You can find many things on the field after a Super Bowl. Confetti is dotted around everywhere, along with fans, media and friends and family of the victorious all taking their time to dance around on it.

The other thing that was also extremely noticeable when strolling along the State Farm Stadium turf after a captivating Super Bowl LVII was divots. 

Every blade of grass at the home of Arizona Cardinals in Glendale came in for severe scrutiny as players often struggled to keep their feet on the biggest stage. Yet no area of the field was more significant than the 26 yards Patrick Mahomes covered with his incredible fourth-quarter scramble, which set the Chiefs up for a field goal that sealed a thrilling 38-35 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles.

Mahomes had already taken an awestruck crowd on a remarkable journey prior to that rush. His Super Bowl looked like it might be done when he injured his ankle on a second-quarter run, coming up limping heavily and striking fear into the hearts of Chiefs fans that they may have to overturn a 24-14 deficit with Chad Henne at quarterback.

That was not to be. Mahomes returned for the second half and returned to execute a tremendous Andy Reid gameplan that confounded the defense of his head coach's former team, Reid masterfully manipulating the Eagles with a combination of outside and inside runs, using the latter to set up passes to wide open receivers in the flat, Reid's use of motion proving devastating as he continually schemed his receivers into open space.

Indeed, both Kadarius Toney and Skyy Moore were able to stroll in untouched for the scores that gave Kansas City a 35-27 fourth-quarter lead.

But, having seen Jalen Hurts answer in lightning quick fashion in this bewitching battle of the first black quarterbacks to face off in the Super Bowl, Mahomes did not rely on Reid's easy buttons to deliver the defining play of one of the finest Super Bowls of the modern era, he put the team on his back, and an injured ankle.

Mahomes gained speed belying his physical status as he scampered to the Philadelphia 17-yard line on a play that will stand alongside his third-and-15 connection with Tyreek Hill in Super Bowl LIV as the most magical in a career of a player who possesses endless reserves of wizardry.

Three plays later, James Bradberry was called for holding on third down, giving Kansas City a new set of downs and allowing the Chiefs to milk the clock before Harrison Butker sent his decisive kick sailing through the uprights with eight seconds left. Hurts' subsequent Hail Mary fell short, leaving an ecstatic Chiefs sideline to pour onto the field following another miraculous finish from Mahomes.

"Toughest son of gun you ever met man," tight end Travis Kelce said. "That Texas gunslinger ain’t going to let nothing get in the way."

Obstacles have been plenty for Mahomes throughout a postseason that looked as if it might come to an end in the Divisional round when he suffered a high-ankle sprain against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

But Mahomes has what Muhammad Ali once defined as the pivotal combination that fosters champions, the skill and the will, and it is that blend that has elevated the Chiefs back to the top of the NFL mountain, with Reid crediting his formative years spent around baseball locker rooms with father Pat Mahomes for his apparently limitless drive.

“He grew up in a locker room. He’s seen the greats and he strives to be the greatest," said Reid. "Without saying anything, that's the way he works. He wants to be the greatest player ever. That's what he wants to do, and that's the way he goes about his business. He does it humbly. There's no bragging.

"He could stand up here and give you these stats that are incredible that he's had, but he is never go doing to that. That's just not him, and we appreciate that.

"Then when it's time for the guys around him to raise their game, he helps them with that. The great quarterbacks make everybody around him better, including the head coach, so he's done a heck of a job."

The first quarterback to win the Super Bowl and MVP in the same season since Kurt Warner in 1999, Mahomes is rapidly ascending up the ranks of the greatest to play the game.

Still only 27, he has a long time in which to continue his climb.

There are those who will argue he is already at the summit after appearing in three Super Bowls and winning two in his first five seasons as the starter.

Some will remain unconvinced whether that is the case, but this is a week in which Mahomes has removed all doubt as to his status as the NFL's current gold standard.

He collected 48 of the 50 ballots for MVP, which he won at Thursday's NFL Honors ceremony. After this incredible show of grit, it is fair to wonder how the vote was not unanimous.

But that will be of no concern to Mahomes. There will be more potentially unanimous MVPs and there will almost certainly be more Super Bowls.

Mahomes has not yet met a piece of adversity he cannot overcome and, still arguably shy of his prime, there is no ceiling to what he can achieve.

"He's special," offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy said. "He's very special and the sky's the limit for him.

