Miami Gardens, Fla. — They’re all gone. All of them perished. All the cynics wiped out in the most electrifying sequence in all of these 54 Super Bowls.
Wiped out by a 24-year-old kid with right fielders’s arm and a ballet dancer’s footsteps.
Patrick Mahomes yanked the Chiefs from abyss again. Third time in this postseason. He drove the Chiefs to another daredevil victory in the hallmark game of the NFL’s 100th season.
Down by 10 points and seemingly doomed with time vanishing, Mahomes fired two deep desperation passes that rescued the Chiefs against the 49ers to win Sunday’s Super Bowl LIV, 31-20.
Chalk up another believer! Right here.
The doubting guy who was seen Johnny Unitas and Bobby Layne; the same craggy skeptic who marveled at Joe Montana and Terry Bradshaw winning four Super Bowls and Tom Brady winning six.
They were game controllers. They could rally teams into escape from defeat. This kid belongs in the precious group with them.
“I think those guys around this — the leaders that we have on this team — that they have that mindset that we never give up and we’re going to fight until the end,” Mahomes told to Fox TV’s Bradshaw on the trophy podium.
“Thank you, Kansas City, we did it baby.”
Baby, they did.
The Chiefs were down, 24-0, vs. the Texans in the division round of the playoffs. They were one more punch from a knockout. Mahomes grabbed his teammates into a group on the sideline and raised hell with them.
They rallied from the verge. When it was over the Chiefs advanced to the AFC championship game with a 51-31 victory.
And in that conference championship game, they were struggling with 20-10 deficit against the Titans. Mahomes again grabbed control of the situation. Chiefs won, 35-24, and pushed onward to Super Bowl LIV.
Then one more time! Sunday night.
The score 20-10 against them. San Francisco, with its history of Super Bowl successes, dominating them.
And with young Mahomes himself misfiring and error prone — totally out of character — in the second half. Two interceptions and a fumble. He was out of character and out of sync.
“I just tried to fight, and obviously the third quarter didn’t go the way I wanted it to,” Mahomes explained during the postgame media scrum.
“I tried to force some things and had some turnovers. I mean, that’s a really good defense, a really good defense, and so I didn’t play to my liking in the third quarter. But the guys believed in me and gave me confidence.”
Mahomes remained stuck in the doldrums until — until he was challenged again.
He had thrown two successive incompletions, and it was third-and-15 stuck back at the Kansas City 35. There was just 7:13 on the game clock. Desperation time.
Mahomes went tippy-toed to his left and threw across body en route. It was a lovely throw to Tyreek Hill downfield. The play went for 44 yards.
It would be the most critical in the game.
Five plays later, the Chiefs sliced into the 49ers’ lead of Mahomes a 38-yard touchdown pass to Travis Kelce.
Inspired, the Chiefs’ defense stopped the 49ers and outclassed Jimmy Garoppolo with a three-and-out.
Then Mahomes dropped another bomb —- to his right. It was a 38-yarder to Sammy Watkins followed by a short touchdown pass to Damien Williams.
In a bit more than three minutes, Mahomes had lifted the Chiefs from 10 points behind to four points ahead.
And suffering through it all, the three postseason comebacks, was Andy Reid, a caricature on the sidelines. Reid now 61, an NFL head coach for 21 seasons, his ample body filling his red jacket, his face ruddy with a gray mustache, impassive, just scratching at his plays placard — a Super Bowl champion at last.
“He kept firing,” Reid said about Mahomes. “That’s what he did. The guys around him believed in him, we all did, all the coaches likewise.”
Reid offered a brief smile in victory. Very brief, as is a perpetual look.
Trailing by 24 in a playoff game, or 10 down in the Super Bowl, the coach’s stolid look seldom changes.
“I’ve been through it the last couple three weeks,” Reid said of being behind. “When you find that kind of accelerator for a series or two, we’d be OK.
“We were able to find that on both sides of the ball."
Yeah, coaches’ blab-blab.
Reid has his accelerator — a dynamic young quarterback.
Again, as we had before at Super Bowls, a young quarterback — Montana, Bradshaw, Brady and Joe Namath turned us cynics and doubters into believers.
Jerry Green, a retired Detroit News sports writer, has covered every Super Bowl for The Detroit News.