Two historic quarterbacks delivered Super Bowl performances for the ages

OPINION: MVP Patrick Mahomes shined in victory and Eagles' QB Jalen Hurts sparkled in defeat. They both represented well on the country’s biggest stage.

Patrick Mahomes #15 of the Kansas City Chiefs celebrates after defeating the Philadelphia Eagles 38-35 in Super Bowl LVII at State Farm Stadium on February 12, 2023 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Editor’s note: The following article is an op-ed, and the views expressed are the author’s own. Read more opinions on theGrio.

The NFL’s grip on America’s psyche leaves little room for competing interests. Football games routinely dominate TV ratings — 82 of the top 100 shows in 2022 — and the Super Bowl is tops each year. The league enjoys flexing its registered trademark: Companies can’t even use the term without paying up, which explains abundant commercials with references to “the Big Game.” 

A Tennessee lawmaker has proposed legislation that would create a holiday each Monday after the Super Bowl, an acknowledgement that the economy already suffers from a hangover. Cincinnati Public Schools canceled classes last year ahead of the Bengals’ loss; Philadelphia-area districts instituted a preemptive two-hour delay this year.

Kansas City’s 38-35 victory might prompt Eagles fans to take the entire day. 

I suspect many feel sick over the loss, particularly the late penalty that set up the Chiefs’ winning score with eight seconds left. We’ve definitely seen players get away with far worse than James Bradberry’s hindrance of JuJu Smith-Schuster, though the Philly defender admitted his guilt: “It was holding,” Bradberry told reporters afterward. “I tugged his jersey. I was hoping they would let it slide.”

The call left a bad taste in many viewers’ mouths after a thrilling and riveting contest, but Philly coach Nick Sirianni didn’t use it as an excuse. “I know it always appear to be that it’s one call that makes that game. That’s not what it is,” he said. Quarterback Jalen Hurts was of the same mind. “I don’t think this game is defined by one play, one play throughout the game or one call, whatever it was,” Hurts said.

Instead, the game was defined by heroic performances from the history-making Black quarterbacks, Patrick Mahomes, who now has two Super Bowl MVPs to accompany his two regular-season MVPs, and Hurts, who had a compelling case for Super Bowl MVP even in defeat.

At just 27 years old and in his sixth season, Mahomes has cemented his status as an all-time great. Playing on a severely injured right ankle the past three games, Mahomes proved that his toughness matches his brilliance. He aggravated the injury Sunday shortly before halftime and was seen grimacing in agonizing pain. 

Social media speculated that he’d receive every drug known to man — FDA approved or not — during intermission, but he reportedly refused treatment. Then Mahomes led the Chiefs to touchdowns on their next three possessions, before the fourth drive ended on the game-winning field goal.

“He wants to be the greatest player ever,” K.C. coach Andy Reid told reporters. “That’s what he wants to do and that’s the way he goes about his business.”

Jalen Hurts #1 of the Philadelphia Eagles runs the ball against the Kansas City Chiefs during the fourth quarter in Super Bowl LVII at State Farm Stadium on February 12, 2023 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Kevin Sabitus/Getty Images)

Mahomes very well might accomplish his goal, a plateau that’s presumably far beyond Hurts’ reach. But there’s a beautiful juxtaposition between Mahomes — picked 10th in the 2018 draft — and Hurts — picked 53rd in the 2020 draft. 

Hurts has been role a model for character and work ethic since his time at Alabama, when Tua Tagovailoa replaced him at halftime of the 2018 NCAA title game. Hurts transferred to Oklahoma and failed to convince scouts he was a championship-level NFL passer — hence being taken in the second round.

Doubts persisted after Hurts’ first two seasons with the Eagles, but he never wavered in his belief and never stopped working to improve. Philadelphia put its trust in him this year and he delivered, winning 14 of the 15 games he started in the regular season. On Sunday he rushed for three touchdowns and a crucial 2-point conversion, and passed for 304 yards and another touchdown.

“To me, Jalen played the best game I’ve seen him play in the two years we’ve been together,” Sirianni said. “He was outstanding. I really thought he was in complete control.”

Mahomes and Hurts can find comfort in the knowledge they left everything on the field. 

So can halftime performer Rihanna, whose performed while millions of viewers wondered the same thing: “Is she or isn’t she?” I’ve been raised to NEVER EVER ask a woman if she’s with child. I’d hate to be tasked with finding out the meaning of Rihanna’s bump Sunday night. It seemed fairly obvious but you never know for sure. A representative confirmed the pregnancy to the Hollywood Reporter

That news began spreading as Mahomes and the Chiefs mounted their comeback from a 10-point halftime deficit, the second largest ever overcome in Super Bowl history.

Mahomes shined in victory and Hurts sparkled in defeat. Regardless of which team you rooted for, you can feel great about each quarterback’s performance. They represented well on the country’s biggest stage.

We can all take the day off (at least unofficially).

Deron Snyder, from Brooklyn, is an award-winning columnist who lives near D.C. and pledged Alpha at HU-You Know! He’s reaching high, lying low, moving on, pushing off, keeping up, and throwing down. Got it? Get more at

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