"Each and every year he takes his game to another level. The kid is special."

No argument here.

Jalen Hurts took little solace in some extremely complimentary words from Patrick Mahomes in the wake of the Philadelphia Eagles' agonising Super Bowl LVII loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.

Hurts seemingly had the Eagles in position to win the Lombardi Trophy when they led the Chiefs 24-14 at half-time.

But the Chiefs produced an offensive masterclass in the second half, outscoring the Eagles 24-11 across the final two quarters in a bewitching contest at State Farm Stadium on Sunday.

The turning point seemed to come in the third quarter, when the Eagles, still leading 24-21, went on a 17-play drive that lasted seven minutes and 45 seconds but ended in a Jake Elliott field goal.

Kansas City scored on their next two possessions, sandwiched by a three-and-out for the Eagles, to give the Chiefs a 35-27 advantage.

A 45-yard connection from Hurts to DeVonta Smith followed by a Hurts touchdown run and a two-point conversation tied the game, only for a 26-yard scramble from Mahomes, followed by a key holding penalty on Eagles corner James Bradberry, to put the Chiefs in position to bleed the clock and kick the decisive field goal.

It means Hurts' stunning second season as a starting quarterback ends in heartbreak despite a performance that would have netted him the MVP had Philadelphia prevailed.

Though Hurts had a fumble returned for a touchdown by Chiefs linebacker Nick Bolton in the second quarter, he broke the Super Bowl record for the most rushing yards by a quarterback (70). He also tied records for the most points scored by a single player (20) and the most touchdowns from scrimmage (3).

Mahomes and Hurts were the first two black starting quarterbacks to face off in Super Bowl history, and also had the youngest combined age of two starting Super Bowl quarterbacks at 51 years and 337 days.

And Mahomes lavished praise on his counterpart, saying of Hurts: "If there was any doubters left, there shouldn't be now.

"That was a special performance, I don't want it to get lost in the loss that they had. It was a special performance by him man, you make sure you appreciate that when you look back at this game."

But that provided no comfort for Hurts.

Asked about Mahomes' comments, he replied: "I have a lot of respect for him. I always have. He's done some really great things, thus far. For me, we lost.

"He came away with the win. We came up short, so it's something that I know will motivate me. I've been here before, and that's the beautiful thing about it, so I'll figure it out.

"You either win or you learn, that's how I feel. You either win or you learn. Win, lose, I always reflect on the things I could have done better, anything you could have done better to try and take that next step. That'll be the same process I always have going on.

"It is a tough feeling to come up short. It's a very tough feeling, but I know the direction is to rise and that will be the M.O. going forward, that will be the mentality going forward. That is the mentality. Obviously, credit to them for the game they played and very competitive football game and very competitive football team and coach Reid. We'll sit back, reflect on it and learn from it."

Pressed on the lesson he will take from this defeat, Hurts added: "You want to cherish these moments with the people that you've come so far with, your family, your loved ones, your team-mates, your peers, everyone that you do it with and do it for.

"I'm so proud of this team. I would say I'm so proud of this team for everything that we’ve been able to overcome. Obviously, we had a big-time goal that we wanted to accomplish and we came up short. I think the beautiful part about it is everyone experiences different pains, everyone experiences different agonies of life, but you decide if you want to learn from it. You decide if you want that to be a teachable moment. I know I do."

Andy Reid made it clear retirement is not on his agenda after his coaching masterclass helped the Kansas City Chiefs prevail in Super Bowl LVII.

The Chiefs trailed 24-14 to the Philadelphia Eagles at half-time at State Farm Stadium and appeared to be in some what desperate straits when Patrick Mahomes came up limping after a scramble late in the second quarter.

But Reid produced a masterful gameplan in the second half, tormenting the Eagles’ defense with a varied run-game approach and intelligent use of motion to give Mahomes easy completions.

Those easy completions propelled the Chiefs to a 38-35 win, sealed with a Harrison Butker field goal with eight seconds remaining after a drive on which a remarkable 26-yard scramble from Mahomes put Kansas City in position to complete the comeback.

Reid had faced questions about potential retirement prior to the game and was again asked on the podium as he collected the Vince Lombardi Trophy, saying simply that he was going to "enjoy this one".

He declared his intentions more definitively in his post-game press conference, indicating he will back for a run at a third Super Bowl with Kansas City.

