This year’s Super Bowl features a rare matchup between the two best NFL teams from the regular season.
The Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs were the league’s only 14-game winners, marking just the sixth time since the 1970 merger that the teams with the two best regular-season records met for the championship.
The last time that happened was after the 2013 season when Seattle beat Denver 43-8 in a matchup of 13-win teams.
That blowout has been relatively typical of these meetings, with the average margin of victory in the previous five powerplays being 21 points.
The closest game was Washington’s 37-24 win over Buffalo in the 1991 postseason. The other three included San Francisco beating Miami 38-16 after the 1984 season, Dallas beating Denver 27-10 to end the 1977 season and Oakland beating Minnesota 32-14 the year before.
Since seeding began in 1975, this is the 15th time the top team in each conference has reached the Super Bowl. The previous time came after the 2017 season when the Eagles won their first Super Bowl championship by defeating New England 41-33.
It’s also the third time both Super Bowl teams have won at least 14 games in the regular season, though both Kansas City and Philadelphia needed wins in an extra 17 games to get there. Atlanta and Denver did it in 16-game seasons in 1998, and Miami and San Francisco in 1984.
The Chiefs and Eagles have also been in control throughout the postseason, with neither team trailing in the playoffs. The only other times both Super Bowl teams did it were in 2004 (Patriots vs. Eagles), 1991 (Bills vs. Washington) and 1966 (Packers vs. Chiefs).
Patrick Mahomes will try to do something that has never been done before in the NFL by following up a regular season where he led the league in passing with a Super Bowl title.
Mahomes threw for 5,250 yards during the regular season – 511 more than runner-up Justin Herbert for the largest gap between first and second since Kurt Warner beat Peyton Manning by 699 yards in 2001.
The only player to reach the Super Bowl after throwing for more yards in the regular season than Mahomes was Manning, with a career-high 5,477 in 2013. His Broncos lost 43-8 to Seattle in the Super Bowl.
It was one of six times before Mahomes that a player who led the league in passing yards reached the Super Bowl, all of them losing. The others are Tom Brady (2017 season), Brady (2007), Rich Gannon (2002), Warner (2001) and Dan Marino (1984).
Chiefs coach Andy Reid joins Dan Reeves as the only coaches to face a franchise in the Super Bowl that previously took them to the big game.
Reid coached the Eagles to their second Super Bowl after the 2004 season before being fired after the 2012 season. He quickly built Kansas City into a powerhouse and is now poised for his fourth Super Bowl appearance as a head coach – the ninth coach to reach the mark.
Reid will hope for better luck in the rematch than Reeves had after the 1998 season against the Denver organization he led to Super Bowls in the 1986, ’87 seasons. and ’89. before losing all three. The Broncos beat Reeves and the Atlanta Falcons 34-19 in the Super Bowl.
Two other coaches faced their former teams in the Super Bowl and ended up on the winning side: Jon Gruden led Tampa Bay past the Raiders after the 2002 season, and Weeb Ewbank coached the Jets to a upset of the Colts after the 1968 season. .
The Eagles will be the sixth franchise to reach the Super Bowl under four coaches, with Nick Sirianni joining Doug Pederson, Reid and Dick Vermeil.
The Raiders, 49ers, Colts and Rams got there with four coaches, and the Broncos with a record five.
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Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce has had a playoff career that may only be topped by Jerry Rice’s best receiver ever.
Kelce has 127 catches in 17 career playoff games for 1,467 yards and 15 touchdowns. The only player to surpass either of those numbers was Rice, with 151 catches for 2,245 yards and 22 TDs in 29 playoff games.
The Mahomes-Kelce connection is also one of the best, with their 13 TD passes in the playoffs trailing only the 15 Tom Brady threw to Rob Gronkowski.
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