the “Philly Special” propelled them past Bill Belichick’s and Tom Brady’s New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII in 2017.
For the first time, these two franchises will meet in the big game, but there are two much more important firsts, as we have the Lombardi Trophy on the line with two African-American quarterbacks starting for each team, and an African-American female will coach in the game as Autumn Lockwood is an assistant for the Eagles.
Also, two brothers will play on opposite teams in a Super Bowl, as Kansas City tight end Travis Kelce will be up against Philadelphia center Jason Kelce. (Well, not at the same time, unless one of the coaches does something cute.)
As in most Super Bowls, there are many subplots inside the game. Let’s see how many we can find, and if any of them will help you determine who might have an edge in Sunday’s 2022-23 season finale.
NOTE: All lines and totals are provided by Caesars Sportsbook. Lines are as of late Friday, Feb. 10.
(1) KANSAS CITY (16-3, W3, 7-12 ATS) vs. (1) PHILADELPHIA (16-3, W3, 10-9 ATS)
WHEN/WHERE/TV: Sunday at 6:30 p.m. The game will be played at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Ariz. It can be watched on Fox, streamed on the Fox Sports app or streamed on the NFL+ app.
GAME LINE: Eagles -1.5 (Both teams at -110 to bet spread). MONEY LINES: Chiefs (+105), Eagles (-125). TOTAL: 51.
Chiefs road to the championship: Bye in wild-card round; defeated No. 4 Jacksonville (at home), 27-20, on Jan. 21; defeated No. 3 Cincinnati (at home), 23-20, in the AFC championship game on Jan. 29.
Eagles road to the championship: Bye in wild-card round; defeated No. 6 New York Giants (at home), 38-7, on Jan. 21; defeated No. 2 San Francisco (at home), 31-7, on Jan. 29.
Kansas City rankings: 1st in total yards gained (1st passing, 20th rushing); 11th in total yards allowed (18th passing, 8th rushing).
Philadelphia rankings: 3rd in total yards gained (9th passing, 5th rushing); 2nd in total yards allowed (1st passing, 16th rushing).
Previous meeting this season: None. The last time these two teams played one another was Oct. 3, 2021, and Kansas City won in Philadelphia, 42-30.
Weather forecast at game time: State Farm Stadium features a retractable roof and is expected to be open Sunday, as it was for the first two Super Bowls played there in 2008 and 2015. It is expected to be near perfect, with partly cloudy skies and temperatures around 70 with very little wind and no chance of rain.
Entertainment: Chris Stapleton will sing the National Anthem, and Rihanna will perform at halftime.
Carl Cheffers, who is in his 23rd overall season as an NFL official, is the head referee and is in his 15th season in such a capacity. This will be his third Super Bowl as a head referee, having held the assignment in 2017 when the New England Patriots defeated the Atlanta Falcons and in 2021 when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeated the Kansas City Chiefs.
The Eagles are 6-8 all-time when Cheffers officiates their games, including their Week 18 win this season against the New York Giants. The Chiefs are 16-7, including two victories this season – against Las Vegas in Week 5 and Houston in Week 15.
TEAM TRENDS / NOTES
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS
Previous Super Bowls (2-2): I in 1967 (lost to Green Bay, 35-10, in Los Angeles); IV in 1970 (defeated Minnesota, 23-7, in New Orleans); LIV in 2020 (defeated San Francisco, 31-20, in Miami); LV in 2021 (lost to Tampa Bay, 31-9, in Tampa).
AFL championship prior to NFL merger: defeated Houston, 20-17, in December 1960.
This will be the 41st postseason game for the Chiefs in their history and the 19th since Andy Reid took over as head coach before the 2013 season. Kansas City is 11-7 under Reid in the playoffs and 19-21 overall.
In 24 seasons as a head coach, including 14 with Philadelphia, Reid is coaching his 38th playoff game on Sunday with a record of 21-16. Not counting the postseason, he is fifth on the all-time wins list and needs three more next season to tie Tom Landry for fourth place. (He still has quite a way to go to catch No. 1 Don Shula, No. 2 George Halas and No. 3 Bill Belichick.)