Travis Kelce remembers everyone who picked his Kansas City Chiefs to lose in Super Bowl LVII, and he told the doubters to "look at us now" after proving them wrong.

Kelce caught the Chiefs' opening touchdown in their 38-35 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday, going on to finish with six catches for 81 yards and a touchdown from his six targets.

It meant he finished with at least six catches, 78 yards and a touchdown in each of the Chiefs' three playoff games this season, having led all tight ends with 1,338 yards and 12 touchdowns in the regular season.

The 33-year-old future Hall of Famer now has two titles to go with his seven All-Pro selections, and although the Chiefs are viewed as a dynasty in the making, Kelce still felt his team were being discounted ahead of the big game.

"Not a single one of y'all said the Chiefs were gonna take it home this year," he told FOX Sports. "Feel that s***. Feel it, and on top of it, next time the Chiefs say something, put some respect on our name."

During the celebrations, Patrick Mahomes called Kelce "the greatest ever" at his position, while Kelce also had some kind words for his quarterback.

"Pat Mahomes, M-V-Pat," he said. "You can't say nothing about what this guy means to Kansas City and this team."

When asked why he always seems to be able to get open, Kelce again pointed to the infrastructure around him.

"Come on, baby. I've got Andy Reid and Pat Mahomes," he said. "I have a great team, we had a great run, and, man, it feels good. Not one of y'all said the Chiefs were going to win it, and look at us now." 

The Chiefs trailed by 10 at half-time, and Kelce indicated the weight of the moment may have been getting to some, but everything flipped after the break.

"That first half – it was a big moment, a big game – a lot of guys playing a little uncharacteristic," he said. "We were able to regroup at half-time and figure it out – in that second half, man, we were flying around.

"[Coach Reid] just told everybody to be yourselves. We were a little uncharacteristic in the beginning, but everyone had that determination, that look in their eye, coming out here in the second half. 

"They were going to pour everything out on that field. That's what you saw. You saw everybody pour everything out on the field for the second half, and the Chiefs came away with the victory, baby."

LeBron James was one of a number of NFL fans upset by a decisive holding call in the fourth quarter of Super Bowl LVII, but James Bradberry, the man penalised, accepted it was the right decision.

Bradberry's Philadelphia Eagles agonisingly lost 38-35 to the Kansas City Chiefs in Glendale, Arizona on Sunday.

The Eagles had led by 10 points at half-time, before Patrick Mahomes led the Chiefs' rally to tie the game going into the closing stages.

But the prospect of a dramatic finish in keeping with the rest of a thrilling game was taken away by the penalty against Bradberry for holding JuJu Smith-Schuster.

That soft call allowed Mahomes to run down the clock before Harrison Butker came out to kick a game-winning field goal.

The finale upset many watching at home, including NBA great James, who posted on Twitter: "Sorry but I don’t like that call! Not for the Super Bowl man!

"His hand on his back had no effect on his route! This game was too damn good for that call to dictate the outcome at the end. Damn!

"By the way I have no horse in the race. Just my professional opinion."

However, Bradberry was asked about the incident in the locker room afterwards and did not share the frustrations of others.

"It was a holding," the cornerback said. "I tugged his jersey. I was hoping they would let it slide."

Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid dismissed the idea he might retire after winning his third Super Bowl on Sunday.

Reid was an assistant coach for the Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl XXXI and has now twice celebrated success while in the top job in Kansas City.

His latest triumph, in Super Bowl LVII, came against the Philadelphia Eagles, a franchise he coached for 13 years.

Between his stints with the Eagles and the Chiefs, Reid has been a head coach for 24 years.

Now 64, he was asked during the Chiefs' Super Bowl celebrations if he might be ready to quit the sport, but his focus was on the party that lay ahead.

"No, I'm going to enjoy this one right here," Reid replied. "Let me tell you, this is unbelievable.

"Philadelphia, you did a great job, it was a great game. But how about those Chiefs?"

Reid had been introduced on the podium by Chiefs chairman Clark Hunt as "one of the best coaches in the history of the National Football League".

"We couldn't have done it without [him]," Hunt said, although Reid was keen to share the praise around.

In his FOX Sports interview, Reid said of the Chiefs' second-half rally in a 38-35 victory: "I'll give the credit to the big O-line and Pat Mahomes and all those guys around him. [Offensive coordinator] Eric Bieniemy was phenomenal also."

