Chiefs founder Lamar Hunt is credited with inventing the term “Super Bowl” to decide the NFL-AFL championship winner in the 1960s. But Hunt, who died in 2006, said his daughter Sharron invented it when she was 7 in 1966 playing with a Wham-O Super Ball.
“Super Ball” became “Super Bowl”, which Hunt disliked because it sounded too simplistic. But he was definitely a lot better than Commissioner Pete Rozelle’s idea.
He wanted to call him “The Big One”.
The Eagles and Chiefs have only played each other nine times (KC leads 5-4 in the series). So while we all know their superstar head coach and quarterback, here are 25 more things to think about before The Big One, er, Super Bowl LVII.
There are numerous Chiefs-Eagles connections because of Kansas City coach Andy Reid. General manager Brett Veach’s first NFL job was as an assistant to Reid here from 2007 to 2009. Defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo also broke into the NFL under Reid in 1999, the same year that offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy played for the Eagles.
Bieniemy spent the entire 2020 season — from training camp to the Super Bowl, according to Sports Illustrated – in a hotel isolating his son Eric III from possible exposure to COVID-19. Eric has cerebral palsy and breathing problems and contracting the disease could have been fatal.
“He is the heart and soul and the core of our family” Bieniemy told the Kansas City Star in 2018 when her son was 23. “He is the one who makes us go. When he feels good, we feel good. And when he’s not, we’re down. He gives you a completely different perspective on things, on what’s important.
In Super Bowl I, which Kansas City lost to Green Bay, 35-10, each player on the losing team received $7,500, which, adjusted for inflation, is about $67,000 today. (Winners received $15,000.) This year, winners receive $157,000 and losers $82,000.
Kansas City is 2-2 in the Super Bowls. The Eagles are 1-2.
I wonder if Haason Reddick has noticed that ESPN analyst Rex Ryan earlier this week called Kansas City’s Chris Jones the best defensive player in the league this year? Jones had 15½ sacks, the second-highest total by a defensive tackle in the past 20 years. (Aaron Donald had 20½ sacks for the Los Angeles Rams in 2018.)
In October, Houston (Miss.) High School retired their jerseys of two former track and field greats: Jones and Terry Catledge, the first pick in the draft of the 76ers in 1985.
Ryan, however, noted that Reddick and the Eagles were quick to fold are “historic”, having produced the third-most sacks (78) in NFL history, including the postseason. Kansas City has allowed just 26 sacks of 651 pass attempts during the regular season and three of 80 attempts this postseason.
Three players received 49 votes out of a possible 50 for first-team All-Pro this season: San Francisco’s Nick Bosa, who the Eagles just beat, and Patrick Mahomes and Chris Jones, who will play Feb. 12.
Travis Kelce and gambler Tommy Townsend they were also first-team All-Pro for the Chiefs. Left guard Joe Thuney and center Creed Humphrey were named to the second team. The Eagles All-Pros are Lane Johnson and Jason Kelce on the first team, Jalen Hurts, AJ Brown, Haason Reddick and James Bradberry on the second team.
Humphrey was Hurts center in 2019 at the University of Oklahoma. Both were team captains as the Sooners went 12-2 and made the College Football playoffs.
Thuney, the left guard who was with the Patriots from 2016 to 2020, will play in his fourth Super Bowl. He won two, and was on the field blocking Fletcher Cox when Tom Brady’s Hail Mary finally fell to the floor at the end of Supe LII as the Eagles beat New England. His last name is pronounced TOO-nee.
Townsend was second in the league in average yards per punt at 50.4, behind Tennessee’s Ryan Stonehouse (53.1). Five of Townsend’s eight punts in the postseason came within 20. None of the eight, however, hit a camera wire.
The Chiefs went 14-3 on the season despite a minus 3 turnover margin. The Eagles had the same record and were plus 8 in the TOs. KC is plus-4 in the playoffs and his offense hasn’t turned that around. Ditto for the Eagles (plus-4, no offensive turnovers).
Kansas City is 55-3 as of 2018 when his opponents score 27 points or less.
Reid didn’t win a Super Bowl here, but his tenure as head coach of the Eagles (1999-2012) sparked a resurgence in the Birds franchise. His 140 wins are arguably the most in team history. Greasy Neale (66) is second.
Reid was a lineman who played sparingly at BYU but was coached by offensive innovators LaVell Edwards and Doug Scovil. Scovil became the Eagles assistant coach who helped develop Randall Cunningham before the coach died of a heart attack in 1989. Ten years later, Reid was named head coach of the Eagles.
Reid’s 21 playoff wins (against 16 losses) they are second only to Bill Belichick’s 31 (13 losses). Reid is 1-2 in the Super Bowl. Reid’s 37 postseason games are also second to Belichick. A Super Bowl loss would tie Reid with Don Shula for most playoff losses.
Patrick Mahomes won his only game against the Eagles, throwing for five touchdowns in Week 4 last year.
Mahomes’ father was a big league pitcher for 11 years, mostly in the American League. Pat Mahomes pitched against the Phillies in five games, including a 1999 win at Veterans Stadium when Patrick was 3 years old.
Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker hit a 62-yard field goal against Buffalo in Week 6, the longest in the NFL this season. He has scored all five extra points and all five field goals this postseason, including two 50-yarders in the Divisional Round win over Jacksonville and one 45-yarder to beat Cincinnati in the AFC championship game.
Norma Hunt, the widow of Lamar Hunt, she is the only known woman to have attended all 56 Super Bowls.
The Chiefs traded Star Wide receiver Tyreek Hill and still led the league in total offense (413.6 ypg), passing attack (308.8 ypg), and scoring (29.2 ppg).
With Hill gone, tight end Travis Kelce stepped up with 110 receptions and 12 touchdowns on 152 targets—all career highs for the 33-year-old future Hall of Famer. He has 21 catches and three touchdowns in two postseason games. The boy is a monster.
Travis is 23 months younger than Eagles center Jason Kelce, which should also be in the Hall of Fame. This will be the brothers’ first time facing each other in a Super Bowl. It should be special.
Sources: Inquirer research, Pro-Football-Reference.com