Yesterday, the Kansas City Chiefs led by Patrick Mahomes and a stout defense defensive performance delivered the Chiefs fourth Super Bowl in franchise history, winning 25-22 in overtime. It was the second Super Bowl to go into overtime (the first was in 2017 (2016 season) where the Patriots would complete a 28-3 comeback to win against the Atlanta Falcons.)
The game-winning touchdown with just 10 seconds remaining in the first overtime to walk off the Super Bowl was caught by Mecole Hardman. The Chiefs had traded for Hardman after letting him go after the 2022 season. He had spent almost all of his career in Kansas City. Earlier this season, Hardman signed with the New York Jets after he had played with the Chiefs in the three previous Super Bowls the Chiefs had been too.
The Kansas City Chiefs have now won three of their last four Super Bowls, losing only to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
During the previous Super Bowls (LIV and LV), Hardman made minimal contributions. In the Chiefs initial win over the 49ers in 2019, he made just one reception for two yards. He would also return three kicks for a total of 58 yards.
In Super Bowl LV, the Chiefs were shut down by the Buccaneers and the entire Chief offense was kept out of the end zone. Hardman did have a slightly better game making two receptions for just four yards in a 31-9 loss.
The Chiefs would miss out on the Super Bowl by just one game, losing to the Cincinnati Bengals in 2021.
After winning the Super Bowl in 2022, the Chiefs decided not to resign Mecole Hardman. He would sign with the New York Jets.
During his short time as a New York Jet, he only caught one pass. Yet, the Kansas City Chiefs felt he was important to bring back. The Chiefs traded a 7th-round pick for Hardman. During his second stint with the Chiefs this season, he played in only six games, making 14 receptions for 118 yards and no touchdowns.
This postseason, he had 5 receptions for 62 yards, and his only touchdown was the most important, the one that won Kansas City another title. For a team that struggled with drops all year, it was certainly fitting that a wide receiver be the one that end the game.
It seems that both Kansas City and Mecole Hardman needed to miss each other a little to understand what they had going. Hardman matured and Kansas City got a receiver that understood their system.
When Mecole Hardman returned to the Chiefs, he probably had an idea that he would be more successful on the Chiefs. However, he probably didn’t think that he would be the one to make the game-winning touchdown that every kid imagines playing backyard football. The fact that he got to experience that is the dream of any NFL player.
The Chiefs will now get to rest and look to add more to an already stacked team in the free agency and NFL Draft. It may only be 2024 but they already be the team of the decade. It will be interesting to see how far they can go.