Of Mahomes, who has been playing with a high ankle sprain, Reid added: "He's the MVP. That's all that needs to be said, right? He's the MVP, and you saw it tonight."

Patrick Mahomes says the Kansas City Chiefs "are not done" after securing their second Super Bowl title in Sunday's 38-35 triumph over the Philadelphia Eagles.

Mahomes was named Super Bowl LVII MVP after throwing three touchdown passes as the Chiefs rallied from 24-14 down at half-time, scoring with every second-half possession.

That marked Mahomes' second Super Bowl MVP award, having also claimed the gong in 2019 when the Chiefs triumphed over the San Francisco 49ers.

The Chiefs' triumph came after they were Super Bowl runners-up in 2020 and lost the AFC Championship Game in 2021, but Mahomes insisted it was not a dynasty yet.

"I'm not going say dynasty yet. We're not done, so I'm not going to say dynasty yet," Mahomes said during the post-game on-field presentation.

The Chiefs QB, who completed 21-of-27 attempts for 182 yards, became the first player to win the NFL MVP and Super Bowl in the same season since Kurt Warner in 1999.

That ended a run of nine straight NFL MVPs to lose the decider, but he was eager to deflect the praise.

"It's everybody. It didn’t come from one person," Mahomes said.

"Everybody said we've got to step our game up. Our defense played their ass off in that second half and our offense found a way. I just want to thank everybody."

The 27-year-old quarterback appeared hampered by an ankle injury which has troubled him throughout the playoffs, but played on valiantly.

"I told you all this week there's nothing that'll keep me off this football field," Mahomes added. "I just want to shout out to my teammates. We challenged each other. It took everybody to win this football game. We're Super Bowl champs, let's go."

Patrick Mahomes again got the better of his injured ankle as his Kansas City Chiefs won an epic shoot-out with Jalen Hurts' Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LVII.

A 38-35 Chiefs victory on Sunday added to Mahomes' now undeniable legacy, even if the result was harsh on Hurts, who went toe-to-toe with what is now the first league MVP since Kurt Warner in 1999 to go on and win it all.

Hurts, who scored three rushing touchdowns, and the Eagles would have been deserving champions had they faced anyone other Mahomes.

The Chiefs' hopes of winning the title had appeared remote when their quarterback suffered a high ankle sprain in the Divisional round against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

But a hobbling Mahomes saw off the Jaguars, the Cincinnati Bengals and then, in Glendale, Arizona, the Eagles, taking a hit late in the second quarter but recovering to finish with three passing touchdowns and another title. 

A clinical opening drive from the Eagles ended with a quarterback sneak from Hurts for the opening score.

Neither the Chiefs nor the Eagles had trailed in the playoffs to that point, but Mahomes had an instant reply with a TD pass to Travis Kelce.

The response was not initially so impressive in the second quarter, which began with a 45-yard Hurts bomb to A.J. Brown, yet the Chiefs were back level again when the Philly QB's fumble was recovered by Nick Bolton for a defensive TD.

Hurts quickly regained his composure and ran straight up the middle for his second rushing TD, before the Chiefs' next drive saw Mahomes limp away from a tackle, facing a 10-point deficit by the time he returned for the second half.

Mahomes led the Chiefs down the field for Isiah Pacheco to run in, and Kansas City had their first lead after the QB found Kadarius Toney wide open after some tricky pre-snap motion to walk into the endzone.

Momentum was now firmly with the Chiefs, and Toney's 65-yard punt return – the longest in Super Bowl history – put Mahomes in position for another straightforward TD pass to Skyy Moore.

Hurts was not done as a 46-yard pass to DeVonta Smith teed the QB up for another short TD run, followed by a successful two-point conversion.

That tied the game, yet Mahomes managed the clock to allow Harrison Butker to kick the decisive field goal and leave only eight seconds before the celebrations could start.

The Las Vegas Raiders are expected to release quarterback Derek Carr after he informed the team he would not accept a trade to the New Orleans Saints.

Carr's refusal to join the Saints, in a trade deal that had already been agreed between the teams, was reported on Sunday by ESPN and NFL Network.

Reports earlier in the week had detailed Carr's plan to visit the Saints after he was given permission to speak to the team.

However, it is said the contract on offer in New Orleans would require Carr to take a pay cut.

That was not something the QB was willing to do, refusing to waive his no-trade clause, and with only the Saints approaching the Raiders about a trade, the obvious alternative was for the player to be released.

