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By: Mookie Alexander
The 2023 NFL season ends with one glorious serving of 49ers schadenfreude.
The San Francisco 49ers had the Super Bowl in their hands. They had late-game leads of 16-13, 19-16, and 22-19. All they needed was one stop against Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs dynasty and they would finally end their long championship drought.
It didn’t happen, because Mahomes is pretty much inevitable.
The Chiefs have three Super Bowl wins in five seasons and two of them have been against the 49ers. This one was far more dramatic than the first meeting, which was pretty damn dramatic in itself.
I was genuinely going to do an Enemy Reaction even if the 49ers won, because I always do one for the Super Bowl regardless of the outcome. This result means it’s a hell of a lot more enjoyable to do. We’ve got a Niners Nation meltdown coming, but we’re getting reactions from all across the NFL for this one!
Joyous Chiefs fan reactions are courtesy of Arrowhead Pride.
Christian McCaffrey fumbles on opening possession (0-0)
Jake Moody hits longest field goal in Super Bowl history (3-0 SF)
Isiah Pacheco loses fumble inside the 49ers’ 10-yard line (3-0 SF)
Jauan Jennings throws a touchdown to Christian McCaffrey (10-0 SF)
Patrick Mahomes throws interception to Ji’Ayir Brown to start 2nd half (10-3 SF)
Harrison Butker has newest longest field goal in Super Bowl history (10-6 SF)
49ers have punt return disaster, Chiefs recover (10-6 SF)
Patrick Mahomes throws go-ahead touchdown to Marquez Valdes-Scantling (13-10 KC)
Jauan Jennings catches a touchdown, but PAT is blocked (16-13 SF)
Patrick Mahomes sacked on 3rd and goal, Chiefs settle for tying FG (16-16)
Jake Moody gives the 49ers the lead again (19-16 SF)
Travis Kelce puts the Chiefs in chip-shot field goal range, leading to overtime (19-19)
Chiefs bail out 49ers with 3rd and 13 holding penalty (19-19)
Chris Jones disrupts possible touchdown to Brandon Aiyuk, 49ers settle for 3 (22-19 SF)
Mecole Hardman wins the Super Bowl! (25-22 KC FINAL)
BONUS fan reactions from…
Post-Game: Call it a dynasty (Vahe Gregorian, KC Star)
While perhaps none of this recent run could eclipse the sheer thrill of winning Super Bowl LIV after a 50-year drought, the real triumph has been all they’ve achieved since … and it would be hard to top how it went Sunday.
As the air has gotten thinner and thinner on the way to the top in a league predicated on creating parity, the Chiefs fended off so many factors — including their own issues — to achieve something seldom seen in the annals of pro football history.
Whatever else is to come, the victory cemented an enduring legacy for the Chiefs and particularly Reid and Mahomes — the man who altered the very meaning of what it is to be a Chiefs fan and even the self-image of Kansas Citians.
With a third Super Bowl victory to his name, Reid now trails only Bill Belichick (six) and Chuck Noll (four) and is on trajectory toward becoming the winningest overall coach in league history should he continue to coach for another five or six seasons.
With Mahomes’ third Super Bowl title, he now is 15-3 in postseason play and in Super Bowl wins trails only Tom Brady (seven) and Joe Montana and Terry Bradshaw with four apiece.
At age 28.
Post-Game: Painful déjà vu (Scott Ostler, SF Chronicle)
This was Mahomes’ fourth Super Bowl; he owns this game. He’s now 4-0 against the 49ers, and he’s 15-3 in the playoffs. Dust off a pedestal for his Hall of Fame bust.
And dust off a corner where the 49ers can retreat for a time to lick their wounds. This will sting. Head coach Kyle Shanahan, on the verge of swiping a 1,000-pound monkey off his back, now must deal with a second Super Bowl loss — third, if you count his loss with the Falcons as offensive coordinator.
Over the past five seasons, the 49ers have gone to four NFC title games and two Super Bowls, but they have no hardware to show for their troubles. With a win here, all of Shanahan’s sins would have been forgiven, but now they pile up like unpaid bills.
Next season? Sure, the 49ers are in great shape. They’ve got Purdy back, on a relatively cheap contract, and all the game-breakers who took them to the brink this time.
That will be no consolation, though, over the coming months, when the 49ers can only reflect on another one that got away.
They will fly home and get off their plane with heads held high; they gave it their shot.
But this opportunity is gone, and it’s going to stay gone.
Post-Game Video: The heartbreak (ABC10 Sacramento)
Post-Game Video: Radio calls from Chiefs and 49ers broadcasts!
Mecole Hardman catches the game winner as call by Mitch Holthus on @wolfkansascity KC 25 SF 22–Super Bowl champs! pic.twitter.com/PT56iYtNrC
— 610SportsKC (@610SportsKC) February 12, 2024
How the 49ers losing Super Bowl LVIII to end their season sounded on 49ers radio pic.twitter.com/vYlOgbfO9P
— Nick Piccone (@_piccone) February 12, 2024
Wasn’t that good? I know you loved it. What a great way to end the NFL season. And now we can fully invest ourselves in the offseason.
I’m late on the Field Gulls mailbag but that’s coming this week. I had to shove it aside since we had the Super Bowl and the Seahawks coaching staff search all come together over a few days, but that’s on the docket. We hope you continue following Field Gulls throughout the Seahawks offseason, which will be a very different experience as we head into the post-Pete Carroll era.
Thanks for reading and go ‘Hawks!
Originally posted on Field Gulls