Super Bowl 2020: Patrick Mahomes ushers in the NFL's new era

The first of many for Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs? (Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

[This is an excerpt from the Feb. 3, 2020 edition of the Yahoo Sports morning newsletter. To get the newsletter delivered free to your inbox every weekday morning, tap here.]

He’d looked un-Mahomes-like for most of the game, and here it was, the fourth quarter, less than eight minutes left in the Super Bowl, his team down by 10. Third-and-15 from his own 35. Sure, Patrick Mahomes had brought the Chiefs back from double-digit deficits in the last two playoff games, but never this late in the game. Had the Mahomes magic run out at the worst possible moment?

Nah. Mahomes found Tyreek Hill all but wide open in the middle of the field, connecting for a brilliant, game-flipping 44-yard pass. The Chiefs still had 21 yards to go to even cut the game to one possession, but it was right there, in that moment, you knew: Mahomes is going to get this done.

And he did, winning MVP en route to leading Kansas City to its first Super Bowl championship in half a century, a 31-20 victory over the San Francisco 49ers.

Mahomes, at age 24, is the youngest player ever to win both an MVP and a Super Bowl. One award represents season-long excellence. One represents brilliance when the spotlight is the brightest. Together, they’re proof that the future of the league is right here.

An infinite number of storylines spiral out from the Super Bowl, but Mahomes — and what he’ll do with this foundation — is one of the most fascinating. On the other side of the field … sure, the 49ers have the ability to come back to this mountaintop next year, but will they? History’s not kind to Super Bowl losers. Last year's Patriots were the first team in a quarter-century to reach a Super Bowl after losing the year before. 

Plus, 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan now has two separate Super Bowl anchors around his neck: surrendering a 28-3 lead as offensive coordinator of the Falcons, and surrendering a 10-point lead with less than seven minutes left in this year’s game.

Will this go down as one of the great Super Bowls of all time? Probably not for anyone outside of the greater Kansas City metropolitan area. But for the rest of us, on a larger level this might well be the start of something special.

And when Mahomes ticks off his seventh Super Bowl win before 2030 and we’re all sick of him and his hair, well, we can look back at this night and remember when it was all new.

[This is an excerpt from the Feb. 3, 2020 edition of the Yahoo Sports morning newsletter. To get the newsletter delivered free to your inbox every weekday morning, tap here.]

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