The Raiders would have to cut Carr by Wednesday to avoid paying his full salary in 2023 and instead allow him to enter free agency.

Carr has been with the Raiders since he was selected in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft, but he said goodbye to fans in an emotional social media post in January.

Las Vegas had hoped for a big season in 2022 but finished third in the AFC West as Carr struggled for form.

Clyde Edwards-Helaire is inactive for Super Bowl LVII, the Kansas City Chiefs running back unable to make his return from a high ankle sprain.

Edwards-Helaire was activated from injured reserve ahead of Sunday's showpiece at State Farm Stadium, having been sidelined since Week 11 because of the injury.

But the former first-round pick will not feature in Glendale, Arizona, meaning Isiah Pacheco and Jerick McKinnon will shoulder the bulk of the workload in the backfield.

Rookie Pacheco has enjoyed an outstanding season, rushing for 830 yards and five touchdowns.

He has done an excellent job of creating yards even when the opposing defense creates disruption in the backfield. Pacheco has averaged 3.68 yards per carry on runs where there was a disruption, the third most among backs with at least 100 carries.

McKinnon's impact has been primarily been as a receiver, catching nine touchdowns in the regular season.

One player who will return from an ankle injury to play in the Super Bowl is the Eagles' Australian punter Arryn Siposs, who was confirmed as active for the game having been out since December. He will reassume the punting duties from Brett Kern.

Trent McDuffie perhaps did not have the profile of a typical first-round draft pick.

Undersized even for a cornerback at 5ft 11in and 193 pounds, McDuffie did not have the standout college production of a top selection, registering only two interceptions in three seasons for the Washington Huskies.

But McDuffie's long speed and coverage ability convinced the Kansas City Chiefs he was worthy of their opening selection in the 2022 NFL Draft, taking him with the 21st overall pick.

That decision now looks an extremely astute one, with McDuffie shining as the starting nickel corner for a secondary that features five rookies and will be critical to the Chiefs prevailing when they face the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LVII on Sunday.

McDuffie has allowed receivers to get open on 21.54 per cent of his matchups across man and zone coverage, giving him the fourth-best such ratio among all cornerbacks in the NFL.

He believes his immediate success, and that of seventh-round rookie corner Jaylen Watson, second-round safety Bryan Cook and fourth-round corner Joshua Williams, is the product of an outstanding learning environment and the culture of a team playing in a third Super Bowl in four seasons, having reached the AFC Championship Game in each of those years.

"It feels so long since I was drafted, I've just been learning so much," McDuffie told Stats Perform.

"This year I've been able to be around vets who know the game, be around coaches who know the game and understand what an organisation that has gone back to back to back, what that looks like, the environment, the culture, it's been huge.

"When I first got there, I was like, you can tell something's a little different, and I think the biggest thing is they want to teach us so much that just the learning environment is huge.

"You don't get that in a lot of places, but it's just constantly people trying to develop you, trying to teach you, trying to help you learn, and with that I feel like that's why so many rookies are able to play so quickly and come in to this."

McDuffie has yet to register an interception in his pro career but knows that strong play at the catch point, even if it is simply preventing receptions, will be pivotal against two excellent ball-winners in A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith.

Brown finished his first regular season in Philadelphia with 1,496 receiving yards and 11 touchdown receptions, while Smith racked up 1,196 yards and seven touchdown catches.

"I feel like the Eagles offense is super dynamic in terms of the offensive line is strong, their wide receiver core is strong, their depth at each position, they're so strong," added McDuffie.

"All 11 [starting defenders] are needed, that's something that, one, it's going to be fun because the dogs are going to go hunt, but again it's a challenge I'm excited to take on.

"After a full year of being in the NFL, the confidence is definitely there. We know we can play, we know we can do it.

"We've gone against the guys at the top of the league. It's going to come down to attacking the ball at the point of the catch because A.J. Brown, DeVonta, have really strong hands, so we're going to have to go out there and be a receiver on our own pretty much."

Josh Allen should be fit for the start of the 2023 NFL season, with the Buffalo Bills quarterback reportedly not needing elbow surgery.

Allen suffered a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament in the Week 9 loss to the New York Jets in November, though he was able to keep playing while wearing a brace. 

