The 2022-23 National Football League season has come to a close, and after one of the wildest years of football in recent memory, the Kansas City Chiefs have emerged as Super Bowl Champions after a 38-35 win over the Philadelphia Eagles.
It’s almost ironic that after all the chaos of the past few months, it was the clear two best teams throughout the season that made it through the smoke to battle in Glendale, Arizona on Sunday night to capture the Lombardi Trophy.
Both teams’ high-powered offenses were as advertised throughout the contest, trading touchdowns back-and-forth with little to no defensive resistance, save for a fumble recovery returned for a touchdown in the first half courtesy of Chiefs linebacker Nick Bolton. Kansas City quarterback and newly crowned league MVP Patrick Mahomes turned in yet another dazzling performance, delivering three passing touchdowns and gutting out a clutch 26-yard scramble late in the game, despite playing through a high ankle sprain he suffered just three weeks ago against the Jacksonville Jaguars and reaggravated Sunday night. Mahomes’s play was enough to net him the second Super Bowl MVP award of his young career, further cementing him as the best the league has to offer at this current moment.
Mahomes was not the only one who showed out on the big stage, however. His adversary on the opposite sideline, up-and-coming Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts, finished off his tremendous season with an all-time great display in a Super Bowl loss, accounting for 374 total yards of offense and four touchdowns. Ultimately though, the heroics of Hurts could not overcome the collapse of the Eagles’ typically stout defense, which yielded a score on every Chiefs possession of the second half before a controversial defensive holding penalty sealed their fate in the final two minutes.
Still, it’s hard to call the season a disappointment for Philadelphia, who managed to exceed preseason expectations despite already being picked by many to be a playoff team back in August. Elsewhere in the league, even more surprising success stories headline the year in review. Both the New York Giants, led by Coach of the Year winner Brian Daboll, and the Jacksonville Jaguars were able to break playoff droughts and reach the divisional round after being forecasted to be among the league’s worst teams. Even the Detroit Lions, perpetually one of the league’s worst teams since the turn of the century, posted a respectable 9-8 record and have a significant reason for optimism going forward.
Not everyone was so fortunate, however. Teams like the Denver Broncos and the defending Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams massively underperformed, not even coming close to the playoffs after an offseason of hype surrounding new acquisitions like quarterback Russell Wilson for Denver and wide receiver Allen Robinson for Los Angeles.
The 2022-23 season was unprecedented for the NFL off the field as well. Just two weeks ago, legendary New England Patriots and Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady announced his retirement after 23 seasons of dominance and seven Super Bowl titles. The league also continued its efforts in promoting the international growth of football, as Munich, Germany hosted their first ever NFL game between the Seattle Seahawks and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In addition, over the past month, we watched the football world come together in support of Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin, who was honored pregame on Sunday night after overcoming a cardiac arrest he suffered on the field on Jan. 2.
All in all, it was yet another unpredictable and exciting year for the NFL, and as the Chiefs ride off into the sunset with another trophy, who knows where the league will go next.
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