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Super Bowl LVII Caps off Wild NFL Season

By Brady Campbell, Staff Writer

On Sunday, Feb. 12, the Kansas City Chiefs defeated the Philadelphia Eagles 38-35 in the Super Bowl. The 2022-23 National Football League (NFL) is in the books, and it didn’t come without its fair share of twists and turns. When the regular season ended on Jan. 8, many were caught off guard by which teams made the playoffs.  

Some teams like the Philadelphia Eagles, Kansas City Chiefs, San Francisco 49ers and Buffalo Bills breezed their way into the top seeds in the playoffs, while some teams came out of nowhere to sneak in. In the NFC, the New York Giants and Seattle Seahawks got into the dance in the final weeks while it came down to the last week for the AFC’s lowest seed. 

The Jacksonville Jaguars went on a tear to end the season, ripping off five straight wins on their way to a division title. Meanwhile, the Ravens and Dolphins, who were leading their divisions earlier in the season, limped into the playoffs with backup quarterbacks. With the injuries surrounding these teams, a lot of people were surprised that they made it into the postseason. 

Among them is junior broadcasting major Brendan Kaufman, who thought other teams would take advantage of the struggles of Miami and get the seventh seed. 

“I think the Dolphins definitely should not have made the playoffs. After Tua went down, they weren’t much of a team at all,” Kaufman said. “I was also surprised that Seattle made the playoffs because they also skidded towards the end after a pretty strong start.” 

Broadcasting alumni Ryan Boettcher had a similar view on the matter.

 “The Dolphins were a surprise to make the playoffs because the Patriots and Raiders had a chance to make it, and the Dolphins were playing with Skylar Thompson,” he said.

Once the playoffs began, it was anyone’s game, and the Wild Card round proved it. While some games went as expected, all of the games were exciting. The highlight games were the Jaguars erasing a 27-point deficit to stun the Chargers and the Giants pulling off an upset win against the Vikings. 

Boettcher felt it was impressive what the Giants and 49ers accomplished this year despite their uncertainties.

 “I was surprised by the Giants vs. Vikings outcome because I thought the Giants didn’t really have any weapons on offense,” he said. “Also, what Brock Purdy was able to do as a rookie, leading the 49ers to the NFC Championship, was surprising.” 

On the other hand, Kaufman anticipated most of the outcomes. 

“I was surprised that the Dolphins played the Bills so close even though Buffalo won, but other than that, nothing really surprised me,” he said. 

Leading up to the big game in Glendale, Arizona, the refereeing was a topic of conversation around the country. After a few questionable calls throughout the postseason, including a late hit call that sent the Chiefs to the Super Bowl to face the Eagles, many were fed up with the officiating. 

Kaufman believes that the officials have played too much of a role in deciding the outcome of games. 

“Sometimes they miss things. Sometimes they call things they normally would not call, but then they do. Sometimes they don’t call things they normally would. It has not been good, but that is how it’s been for the last few seasons,” he said.

Boettcher disagrees with this sentiment and believes the refs have been fair to both sides this postseason.

“Honestly, I actually didn’t hate the referees. Especially with the Super Bowl, they were both clear and obvious penalties. Both teams were getting equal calls, and I have no issue with it,” he said.

This came after some controversial plays in the Super Bowl, which helped the Chiefs get a 38-35 victory over the Eagles. 

Plays that drew the attention of many fans included a possible DeVonta Smith catch getting called back, a Nick Bolton scoop and score getting called back and the most crucial play was a holding call against Philadelphia cornerback James Bradberry on Kansas City wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster on the final drive. 

This set up kicker Harrison Butker for a game-winning 27-yard field goal to secure the Vince Lombardi trophy. This thriller is already being considered by many to be one of the greatest Super Bowls of all time. 

Boettcher, who works at CBS Sports Radio, talked about his take on air the week leading up to the big game.

“I predicted on the radio that the Chiefs would win,” Boettcher said. “I was sweating a ton because I thought the Eagles were in control for most of the game.” 

Both agreed that Mahomes should have been the MVP of the game, but if it wasn’t for one play, another Chief could have won it. 

“I was not surprised that Mahomes won MVP, although I think Nick Bolton would have won it if that other fumble recovery for a touchdown counted,” said Kaufman. 

In a game that showcased the future of the NFL, the quarterbacks put on a show. 

“I believe Mahomes is already a lock for the Hall of Fame, honestly. What he has done with the little time he has had is incredible,” Kaufman said. “I think Jalen Hurts will bounce back from this, and I don’t think he will regress, but I’m not sure if the team will make it back to the big game again.” 

The quarterbacks were not the only ones with their legacies on the line, as Chiefs coach Andy Reid, formerly coach of the Eagles, and current Eagles coach Nick Sirianni are at different points in their careers. 

“I feel like Sirianni made leaps and bounds with the talent he has, and he made a great culture to which the Eagles should be a powerhouse for the next three or four years,” said Boettcher. “For Andy Reid, I don’t think you can ask much more from him. He has been one of the best coaches in the NFL for the last 10 to 15 years, and this Super Bowl victory seals him as a Hall of Famer easily.”  

While Reid is coaching some of the best talent in the league, it is undeniable that he has one of the best football minds. 

“Granted he has Mahomes, but what he has been able to do with the defense, special teams and play-calling has been amazing,” Boettcher said. “He outcoached Sirianni so much that the injuries and the talent difference we saw between the teams didn’t matter.” 

It will be hard for the NFL to top the excitement that the 2022 season brought, but the future looks bright for the league. With many teams seemingly becoming playoff contenders, it should make for an interesting free agency and draft.           

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