Each member of the Kansas City Chiefs will receive a $124,000 bonus for winning the Super Bowl.
Becoming an NFL champion, however, will be worth much more to their quarterback, Patrick Mahomes. According to one advertising executive, the reigning NFL most valuable player will rake in as much as $7 million a year in additional endorsement income.
“He’s already a household name and face,” said Bob Dorfman, a sports marketing executive at Baker Street Advertising. “This Super Bowl ring easily makes Mahomes the most marketable player in the NFL.”
Mahomes finished 26-of-42 for 286 yards, including two touchdown passes and one rushing, and two interceptions during the Super Bowl. And he rallied the Chiefs to defeat the San Francisco 49ers, 31-20, at Miami’s Hard Rock Stadium. It was Mahomes’s first appearance in the NFL championship game, which is historically the most-watched program of the year with a U.S. audience of around 100 million.
The 24-year-old Mahomes was named the game’s MVP, becoming the youngest player in NFL history to hold both league and Super Bowl MVP honors.
“I’ve been waiting my whole life to say this — I’m going to Disney World,” Mahomes said, reciting the line uttered annually by the game’s MVP under terms of a deal with the Walt Disney Co.
Mahomes already has a significant collection of endorsement partners, including State Farm, Adidas, Oakley and EA Sports. Earlier this season, he supplanted New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady — the holder of six Super Bowl rings — as the NFL’s top salesman. But Brady isn’t being totally nudged from the spotlight: He appeared in an advertisement for the Hulu streaming service during Fox’s coverage of the game.
Dorfman said the new partners that make sense for Mahomes are ones that can play off of his name — Home Depot, At Home, Amazon Home or Zillow.
If anyone knows the endorsement value of a Super Bowl, it’s Mahomes’s agent, Leigh Steinberg, whose quarterback clients have included former Super Bowl MVPs Troy Aikman and Steve Young.
“The Super Bowl is the premier branding and marketing event in American sports. The potential for those who win and play well is to dominate the celebrity machine we have — that’s the Today Show, the Tonight Show and magazine covers,” he said in an interview prior to the game. “People who win vault into the stratosphere of name recognition. When Troy Aikman won the MVP in 1992, he went from Troy Aikman, football player, to Troy Aikman, up in lights.”
The Chiefs trailed 20-10 heading into the fourth quarter, then stormed back with 21 consecutive points.
“It worked out well in the end,” he said.
Some explaining to do
Kyle Shanahan will now have another Super Bowl collapse to answer questions about.
After being peppered all week by reporters seeking to rehash that blown 28-3 lead to New England three years ago when Shanahan was offensive coordinator in Atlanta, Shanahan’s first trip to the Super Bowl as a head coach ended in another late-game meltdown.
The 49ers became the third team in Super Bowl history to give up a 10-point lead in the second half when they blew a 20-10 advantage and lost 31-20 to the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday night.
“Those guys are hurting in there, just like I am,” Shanahan said. “We all are (hurting) right now. It’s tough when you lose a Super Bowl, but I’m so unbelievably proud of those guys, what they’ve done all year. I’ve been coaching a while and it’s as special a group as I’ve ever been around. It’s tough that it had to end today in the way it did.”
In two trips to the Super Bowl, Shanahan’s teams have been outscored 46-0 in the fourth quarter and overtime and he can only think about what went wrong to cost him two championships.
Shanahan has now had seven drives as a play-caller in the fourth quarter of Super Bowls and his teams have four punts, two turnovers, one failed fourth down and only six first downs.
“We just didn’t get it done when we got the ball,” Shanahan said. “Came up short on a just couple plays. … We had our chance a little bit there at the end, and they made some good plays, and we just missed them.”
The 49ers appeared to be firmly in control when they intercepted Mahomes for a second time with 11:57 to play and a 10-point lead.
But then the coach known as perhaps one of the league’s most innovative play-callers couldn’t dial up the right plays to help the 49ers seal the win.