Coming into the season, the Chiefs were projected to have the toughest schedule in the NFL – by far. It turned out to be a little easier than projected, and that’s mostly because their division was quite a bit weaker than most experts thought it would be. It’s also because playing the AFC South turned out to be a gift. That being said, Kansas City faced some of the toughest quarterbacks in the league, according to the NFL’s QB rating formula:
Patrick Mahomes is No. 2, and the Chiefs will oppose No. 4 Jalen Hurts in the Super Bowl. They also faced No. 3 Jimmy Garoppolo (won), No. 5 Geno Smith (won), No. 6 Joe Burrow twice (lost and won), No. 8 Josh Allen (lost), No. 10 Trevor Lawrence (won twice), No. 11 Ryan Tannehill and No. 12 Justin Herbert (won twice). By comparison, the highest-rated quarterback Philadelphia has played this season is No. 7 Jared Goff and won by three points. They lost to No. 9 Andy Dalton.
It seems like everyone wants to talk about Kansas City’s offense, but in their three most recent Super Bowl runs in 2019, 2020 and this season, the Chiefs have allowed more than 24 points just twice in eight playoff games – in a 51-31 victory over Houston in an AFC Divisional Game in ’19 and in a 31-9 loss to Tampa Bay in Super Bowl LV two years ago.
While the Chiefs have gained more than 350 yards of total offense in 13 games this season, they haven’t allowed as many as 350 since Week 13 at Cincinnati.
Previous Super Bowls (1-2): XV in 1981 (lost to Oakland, 27-10, in New Orleans); XXXIX in 2005 (lost to New England, 24-21, in Jacksonville); LII in 2018 (defeated New England, 41-33, in Minneapolis).
NFL championships prior to the Super Bowl era: defeated Chicago Cardinals, 28-21, in December 1947; defeated Chicago Cardinals, 7-0, in December 1948; defeated Green Bay Packers, 17-13, in December 1960.
This will be the 50th postseason game for the Eagles in their history. They are 25-24 in their previous outings.
If the team wins the Super Bowl it would mark their 17th victory this season – regular and postseason, which would be a franchise record. They won 16 games in the Super Bowl-winning season of 2017.
The 269 yards of total offense by Philadelphia in the NFC championship game were the second-fewest number of yards gained in any playoff victory in franchise history. (They had 232 in winning the NFL championship in 1948.) It also was the fewest number of yards they had gained in any game this season since losing to Washington in Week 10 when they had 264 yards.
The 164 yards the Eagles allowed to San Francisco in that game were the fewest amount against them since Week 9 of the 2019 season when they gave up the same amount to Chicago in a 22-14 victory (a span of 59 games). Four weeks earlier, they allowed just 128 yards to the New York Jets.
Jalen Hurts rushed for 760 yards in the regular season, which is the 22nd best by a quarterback in the history of the NFL. His 13 touchdowns are second only to Cam Newton’s 14 for the Carolina Panthers in 2011.
The Eagles have the best pass defense (passing yards allowed per game). This will mark the 13th time in league history the team with the top pass defense has made the Super Bowl. The previous teams to do so are 7-5.
CHIEFS vs. EAGLES SERIES
All-time: This is the least-played series in the NFL since the merger in 1970, as they have only met nine times. According to NBC, they are the only teams in the NFL who have been in the league since then who have not played at least 10 times.
Following their 1972 game, the teams did not play one another a single time for 20 years.
The Chiefs lead the overall series, 5-4, including the past three games in the series. The total combined score for the nine games is Eagles 219, Chiefs 218.
The first game between the two teams came on Oct. 22, 1972, and the Eagles won, 21-20.
Andy Reid has never lost in this series (6-0) – having won all three games against the Eagles in 2021, 2017 and 2013 and all three games against the Chiefs as Philly’s coach in 2001, 2005 and 2009.
Each team has a three-game winning streak in the series (as mentioned above), but neither team has won four in a row.
Not only has Kansas City won the past three games, but they have won all of them by at least seven points and by an aggregate score of 95-66.
SUPER BOWL NOTES
This will be the first time since 2014 the No. 1 pass offense will face the No. 1 pass defense in a Super Bowl. The last time it happened, the team with the best defense won the game, as Seattle crushed Peyton Manning and Denver, 43-8, in XLVIII.
This is the first time since 1988, a team from the AFC West will face a team from the NFC East in the Super Bowl. (Washington defeated Denver, 42-10, in XXII.)
The NFC has won the past two Super Bowls (Los Angeles Rams in 2022 and Tampa Bay Bucs in 2021). No conference has won three consecutive Lombardi Trophies since the AFC did it, as New England won in 2015 and 2017 and Denver won Super Bowl 50 in 2016. The NFC hasn’t won three in a row since New Orleans won in 2010, Green Bay won in 2011 and the Giants won in 2012.