A report from's Tom Pelissero and Ian Rapoport claims the fact that the 26-year-old has not re-injured the area means surgery will not be necessary and further rest should see him able to line up in Week 1 of the 2023 campaign.

Allen had a productive 2022, throwing 35 touchdowns – only Patrick Mahomes (41) had more – and rushing for another seven during the regular season, throwing for an average of 267.7 yards per game.

That increased to 308.0 yards per game in his two postseason outings, where he contributed to four more touchdowns (three passing, one rushing) before the Bills were eliminated in the Divisional round by the Cincinnati Bengals.

In the Week 5 thrashing of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Allen became the first quarterback in NFL history to record 250+ passing yards, 50+ rushing yards, three or more passing touchdowns, a rushing touchdown, 80 per cent completions and a win all in one game.

The Kansas City Chiefs' decision to trade Tyreek Hill this offseason was greeted by many with understandable bemusement.

With Hill sent to the Miami Dolphins in exchange for a 2022 first-round pick, a 2022 second-round pick, two fourth-round picks, and a 2023 sixth-round pick, the Chiefs lost the player who, save for quarterback Patrick Mahomes, struck the most fear into the hearts of opposing defenses.

How could the Chiefs' offense be as devastating without him? Surely the Chiefs and head coach Andy Reid had a plan?

Turns out they did, and it wasn't to spend either of their two first-round picks on a wide receiver. The Chiefs opted for defense in the form of Trent McDuffie and George Karlaftis, instead filling the void with a pair of veterans in Juju Smith-Schuster and Marquez Valdes-Scantling, and a second-round pick in Skyy Moore.

Moore is quicker than fast and, though Valdes-Scantling was the de-facto deep threat for Aaron Rodgers in the Green Bay Packers' offense, neither can claim to boast anywhere close to the explosive speed Hill possesses.

And yet the Chiefs' offense has actually been more explosive than it was in the 2021 season, suffering no drop-off as Kansas City surged to the number one seed in the AFC and has since overcome injuries to quarterback and receivers alike to progress to Super Bowl LVII against the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday.

The Chiefs racked up 249 plays of 10 yards or more in 2021, but that number has jumped to 257 in 2022. On top of that, the Chiefs finished first in the NFL in Stats Perform's Efficiency Versus Expected (EVE) metric on offense.

While much credit must go to All-Pro tight end Travis Kelce – who ended the regular season with 1,338 receiving yards and a career-high 12 touchdowns – and head coach Andy Reid for finding joy running three-tight end formations, there is no doubting the influence of Kansas City's reconstructed receiver corps.

Smith-Schuster ended the year with 933 receiving yards, carving out a role as a dependable possession receiver who – according to Stats Perform data – won his matchup with a defender on a play where he was targeted 74.5 per cent of the time (the average is 60.2).

Valdes-Scantling has been an effective big-play threat, averaging 16.4 yards per reception in the regular season and, though Moore has not had the impact some may have envisaged, sporadic contributions from in-season trade acquisition Kadarius Toney – a former first-round pick of the New York Giants – and Justin Watson have helped ensure the Chiefs have continued to thrive throwing the ball.

How has everything coalesced so effectively for the Chiefs' new-look receiver group? In the view of Mahomes, their success is a tribute to the effort they have each shown since arriving in Kansas City.

"Just a lot of hard work. The guys work their tail off every day," said Mahomes of his receivers.

"It's a tough place to be to learn a whole new playbook and really execute and get better and better throughout the season and have no drop-offs, those guys have done that since OTAs and gotten better and better and that's what's got us in this position, so I'm excited for those guys to go on the world stage and showcase what they've worked all year for."

Kelce similarly praised the way Smith-Schuster and Co. have attacked the challenge, while also hailing Reid for identifying players who could slot seamlessly into an offense that was built heavily around Hill.

"The wide receiver group this year has been absolutely unbelievable," said Kelce. "Being able to come in year one and master this offense the way they have – this isn't an easy offense to figure out – it's just been cool to see the professionalism on top of the leadership that's been brought into this building for a lot of the young guys that are still in that room.

"There were just a lot of specific Tyreek routes, man, routes that only that guy could run. Hats off to coach Reid for creating those routes for the strengths of the guys that are in the building now. 

"This offense has had one of its best years, and it's not by surprise, it's not by accident, there's a lot of guys in that room that have the strengths and the abilities to go out there and have success and I'm happy they're going out there and having it."

