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Patrick Mahomes and Chiefs leave no doubt in Super Bowl: They’re an all-time NFL dynasty

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LAS VEGAS – The question surfaced a year ago after the Kansas City Chiefs won their second Super Bowl in four seasons. Sunday night, it was definitively answered.

In a city where fortunes are regularly made and lost, K.C. hit blackjack in its bid to become the NFL’s newest dynasty – prevailing in overtime against the San Francisco 49ers 25-22 in Super Bowl 58.

“Never a doubt in my mind, baby, never a doubt in my mind,” said superstar tight end Travis Kelce, who talked in the days leading up to the game about the importance of this team’s core capturing a third Lombardi Trophy.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that I’ve been able to go through three times now. It gets sweeter and sweeter every time, baby.”

It was hardly a smooth coronation, one that required four hours and numerous momentum swings while navigating the first overtime deficit in Super Sunday’s history. That on the heels of what was a subpar, by Kansas City’s standards, regular season – the team’s 11-6 record forcing it to play postseason games on the road for the first time since quarterback Patrick Mahomes became the starter in 2018.

The Super Bowl was a bit of a microcosm of the Chiefs’ season, the team starting slow before finishing with a flourish – Mahomes throwing the game-winning touchdown to Mecole Hardman with 3 seconds on the clock to cap a 22-point barrage after halftime.

Dynasty? No doubt.

“It’s a beautiful thing, man, when everything comes together like that,” said Kelce, who despite a very quiet first half, led all players Sunday with nine catches and 93 receiving yards.

“Call us a dynasty, you can call us whatever you guys want, I know what we’ve got is something more special than really what you see in the NFL.”

Added head coach Andy Reid: “It’s a little bit surreal. … I don’t know what a dynasty is. You guys have the thesaurus, so you can figure it out. It’s a great win because I know how hard it is to do and how hard the season was.”

Mahomes turned in another legendary performance – 333 yards and two touchdowns through the air and a team-high 66 rushing yards – on the way to Super Bowl MVP honors for the third time.

“We’re not done,” Mahomes told CBS after his legacy-cementing throw.

“We’ve got a young team, we’re going to keep this thing going.”

CHIEFS FANS: Here’s where you can buy the Super Bowl 58 commemorative cover

These Chiefs enter the immortal temple previously occupied by the 1960s Green Bay Packers, 1970s Pittsburgh Steelers, 1980s San Francisco 49ers, 1990s Dallas Cowboys and 21st century New England Patriots.

Kansas City also becomes the ninth team to pull off a Super Bowl repeat and the first in 19 years, ending the longest back-to-back drought in Super Bowl history. The Chiefs are the seventh franchise in the league with at least four Super Bowl victories and the sixth to win three over a five-season span.

“I think it puts the team in a different echelon,” Mahomes said before the game, referring to the prospect of the rare title defense that succeeds.

“We understand how hard it is to do that in this league, with all the parity that’s in this league. Whenever you play 20 games and have a ton of success and then have to rebuild again that next year – because once you win the championship, that year’s over. You have to rebuild and go for it again.”

That hasn’t been much of a problem for this first-rate, forward-thinking organization – one that has overhauled its defense since winning Super Bowl 54 and fundamentally changed its offense two years ago by offloading All-Pro gamebreaker Tyreek Hill.

The next questions: How many more can the Chiefs win? And can they pull off a three-peat – something that’s never been achieved in the Super Bowl era, which began in 1966, not even by Tom Brady’s Patriots?

The pathway to Super Bowl 59 is sure to be cluttered with obstacles.

The Chiefs head into an offseason that could cost them their best defensive player, All-Pro lineman Chris Jones scheduled to hit free agency next month. Kelce, 34, isn’t getting younger and, good as K.C. has remained, the passing game has been rendered largely methodical – and certainly not terrifying – since Hill’s departure.

Perhaps most problematic? When the Chiefs resume slugging it out for AFC supremacy in 2024, the Cincinnati Bengals will have Joe Burrow back, the Cleveland Browns will have running back Nick Chubb (among others) back, the New York Jets will have Aaron Rodgers back, the Los Angeles Chargers will be jolted by new coach Jim Harbaugh, the welterweight Houston Texans might be ready to move up in weight class … and the heavyweight Buffalo Bills and Baltimore Ravens will be itching for another shot at the perennial AFC West champions.

But those are concerns for another time.

“I mean, I’m gonna celebrate tonight. I’m gonna celebrate at the parade,” said Mahomes. “And then I’m gonna do whatever I can to be back in this game next year and try to go for that three-peat.

“I think Tom said it best – once you win that championship and you have those parades and you get those rings, you’re not the champion anymore. You have to come back with that same mentality, and I learned from guys like that that have been the greatest of all time at the top of the level.

“(W)e’re gonna work our way to get back to this game next year.”

Or, as Kelce said after hoisting the Lombardi Trophy: “I’ll see you all next year.”

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Follow USA TODAY Sports’ Nate Davis on X, formerly Twitter @ByNateDavis.

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