When the NFL decided that Las Vegas would host the Super Bowl for the first time, there was some backlash from fans. But the league now has the perfect example of why it’s the perfect venue for such an occasion, as everything Vegas stands for bled onto the field and produced an absolute classic.
Being ahead, falling behind, breaking even, both the San Francisco 49ers and the Kansas City Chiefs experienced it all at Super Bowl LVIII.
Some say Vegas is where dreams are made, and for Mecole Hardman that was certainly the case. The wide receiver traded from the Chiefs to the New York Jets in the offseason, but after being neglected by the organization he was offered a way out by his former team.
“I think he brings another spark of energy,” said Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs quarterback when his friend returned. “You all see Mecole, he always has a smile on his face, and for him to be there in that locker room, you can just feel the energy.”
It’s safe to say that with less than 10 seconds remaining in overtime, Hardman had the biggest smile out of 61,000 inside Allegiant Stadium, as he was wide open in the end zone and won his third Super Bowl ring. It was a crushing defeat for the Niners, but it’s something they’re getting used to.
At the end of it all there can only be one winner, and with Taylor Swift in the crowd watching boyfriend Travis Kelce, her song “Karma” told the story. Just like in Super Bowl LIV, the Niners held the lead until a Mahomes-inspired drive snatched the Vince Lombardi Trophy.
After Jake Moody kicked a 55-yard field goal and Christian McCaffrey found the end zone, it looked like it would finally go the Niners’ way. But then the Chiefs responded with three Harrison Butker field goals, and a Marquez Valdes-Scantling touchdown following a huge mistake from punt-returner Ray-Ray McCloud.
But the Niners found an extra gear, something they didn’t have last time. Jauan Jennings then found the end zone himself to put the Niners ahead in another incredible twist, although Moody missed his extra point attempt, something that ended up being the difference.
Moody made partial amends with another field goal to put the Niners up by three, but Butker’s effort in the last second tied things up once more. The Chiefs then went on to win in overtime, right at the very last second, but with the completed extra point the Niners would have ended their 29-year wait for success.
Perhaps it was destiny, Swift did fly all the way from Tokyo, Japan to be at the Super Bowl on Sunday. The 2023 NFL season has been all about Swift, Kelce, and the Chiefs, and once again they will be the talking point at the end of it all.
Swift and Kelce won’t have long to celebrate, with the singer due to perform in Australia on Feb. 16. But the “Love Story” from the past nine months has it’s happy ending.
It was meant to be Usher’s special day, as he performed with Alicia Keys and other special guests at his halftime show. But Taylor once again is the talking point, and now Kelce can enjoy his first offseason with his new girlfriend.