Chiefs Kingdom Reigns Again

02/03/2020

QUOTE OF THE DAY
Chiefs TE Travis Kelce

“You gotta fight, for your right, to Lombardi!”

Congrats to the three winners of our Super Bowl pick ‘em; Mike HordSari VanSleet, and David Goldberg. All three correctly picked the NFL playoffs, Super Bowl MVP (Mahomes), and came within a point of the correct final score (31-20). You’re getting a free gift from The Sportsletter store. Letter Rip!


  NFL  

50 Years to Lombardi

Super Bowl LIV: Chiefs def. 49ers (31-20)
First Super Bowl Victory Since 1970

On January 11, 1970, the Kansas City Chiefs won Super Bowl 4 over the Minnesota Vikings (23-7). They hadn’t been back since. The 50-year anniversary celebration looked bleak with 10 minutes left, but Patrick Mahomes needs little opportunity and little time to flip the script.

In a near repeat of their first two playoff games, Kansas City overcame a double-digit deficit to do the unthinkable in the fourth quarter. Trailing 20-10, QB Patrick Mahomes caught fire and the Chiefs offense scored 21 points on three consecutive drives in less than seven minutes. RB Damien Williams found the end zone twice, including the game-icing touchdown. Mahomes won Super Bowl MVP despite one of the poorer performances of his career, and Andy Reid raised his first Lombardi Trophy.

50 years later, it’s a celebration in Kansas City!

Super Bowl Notes & Highlights

  • Comeback, Kansas CityThe Chiefs became the first team in NFL history to win three straight playoff games after trailing by 10 or more points.
  • Andy, At LastHead Coach Andy Reid finally won a Super Bowl after 21 seasons and 15 playoff appearances. The Super Bowl LIV win was his 222nd career victory (6th most in NFL history), and it came on 2/2/2020.
  • MVP: Showtime MahomesMahomes is the second-youngest QB to win a Super Bowl (Ben Roethlisberger, 2006), and the first quarterback in NFL history to win MVP and a Super Bowl ring before the age of 25. His 12 combined passing and rushing TDs this postseason are an NFL playoff record.
  • The Swing Play: The moment that turned the game was a 3rd-and-15 conversion by Kansas City with 7:00 remaining. Mahomes found WR Tyreek Hill for a 44-yard deep ball.
  • Stat of the Night: Mahomes’ 78.1 passer rating marked the fourth-lowest of his young career. Sunday night’s performance statistically ranked in the 11th percentile of Mahomes’ 35 NFL games, and it was still good enough to win the Super Bowl.

Memorable Sports Droughts: The Chiefs (50 years) join a long list of recent sports teams to end lengthy championship droughts, including the 2016 Chicago Cubs (107 years), 2017 Philadelphia Eagles (56 years), 2019 St. Louis Blues (50 years), 2019 Toronto Raptors (25 years), and 2019 Washington Nationals (50 years).

Watch: Super Bowl LIV Highlights (NFL)

Additional Super Bowl Reads
The Ringer: How the 49ers Blew Their Super Bowl Hopes
TIME: Patrick Mahomes Confirms His Greatness
SI: Best Commercials From Super Bowl LIV
CBS Sports: Super Bowl Confetti Featured Fan Tweets

*Check tomorrow’s edition for an Underdog feature on Chiefs head coach Andy Reid.


  NBA  

Mamba Out, But Not Forgotten

Lakers Honor Kobe With Emotional Tributes

Friday’s Lakers-Blazers game at Staples Center stole the spotlight in the NBA weekend, and rightfully so. Damian Lillard tapped into the Mamba Mentality and went for 48 points and a near triple double (11 assists, 9 rebounds) to spoil the first home game since Kobe Bryant’s death (127-119), but it was LeBron James’ pregame speech that won the weekend.

“This is a celebration of the 20 years of the blood, the sweat, the tears, the broken down body, the getting up, the sitting down, the everything, the countless hours, the determination to be as great as he could be. Tonight we celebrate the kid who came here at 18 years of age, retired at 38 and became probably the best dad we’ve seen over the last three years…”

“So in the words of Kobe Bryant, ‘Mamba out’. But in the words of us, ‘not forgotten’. Live on brother.” — LeBron James

Watch LBJ’s Pregame Speech (B/R)

Lillard’s Historic Streak
Lillard said it was only right to honor Kobe by competing like the Mamba. His Friday night performance was the first 45-point, 10-assist game at Staples Center since Kobe Bryant (2010). After a 51-point outing again on Saturday, Lillard is the first player in NBA history to average better than 45 points and 10 assists over a six-game span. Read More (NBA.com)


TENNIS

Rally Finales in Melbourne

Djokovic & Kenin Win Australian Open Titles

Two Australian Open finales produced a pair of come-from-behind champs in Melbourne over the weekend. It’s No. 8 for the Djoker and the first Grand Slam title for American Sofia Kenin.