Having such success may be a tough ask against an Eagles defense that allowed only 4.8 yards per pass play in the regular season, the fewest in the NFL.

But, even if the Chiefs' offense cannot produce the explosive plays to propel them to a second Super Bowl title in four seasons, the receiving group they have constructed has already emphatically expelled all doubts about Kansas City's decision to move on from their superstar wideout.

Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa expressed gratitude to the team for an extended stay in concussion protocol.

The third-year quarterback was diagnosed with two separate concussions this season and was limited to 12 games. He hit the back of his head on the ground on both occasions.

Tagovailoa first entered concussion protocol in September after he was knocked unconscious during a 27-15 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. He was taken off the field on a stretcher and didn't return until nearly a month later.

"For concussion protocol, I think the team did me the biggest service throughout that," he told USA Today on Friday. "They never allowed me to go through protocol normally until the season was done. So that’s why it might have seemed like it took forever, but they were just protecting me from myself. And me and my family are very thankful to the Dolphins.

"But it really entailed a lot of exertion, so like running, ocular and vestibular movements, so like balance, proprioception – things like that. Having went to see a doctor in Pittsburgh, got clear from him and then had to do a written test, memorisation."

Tagovailoa took another hard hit four days before the Cincinnati game during a win over Buffalo. He appeared to show concussion symptoms, but was evaluated and stayed in the game, drawing widespread criticism of why he was allowed to return.

He entered protocol for the second time on December 26, one day after a 26-20 victory over the Green Bay Packers. He sat out the remainder of the season, including Miami’s playoff loss to the Buffalo Bills.

Tagovailoa said he is tired of being asked about his concussions, though he understands where people are coming from.

"For one, people haven't heard from me in however long after the incident, and I would say another thing is some people are actually genuinely worried about my health," he said. "I hear people telling… people that are in my close circle, like, 'Hey, you should retire, hey you should do this' – and I feel like I’ve heard it all.

"But I think I’ve had all the information that I need to move forward with the decision that I made with me and my wife and my family, and understanding that you're playing this sport, and understanding knowing the precautions that these things can happen. It's football. It's a physical sport."

Dolphins general manager Chris Grier and head coach Mike McDaniel said Tagovailoa will be the team’s starting quarterback in 2023.

Steve Spagnuolo is the definition of a football lifer.

He's been in coaching since 1981, when he took on a job as a graduate assistant at the University of Massachusetts and, since being appointed as a defensive assistant on Andy Reid's original Philadelphia Eagles staff in 1999, he has developed a reputation as an aggressive coach who is not afraid to send the house in order to get results.

Now 24 years on, he is again on coach Reid's staff, having served as the defensive coordinator of the Kansas City Chiefs since 2019. That description perhaps does not paint a completely accurate picture of a coach who is more versatile in his approach than he is given credit for.

Spagnuolo will indeed go on the attack. In the 2022 regular season, only four teams blitzed with six or more pass rushers more frequently than the Chiefs, who did so 6.6 per cent of the time.

But the fact his defense is set to go against the Eagles' offense in Super Bowl LVII is in part a tribute to Spagnuolo's malleability.

The Chiefs were in the top half of the NFL when it came to overall blitz rate in the regular season, but their rate of 26.9 per cent was only enough for 15th in the NFL.

Kansas City sent four pass rushers 70.8 per cent of the time when defending aerial attacks, but they still led the NFL in pressures with 299.

In other words, Spagnuolo's defense can win with the blitz, but it can also succeed frequently getting pressure with just four down linemen, which is critical for every defense in an era where two-high safety coverages that protect against explosive plays have never been more prevalent.

The Chiefs' defense finished the regular season as the eighth-best by yards per play allowed and ranked ninth by Stats Perform's Efficiency Versus Expected (EVE) metric.

It is in the postseason, though, where Spagnuolo's defenses continually come alive.

That was the case in 2007 when his New York Giants defense held the finest offense in New England Patriots history, one that propelled them to an beaten 16-0 regular-season record, to just 14 points in Super Bowl XLII.

His first season with the Chiefs ended in Super Bowl glory as they swarmed Jimmy Garoppolo and the San Francisco 49ers late in the fourth quarter in an underrated aspect of Kansas City's 31-20 comeback win in Super Bowl LIV. In the 2020 postseason, only a Tampa Bay Buccaneers team that ruined the Chiefs' hopes of a repeat at the final hurdle had more pressures than Kansas City's 55.