Jimmy Garoppolo completed a 12-yard pass to George Kittle to give the Niners a first down with less than 11 minutes to play. But Raheem Mostert was stopped for 1 yard, Garoppolo threw an incompletion on second down and then was forced into a short scramble on third down following a false start on Joe Staley.
That forced a punt and Mahomes led an 83-yard drive that got the Chiefs right back into the game.
“The turning point is we got a turnover and didn’t execute on offense,” Kittle said. “We gave the ball right back.”
The Niners still had a chance to seal it with a productive drive on offense but a first down run followed by two incompletions, including one batted at the line by Chris Jones gave the Chiefs the ball back again.
Mahomes led another TD drive to give the Chiefs a 24-20 edge, setting the stage for Garoppolo to lead a late-game comeback in the final 2:39.
The Niners managed to move the ball across midfield following the two-minute warning before two straight incompletions. Emmanuel Sanders then broke open deep on third down but Garoppolo just overthrew him.
“We missed some shots downfield, some plays we usually make,” Garoppolo said. “We just didn’t make some of the plays we normally make.”
The Kansas City Chiefs were staring at a double-digit deficit for the third time in three postseason games.
This time with less than 15 minutes left against the San Francisco 49ers in the Super Bowl, when defensive end Frank Clark (Michigan) sauntered onto the field in Hard Rock Stadium and began to talk some trash.
He had that much confidence in his team. He had that much confidence in his defense.
“I went out there and told them, ‘You guys are going to go home like everybody else,’” Clark recalled. “I told George Kittle he was going home. I told Joe Staley he was going home. I told all of those guys, they were going home.”
The Chiefs indeed sent them home with a stunning 31-20 defeat.
Leading the way? A defense that was rebuilt from the ground up after its AFC championship game collapse a year ago, and that had struggled all night to pick up the fizzling Kansas City offense.
The defense forced the 49ers into a pair of punts in the fourth quarter, giving Mahomes a chance to rally the Chiefs to their first title in 50 years, and the young quarterback came through with touchdown passes to Travis Kelce and Damien Williams to give his team the lead.
“I knew we weren’t in the ideal situation,” Mahomes said, “but I believed in my defense to get stops and they did.”
The 49ers still had a chance after Williams reached over the pylon with 2:44 left, and a video review upheld the touchdown call that gave Kansas City the lead.
But after allowing a first down, a defense that carried a newfound sense of purpose — “swagger,” safety Tyrann Mathieu called it — made four consecutive plays when they needed it most.
Garoppolo threw three straight incompletions, then the 49ers quarterback was sacked by Clark, the $105.5 million offseason acquisition. That gave the Chiefs the ball back, Williams got loose for a long touchdown run and Kendall Fuller picked off a desperation heave to put an exclamation point on the comeback.
“There were great expectations coming into this season,” Mathieu said, “but we knew we had the pieces in place. It was a great challenge defensively going into this game. I’m proud that we kind of shut them down.”
Back in Kansas City, a fanbase that hadn’t celebrated a title since the Nixon administration was finally able to exhale.
Katie Sowers made history Sunday night, becoming the first woman to coach in the Super Bowl.
The first woman coach to help win a Lombardi Trophy remains up for grabs.
Sowers came in as an offensive assistant with the San Francisco 49ers who just happened to be the first woman ever to coach in this game. She also is the first openly gay coach.
But she missed out on capping her trailblazing night by winning a championship ring when the 49ers couldn’t hold the 20-10 lead they took into the fourth quarter before losing 31-20 to the Kansas City Chiefs. Her night featured a 60-second Microsoft commercial thanking her for knocking down another door for women.
The latest Super Bowl featured women in many roles.
Norma Hunt, widow of Chiefs’ founder Lamar, is the only woman to have attended all 54 Super Bowls and also is part of the ownership group that brought Kansas City its first Super Bowl title since 1970. The 49ers have Denise DeBartolo York as co-chairman.
Then there’s Virginia McCaskey, 97 and the owner of the Chicago Bears, who made an appearance in the NFL commercial shown at the start of the Super Bowl to celebrate the start of the league’s next century.