By Alan Wollburg
51 years ago, Lamar Hunt, owner of the Kansas City Chiefs, coined the term Super Bowl for the then NFL – AFL Championship Game. This Sunday, his son Clark raised just the second Super Bowl title in the history of the franchise, after beating the San Francisco 49ers 31-20 at Hard Rock Café Stadium in Miami.
Lamar came up with the term when he saw one of his children playing with a compressed rubber ball and hardly knew that it would be the name of what would become one of the most important events worldwide.
But not everything was smooth sailing for the Hunt’s, who had to wait 50 years (they were the last champion of the American Football League in 1969) to lift the Vince Lombardi Trophy again.
As if it were a microcosm of the franchise’s history, the Chiefs suffered during the first 57 minutes of the game, before Patrick Mahomes, the team’s franchise quarterback, led them to a 10-point comback in the fourth quarter.
Mahomes, the game’s Most Valuable Player, threw two scoring passes, the last one to Damien Williams, to take the lead with 2:44 left. Williams would score later to put the game away with a 38-yard scamper.
For the 49ers, the result was particularly painful, as they were minutes away from getting their sixth NFL title, with a defense that had frustrated Mahomes for most of the game.
Kyle Shanahan, San Francisco’s head coach, once again experienced the bitterness of a defeat in a match that seemed to be won.
The son of Mike Shanahan, winner of two championship rings with the Denver Broncos, Kyle has been on the wrong side of the two most dramatic collapses in NFL history.
Shanahan was an offensive coordinator for the Atlanta Falcons in 2016, a team that built 25-point lead against the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl. Like this Sunday, they forgot about the ground game ahead on the scoreboard and with the game the game in the balance.
The Niners racked up 141 yards on the ground and averaged 6.4 yards per carry, but decided to rely on Jimmy Garoppolo’s arm instead.