Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes Thursday night to cap off a historic season that could also end with his second Super Bowl MVP. But, oddly enough, he'll have to face the runner-up to the award he just won if he wants to win another ring.
Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts (alongside Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen) for MVP – marking only the fourth time in the Super Bowl era that the top two MVP vote-getters will face each other in that season's finale. The other times? When Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady for the 2016 season; when Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning over New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees in the 2009 season; and when Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Ken Anderson San Francisco 49ers quarterback Joe Montana for MVP in 1981.
The sample size is small, but the past three MVP candidate match-ups in Super Bowl have been wildly entertaining.
Just take the most recent example, for instance. Ryan's Falcons held the infamous 28-3 lead over Brady's Patriots in Super Bowl LI, only for New England to in overtime. The Manning-Brees matchup in Super Bowl XLIV featured a tremendous second-half rally by the Saints, including and capped off by Tracy Porter's . Super Bowl XVI between the Bengals and 49ers wasn't nearly as exciting of a game, but it did kick off Montana's incredible career in the 1980s and '90s that included four Super Bowl victories and two MVP awards.
The Chiefs and Eagles offer an exciting game in their own right. Both teams finished atop their respective conferences and went 14-3. Kansas City ranks first in points scored and yards, while Philadelphia finished third in total offense. The Eagles boast one of the best defenses in the league as well after they held teams to the eighth-fewest points and the second-fewest yards.
Mahomes is obviously an electric player, having thrown for the most passing yards and passing touchdowns this season on his way to winning MVP. Hurts, meanwhile, burst onto the scene in his second full year as the starting quarterback only three years after he was drafted in the second round. While Hurts only finished 10th in passing yards and 14th in passing touchdowns, he added 13 rushing touchdowns which ranked first among quarterbacks and tied for second among all players in 2022.
Unfortunately for Mahomes, the regular season MVP is 0-3 against the runner-up in the Super Bowl and 1-9 overall in the past 24 years. The last MVP to win a Super Bowl in the same season was Kurt Warner with the St. Louis Rams in 1999.
But this is Mahomes' third Super Bowl appearance and 14th playoff game since 2018. The last time he won MVP, the Chiefs fell to the Patriots in the AFC championship game who ended up beating the Los Angeles Rams in the Super Bowl. The very next year, though he didn't win MVP (that went to Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson), Mahomes took the Chiefs back to the Super Bowl where they beat the 49ers.
So, if anyone understands the magnitude of this moment and has experience playing with this type of pressure, it's Mahomes.