It was a Super Bowl for the ages.
On Sunday, February 12, the Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles went to battle in one of the most entertaining championship football games in recent (and long-term) memory. Combining for 73 points, the league’s top-two teams duked it out on the gridiron to the tune of 757 offensive yards, 46 first downs, and just four punts. Yes, it was that good of a game.
The game also featured the first ever instance of two Black starting quarterbacks facing off against one another in the final game of the playoffs. 24-year-old Jalen Hurts led the way for Philadelphia with four touchdowns (three rushing, one passing) and over 300 passing yards, while 27-year-old Patrick Mahomes put on another clinic with a 78 percent completion rate to go along with three touchdowns of his own.
The back-and-forth contest produced a come-from-behind victory for Kansas on a 27-yard Harrison Butker field goal with just eight seconds left on the clock, as Mahomes and the Chiefs won their second Super Bowl in four years, 38-35.
Just two weeks after a gutsy performance against Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals in the AFC Championship game, Mahomes put it all on the line once again as he battled through the game, despite re-aggravating a high-ankle sprain suffered late in the season.
“Man, I want to thank God. He repaired my body,” Mahomes said to Tracy Wolfson of CBS immediately after his win over the Bengals. “He gave me the energy to come out here, so I could fight through that.”
In the week leading up to the Super Bowl, both Mahomes and Hurts used their respective platforms to share their strong faith via the NFL’s Media Day. With reporters hurling questions of every sort at the two stud gun-slingers, both resorted to conversation on their walks with Christ.
“My Christian faith plays a role in everything that I do,” Mahomes said in his media availability. “I always ask God to lead me in the right direction and let me be who I am for His name. So, it has a role in everything that I do. Obviously, we’ll be on that huge stage in the Super Bowl that He’s given me, and I want to make sure I’m glorifying Him while I do it.”
Raised in the church and having made the decision in seventh grade to get baptized, Mahomes claims he has really come to find God once again in more recent years. Now, with two Super Bowl MVPs to his name and as one of the very best quarterbacks to ever play the game at the NFL level, the 27-year-old has an incredibly large platform to stand on, but has not forgotten who made all of it possible.
“I feel like I’ve grown in my faith these last few years and I think that’s given me more sense of who I am and why I play the game,” he said. “It just kind of relieves the pressure of playing a football game because I know that I’m on that football field to glorify Him before everything. So, it’s not about winning or losing, it’s about going out there and being the best that I can in His name.”
But on the other side of the ball, Hurts, too, has spoken openly about his Christian faith.
“My strength comes from God. I know the importance of faith,” he said on opening night of Super Bowl week in his media scrum. “I know what my foundation is with my faith, and nothing goes on without God.”
“I really lean on Him and I try to keep Him in the center of everything that I do, because I know without God, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I wouldn’t be the man I am today without having that faith in Him, without integrity and leadership and diligence and all those things,” Hurts added. “I think the biggest thing is you get so influenced by so much around you, you just want to pray that you’re the person that God calls you to be. So that’s what I’m going to do, be what God called me to be.”
With their respective teams setup to do it all over again next season – and likely for many years to come – it wouldn’t be a surprise if Mahomes and Hurts met in another Super Bowl in the not-so-distant future. What would be a surprise is if either of them failed to put God first.