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The start of a Chiefs dynasty

JUANA SUMMERS, HOST:

The Kansas City Chiefs and quarterback Patrick Mahomes are Super Bowl champions again after defeating the San Francisco 49ers. This time, it took overtime.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

JIM NANTZ: Mahomes flings it.

TONY ROMO: That's the Super Bowl.

NANTZ: It's there - Hardman. Jackpot, Kansas City.

ROMO: He is the best. He is the standard. Your Michael Jordan wins it again.

SUMMERS: That call was courtesy of CBS Sports. The 25-22 victory in Las Vegas last night gives Mahomes and the Chiefs a third Super Bowl victory in the past five seasons. And last night's gutsy win has the sports world using the D-word in association with the Chiefs. And that word is dynasty. Nate Taylor is a staff writer for The Athletic. He was in Las Vegas for the Super Bowl, and he joins us now from the airport. Nate, welcome.

NATE TAYLOR: Hello. Hello. How are you?

SUMMERS: I am well. So Nate, I want to take a big step back here. You and I are both from Kansas City. So we have lived through the good years and the not so good years of this Chiefs team. I mean, can you even believe that we are having this conversation and talking about the Kansas City Chiefs as an NFL dynasty?

TAYLOR: It's utterly flabbergasting, honestly. Um, it's also hard to believe, too, that the Chiefs have the - what I would consider the best athlete in American sports, who's obviously a global international icon now in Patrick Mahomes. But no, I don't think anybody could have predicted this. And for Chiefs fans who had to wait 50 years for a Super Bowl victory, now they've had three in the last five years.

SUMMERS: Let's talk about last night's game. What do you think it was that tilted the game in the Chiefs' favor?

TAYLOR: A couple things. I think the Chiefs defense found the right times when to blitz Brock Purdy. And those blitzes sped him up and led to incompletions. And then on offense, Mahomes used all of his teammates to move the ball down the field. In the overtime game-winning drive, he completed eight passes, five of which to different teammates. And he also used his legs to move the ball down the field, as well. And then Andy Reid, you know, future Hall of Fame coach known for offensive innovations, makes his best call for the last play of the season. And Mahomes, of course, doesn't miss the opportunity to connect for a touchdown. So it's not just Mahomes, but it's all the people around him sort of elevating their play, as well. And that's why the Chiefs are champions once again.

SUMMERS: I want to talk about quarterback Patrick Mahomes for a moment. I mean, no Super Bowl is the same, but for many viewers, it might have felt like we were watching one of the other Super Bowls the Chiefs won. We saw Patrick Mahomes yet again leading the Chiefs to victory. Just quickly, what is it about him? How is he cementing his status as one of the all-time great quarterbacks?

TAYLOR: He's cementing his legacy right now just because he is becoming sort of this merge between Joe Montana, you know, the first real iconic quarterback in NFL history, and the brilliance of Tom Brady, who obviously has seven Super Bowl rings. I guess Mahomes is now in full-on chase mode...

SUMMERS: You think?

TAYLOR: ...With Tom Brady. I do just because Mahomes is the most complete player to ever play the hardest position in American sports, which is quarterback. He can use his legs if necessary. He has elite accuracy and rare arm strength. I think what we are now seeing is that he is mentally as sharp as he'll perhaps maybe ever be. If not, he'll continue to improve mentally. But he knows what the defense is trying to do, and he knows how to counteract it or to outwit, you know, the other team. I do believe what we're watching now is the most complete quarterback we've ever seen in NFL history. And that even includes Joe Montana and Tom Brady.

SUMMERS: So, Nate, I want to bring this conversation back to where we started it and talk about the idea of a Chiefs dynasty. When teams in the past have won three championships, they've been elevated to that status. I'm thinking about the Chicago Bulls, the New York Yankees, the Patriots. Is this Chiefs team - should we put them up there with all those others?

TAYLOR: It's fascinating, right? Mahomes is not going to get worse. You know, Andy Reid confirmed after the game last night that he is going to be the coach of the Chiefs in 2024, even though he's, you know, right now, you know, the oldest coach in the NFL at 65. So because Travis Kelce still exists and is still obviously playing at a high level when necessary and they have all these young, talented players on defense, there's a chance that they can do something that the NFL has really never seen before, which is winning three Super Bowls in a row in the modern era. Right now, the best team is the Kansas City Chiefs with Patrick Mahomes.

SUMMERS: That's Nate Taylor, staff writer for The Athletic. Nate, thank you.

TAYLOR: Yeah. Thank you so much.

(SOUNDBITE OF USHER SONG, "YEAH!") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Juana Summers is a political correspondent for NPR covering race, justice and politics. She has covered politics since 2010 for publications including Politico, CNN and The Associated Press. She got her start in public radio at KBIA in Columbia, Mo., and also previously covered Congress for NPR.