The combined spread between the two Super Bowls played in Arizona is seven points, as New England defeated Seattle, 28-24, in XLIX, and the Giants defeated New England, 17-14, in XLII.
Thirty-one of 56 MVPs (55.4 percent) have been quarterbacks, and only five of the past nine. A defensive player or players have been selected nine times, including co-MVP defensive linemen Harvey Martin and Randy White of the Dallas Cowboys in Super Bowl XII. Once, in Super Bowl XXXI in New Orleans, a special teams player was selected, as Green Bay’s Desmond Howard won the award. Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp was named MVP last year.
Of the top 30 all-time most-watched television broadcasts, 29 of them are Super Bowls, including all of the top eight. At No. 9 is the series finale of the CBS hit MASH on Feb. 28, 1983. The most-watched show in the history of network television is Super Bowl XLIX (Feb. 1, 2015) on NBC which had 114.4 million viewers.
(The analysis and predictions are taken from Jim Derry’s Super Bowl LVII picks column on Friday morning. Click on the link to read all his picks, including four prop bets.)
My biggest question about the Super Bowl is – and has always been – do we really need two weeks of hype to talk about how great a matchup we have? Nearly every year it’s the same thing: “This could be one of the greatest Super Bowls ever.” Blah, blah, blah.
Hardly anyone ever says, “This Super Bowl is going to stink and be boring.”
Well, I am here to tell you I think there’s a real chance this one stinks and will be boring. And that’s ahead of time – not at halftime when the talking heads say in near unison, “I never saw this coming.”
For most of the past three months, the Chiefs have been the highest-rated team in football by many, including just about every oddsmaker out there. From mid-October until about 12 days ago, the team with the shortest odds to win the Super Bowl was Kansas City. Then, what happened? The Eagles walloped the quarterback-less 49ers, while the Chiefs nearly needed overtime to beat what possibly could be the second-best team in football.
And? Why did that change the odds and the numbers so much? Makes zero sense to me.
While I most definitely could be wrong about this game potentially being a blowout, I will be super surprised if I am wrong about which team is better and which will win.
I hear the same thing day after day after day: The Eagles’ defense is so darned good. Kansas City hasn’t seen a defense like this. Philly’s skill players are so much better. They’re better in the trenches. Their running game is better. HORSE HOCKEY!
How in the hell could anyone possibly know this? Here’s the full list of quarterbacks the Eagles have defeated on the way to being compared to the 1985 Chicago Bears: Jared Goff (by 3), Kirk Cousins, Carson Wentz, Trevor Lawrence, Kyler Murray (by 3), Cooper Rush, Kenny Pickett, Davis Mills, Matt Ryan (by 1), Aaron Rodgers (until he got hurt, then Jordan Love), Ryan Tannehill (until he got hurt, then Malik Willis), Daniel Jones (until he got hurt, then Tyrod Taylor), Justin Fields (by 5), Davis Webb (who?), Daniel Jones again and, well, the 49ers didn’t have a quarterback for most of the NFC championship game.
They lost to Taylor Heinicke, Andy Dalton and Dak Prescott.
No Josh Allen. No Joe Burrow. No Tom Brady. No Justin Herbert. Hell, not even Derek Carr. The Chiefs played all those quarterbacks and beat all but Allen. They beat Herbert and Carr twice.
There’s no way to know how good Philadelphia truly is. Yes, it’s not their fault their schedule sucked, but what difference does that make?
Meanwhile, we certainly know how good Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs are. And then there’s Andy Reid vs. Nick Sirianni. That’s a whole ’notha story, as I can’t wait until Sirianni panics and goes for it on fourth-and-4 from his own 34 in the second quarter down 10 and hands the Chiefs a gift touchdown.
Besides the futures I already had on the Chiefs, this bet I have added on the money line here is the largest amount I have ever put down on one game EVER, and I have been betting on Super Bowls since I had a nice chunk on the Giants money line to dethrone the undefeated New England Patriots a decade or so ago.
I get why Aunt Mabel and people who don’t know what they’re talking about are taking Philly. (And they’re taking them in droves.) They have always been the “who looked better last week” kind of crowd. I don’t understand how anyone who truly knows anything about football can put any stock in the Eagles.
Maybe they’ll be asking me that question on Sunday at about 9 p.m. But I highly doubt it.
SCORE PREDICTION: Chiefs 27, Eagles 10. (Under 51.)
GAZETTE COVERAGEEnsure access to everything we do, today and every day, check out our subscribe page at DailyGazette.com/Subscribe
More from The Daily Gazette:
Categories: Upstate Action