Quarterback Patrick Mahomes is the face of the Kansas City Chiefs and the MVP of Super Bowl LIV, but the Chiefs may not have won without the performance of former Oklahoma football star Damien Williams.
Mahomes engineered a 21-point fourth quarter comeback with under seven minutes remaining in the game, overcoming a 10-point deficit to post an 11-point 31-20 Super Bowl victory for Kansas City, their second in team history in their first Super Bowl appearance in half a century.
ESPN NFL analyst Sal Paolantonio summed it up this way after the game: “It wasn’t magic; it was Mahomes.”
The former Texas Tech and Big 12 quarterback threw for 296 yards and accounted for three Kansas City touchdowns (two passing and one rushing). He is the first player in NFL history to win a league MVP award, a Super Bowl and be named a Super Bowl MVP by his second season as an NFL starter.
Granted, it’s pretty hard under the circumstances not to award game’s MVP award to the winning quarterback and, especially, when he not only is the face of the Chiefs’ franchise but, many believe, the new face of the NFL. The fact is, in the 54-game history of the Super Bowl (given that name, incidentally, by the late owner of the Kansas City Chiefs, Lamar Hunt, after Super Bowl I, which at the time was called the NFL-AFL Championship game), the Most Valuable Player honor has been awarded to 30 quarterbacks.
Somewhat lost in all the postgame accolades, though, was the yeoman’s performance turned in by the player wearing jersey No. 26. Williams was the Chiefs’ running attack, grinding out a tough 102 yards against one of the best defensive fronts in the National Football League. The former Sooner running back carried the ball 17 times and averaged 6.1 yards per carry.
More importantly, he was credited with a pair of critical touchdowns late in the game, including a five-yard TD reception that put the Chiefs up 24-20 with a little under three minutes remaining and a 38-yard touchdown scamper with a minute and 20 seconds left in the game to seal the victory.
And then there were a pair of critical carries by Williams for fourth-down conversions that kept Chief drives alive in the first half.
All in all, an MVP-worthy performance by the former Oklahoma running back that was overshadowed by the late heroics of Mahomes and the never-say-die Chiefs.
I’m sure, however, that Williams is happy to take a back seat in exchange for a Super Bowl win and the matching jewelry that comes with it.