By Amy Tennery
MIAMI (Reuters) – If Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes still had any doubters going into the Super Bowl, he silenced them on Sunday.
Mahomes was named the Most Valuable Player of the Super Bowl after leading Kansas City to a 31-20 win over the San Francisco 49ers, running in one touchdown and passing for two more to rally the Chiefs from a 10-point fourth-quarter deficit.
His performance saw him become the youngest player to have won both the NFL and Super Bowl MVP awards.
“You have to leave it all on the line when you’re in the Super Bowl,” Mahomes said at a post-game media conference. “Just to be here it’s surreal, finding a way to win in the end.”
Mahomes scored the first touchdown of the game with a one-yard rush and threw for 104 yards by the end of the first half.
The game was not always smooth sailing, however.
Mahomes threw interceptions in back-to-back possessions in the third quarter, the first of which led to a rushing touchdown by the Niners to extend their lead going into the fourth.
“They have an amazing defense. One of the best defenses I’ve went up against in my career so far,” said Mahomes. “We weren’t executing at a high level.”
Mahomes said even when things were going wrong his team mates were backing him.
“Obviously the third quarter didn’t go the way I wanted it to,” Mahomes told reporters. “But the guys believed in me (and) gave me confidence and kept fighting.”
Wide receiver Tyreek Hill said the 24-year-old quarterback deserved credit for boosting morale even as they trailed by 10.
“We were down 20-10 and he was telling us to believe in the fourth quarter,” said Hill. “He brought the guys together and you saw what happened, man. We pulled it off.”
The win caps a stellar year by Mahomes, who rolled into Miami with a more-than 65% completion percentage for the regular season, along the way dazzling fans and even his own team mates.
“It’s magic Mahomes, it’s Showtime Mahomes,” tight end Travis Kelce told reporters. “He’s going to be himself no matter what the scenario is, and you know what? I love him.
“He willed this team back into the game.”
But despite all the praise and accolades, Mahomes remained modest.
“There are several guys that could be the face of the NFL,” he added. “With the NFL and how good play is, the quarterback play, guys can come in year-in and year-out and go out there and play great football.
“I just try to be the best Patrick Mahomes I can be.”
(Reporting by Amy Tennery; additional reporting by Frank Pingue and Gene Cherry/Editing by Peter Rutherford)