Djokovic Wins 8th Aussie Open
Novak Djokovic took the first set against Dominic Thiem early Sunday morning before dropping back-to-back sets and trailing the Austrian, 2-1. The match turned dramatic in a flash after the Serb exchanged words with the chair umpire. But with his back against the wall, Djokovic rallied to deliver a five-set thriller (6-4, 4-6, 2-6, 6-3, 6-4) and capture his eighth Australian Open title. It’s his 17th Grand Slam overall as he closes the gap on Federer (20) and Nadal (19).

Highlights | Read More (B/R)

Kenin Wins 1st Career Grand Slam
The 21-year-old American wasn’t on anyone’s radar coming into Melbourne, but she took what the draw gave her and delivered a tournament of brilliance. Kenin (seeded 14th) defeated just one seeded opponent en route to her first slam, but it was (1) Ashleigh Barty in the semi-final. On Saturday morning, Kenin stormed back from a first-set loss (4-6) to dominate Garbine Muguruza in the final two sets (6-2, 6-2). Women’s tennis is officially packed with young superstars.

Highlights | Read More (ESPN)


 NFL

Lamar Jackson Wins MVP

2nd Unanimous MVP in NFL History

Lamar Jackson was the last pick of the first round in the 2018 NFL Draft. Less than two years later, he’s the NFL MVP. Not only did the 22-year-old QB win the award at Saturday’s NFL Honors after a season with 43 total TDs and over 4,300 yards, but he became the second unanimous selection in NFL history (Tom Brady, 2010).

Watch Lamar Jackson’s MVP Speech (NFL.com)

NFL Honors
Offensive POY: WR Michael Thomas (Saints)
Defensive POY: CB Stephon Gilmore (Patriots)
Offensive ROY: QB Kyler Murray (Cardinals)
Defensive ROY: DE Nick Bosa (49ers)
Coach of the Year: John Harbaugh (Ravens)
Man of the Year: DE Calais Campbell (Jaguars)

Complete List of NFL Awards (NFL)

2020 Hall of Fame
Troy Polamalu, Edgerrin James, Isaac Bruce, Steve Atwater, Steve Hutchinson, +15 Members of Centennial Class Read More (NFL)


OTHER HIGHLIGHTS

🏀 NBA: Kyrie Catches Fire
Nets guard Kyrie Irving lit up the Bulls for 54 points in the weekend’s top performance. Irving finished 19-for-23 from the field, including a perfect 10-for-10 start with seven 3-pointers. (ESPN)

🏒 NHL: Penguins Halt Ovechkin’s Streak
The Pittsburgh Penguins put an end to Alex Ovechkin’s goal streak with a 4-3 win on Sunday. Ovechkin scored 11 goals in five games including back-to-back hat tricks, but the Pens are now within four points of the Capitals in the Metropolitan race. (SportsNet)

⛳️ PGA: Simpson Steals Scottsdale in Playoff
Webb Simpson staved off Tony Finau with back-to-back birdies on Hole 18 and a playoff to capture the Waste Management Phoenix Open Sunday at TPC Scottsdale. Simpson (-17) shot a 2-under final round. (PGA Tour)

⚽️ SOCCER: Ronaldo Still Rolling
Cristiano Ronaldo continued his epic goal streak over the weekend with two of Juventus’ three goals in a 3-0 shutout against Florentina. Ronaldo now has 12 goals in Juve’s last nine games. (Serie A)

🏀 NCAAB: Upset Saturday: 8 of Top-25
March Madness is going to be a toss-up. No individual link here, just eight top-25 teams who got upset on Saturday: #8 Villanova, #10 Seton Hall, #11 Oregon, #13 Kentucky, #16 Butler, #21 Houston, #23 Wichita State, and #25 Rutgers.


HEADLINES

Mahomes’ Kneel Downs Lead to Bad Beat for Bettors
(FTW)

Rockets in Discussion With Hawks for Clint Capela Trade
(Bleacher Report)

Redskins TE Vernon Davis Announces Retirement in Gronk Skit
(CBS Sports)

Cowboys Likely to Use Franchise Tag on QB Day Prescott
(ESPN)

NFL Players Association to Vote on 17-Game Schedule in New CBA
(Sports Illustrated)

Chargers and Head Coach Anthony Lynn Agree to Contract Extension
(Yahoo! Sports)