And this postseason the Chiefs have again risen to the challenge on defense.

The Chiefs have racked up seven sacks in the postseason, second only to the Eagles, and tallied 23 pressures of Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow in the AFC Championship Game, the most crucial being a sack by Chris Jones that gave the ball back to Patrick Mahomes for a game-winning drive in the fourth quarter.

Spagnuolo, though, does not appear interested in taking credit for the continual joy his defenses find in the playoffs, pointing more to the impact of players like Jones than any schematic wizardry.

"I always say this, what you've done in the past or prior games doesn't mean anything going into these games, it's all about our guys stepping up and doing it again," said Spagnuolo on Thursday. 

"Chris Jones, if he's having the game he had last week [in the AFC Championship Game] that certainly helps us, we need our best players to play their best football and I think it comes back to those guys, I think that's why in the big moments we've been able to do that.

"None of that matters now, it's a whole different game and different gameplan, hopefully we can find 60 more minutes of good football."

Speak to the Chiefs' defenders, however, and they won't hesitate to wax lyrical about their coach's prowess for putting them in positions to thrive.

Rookie cornerback Trent McDuffie has enjoyed an excellent rookie season, allowing a combined open percentage across man and zone coverage of 21.54 that is tied for the fourth-best among all corners, according to Stats Perform data.

McDuffie credits Spagnuolo's paternal influence and the varied way in which he uses his defensive backs as key reasons why he has thrived in year one.

McDuffie told Stats Perform: "He's very detailed, which could be tough at times because when you make one little mistake he catches it and it's like 'man yeah I was in the wrong', but he's such a loving dude, he's become such a father figure for me at least, I don't think I could have been here without just the guidance from him and the wisdom he's given me.

"I just love the mentality that our defense is aggressive, we are going to attack the offense, if you're a defensive player knowing you have an offensive gear like 'we're going to go attack the offense', it makes the game much more fun, because you can do so much more. I'm blitzing, I'm playing zone, I'm playing man. He's allowed me to do so much in the defense."

The numbers reflect McDuffie's words. The Chiefs have predominantly dealt in the kind of two-deep safety coverages that have proliferated across the NFL because of the threat posed by their own quarterback, Patrick Mahomes.

Cover 4, Cover 6 and Cover 2 are the coverages in which they have primarily lived, however, they have also played Cover 2 man, where every coverage defender except for the two deep safeties plays man coverage, on 8.92 per cent of pass defense snaps, well above the league average of 2.7 per cent.

Kansas City's defense does often get extremely aggressive when blitzing, playing Cover 1 man, where every coverage defender plays man except for a deep safety, on 25.24 per cent of blitzes, and Cover 0 – where there are no deep defenders – on 18.57 per cent of blitzes.

But there are still a significant amount of zone blitzes mixed in. The Chiefs run quarters (Cover 4) when blitzing 19.52 per cent of the time and Cover 2 on 9.52 per cent of blitzes.

Spagnuolo does look to 'attack the offense', but he takes a multi-faceted approach to doing so, one which consistently pays off in high-leverage situations.

The Chiefs have 27 sacks in the postseason since 2019, 16 of which have come in the second half or overtime, with five in the final two minutes.

Perhaps it is therefore Spagnuolo's timing that is the foundation for the success of his playoff defenses.

Against the Eagles, picking his spots will be crucial.

Aggression will almost certainly need to be tempered given Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts' aptitude for capitalising on attack-mode defenses through his prowess running the zone-read, the read-option and the run-pass option.

It sets up a fascinating battle between arguably the NFL's most diverse and devastating offense, which consistently makes life easy on its quarterback, and a defense that is significantly more dynamic than many believe and excels at putting quarterbacks in difficult positions in the most important moments.

For Spagnuolo, the challenge is to craft a gameplan that maintains the attacking tendencies of his defense while protecting against the array of dangers Hurts presents.

"There's a lot of responsibility football when you play that kind of offense," Spagnuolo said.

"If we can be good on first and second down to get them in the long third downs, then maybe we can do that [attack], short of that you're always facing the possibility of a run or an RPO on any down and distance, and if you're doing something, you know it could be a big play for you, but it might be a really big play for them."

It's quite the dilemma for Spagnuolo to solve. Fortunately for the Chiefs, history is on the side of him succeeding.

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