MIKE BURKE

Allegany Communications Sports

I am able to tell you I correctly predicted the score of last Sunday’s Super Bowl to be 38-35. I am unable to tell you I correctly picked the winning team of last Sunday’s Super Bowl to have been the Kansas City Chiefs.

I said 73 total points in a very informal, very low-paying prop bet that our party of nine conducted prior to the season finale of the 2022 #NFLTheTVShow. However, I had the Philadelphia Eagles winning the game, though, thankfully, that was not part of the wager (hey, that 45 bucks bought lunch the next day).

We did not bet on anything such as the color of Rihanna’s Super Bowl outfit, the coin toss, the color of the Gatorade or the over-under length of the national anthem. In fact, I would bet that nobody at our table still even knows who sang the national anthem. We are not what you would call a very eclectic group, as, sadly, we continue to miss the depth and the sheer brilliance of the late, great Bill Zapf, as he knew things that even we don’t know.

Overall, it was a very exciting and very entertaining season finale, which is what you always want from your favorite TVShow, and the Chiefs and the Eagles both did their parts, as Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes seems destined to make a career run at many of Tom Brady’s Super Bowl accolades, individually and team-wise; although I doubt very seriously he will play for nearly as long as Brady did, provided, of course, Brady is really finished this time.

Speaking of Brady, and it pains some of us to do so, since last we spoke of him here, he announced he would not begin his No. 1 football analyst job for Fox Sports until next season. Thus, we were spared having to experience any of that on Sunday and, instead, were able to enjoy one final time the good work of play-by-play Kevin Burkhart and analyst Greg Olsen.

Although, honestly, we didn’t hear much of the broadcast, including Rihanna’s performance, as the public house we were in was quite crowded and, um, loud. No, wait. That was just our table.

The narrative entering the game centered on the Kelce brothers (a pleasant change from hearing about the Reid brothers) and the first Super Bowl match-up between two Black quarterbacks, which should have been the narrative because it took entirely too long for it to happen. In a perfect world, it should not be a big deal, but since we continue to discover each day that it’s far from being a perfect world, it was a very big deal.

It was a very big deal because the MVP Mahomes and Philadelphia’s Jalen Hurts delivered in a very big way, as the Eagles dominated the first half of the game to take a 10-point lead.

But then the show and the second step of a quarterback’s journey into history began, as, despite being hobbled by a high ankle sprain, Mahomes exploited what had been the Eagles’ outstanding defense, putting up 24 second-half points on his way to the second Super Bowl title of his career.

When the Eagles needed it most, their defense failed them. In fact, coming into the game, it was its front eight that seemed to be Philadelphia’s biggest edge, having produced a league-best 70 sacks. But the Kansas City offensive line, which appeared to be vulnerable going in, did not allow a sack, as Mahomes used quick passes to pick the Eagles apart in producing three consecutive touchdown drives to take an eight-point lead.

Hurts was himself phenomenal, if not more so, rushing for 70 yards and three touchdowns and passing for over 300 yards. He did everything he could do to lead his team to the championship in tying the score late, but a hot Kansas City offense got the ball back and, with the help of a questionable defensive holding call, ran out the clock to set up the game-winning field goal.

While I picked the Eagles to win, it was more a matter of my hoping they would win. I’ve always liked Kansas City just fine (how can you not like Kansas City?), but I really like the city of Philadelphia and have made a lot of friends from there between school and the ACIT (nobody does hospitality like Philly).

So while I would enjoy nothing more than to rip the officiating (why should it be any better in its premier event?) because I absolutely loathe the NFL and all it masquerades to be, the Eagles honestly cannot blame anybody or anything but their own defense for giving up 24 second-half points. Certainly, this will be something for them to utilize in the future, as you just get the feeling we haven’t seen the last of the Eagles or Jalen Hurts in the Super Bowl.

As for the Chiefs, from what I could see (and it was kind of hazy toward the end of the night), they won their franchise’s third Super Bowl title with the leadership of Patrick Mahomes, the adjustments made by head coach Andy Reid and his coaching staff and experience, which gave them confidence to the end.

One of the better Super Bowls and a free lunch to boot. Life is good when it’s finally baseball season.

Mike Burke writes about sports and other stuff for Allegany Communications. He began covering sports for the Prince George’s Sentinel in 1981 and joined the Cumberland Times-News sports staff in 1984, serving as sports editor for over 30 years. Contact him at [email protected] and [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @MikeBurkeMDT