PATRICK Mahomes is on the verge of becoming the youngest quarterback to start three Super Bowls, but the Kansas City Chiefs star is more interested in becoming the 13th to earn multiple Super Bowl rings.
Mr. Mahomes will be playing in his third Super Bowl in the past four campaigns, and his task on Sunday is to solve the dominant defense of the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LVII at Glendale, Ariz.
Mr. Mahomes will be 27 years, 148 days old when he takes the field but is already viewed as an NFL great. He is 1-1 in previous Super Bowls, having beaten the San Francisco 49ers 31-20 in Super Bowl LIV and losing 31-9 to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Super Bowl LV one year later.
The right ankle injury Mr. Mahomes sustained against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Jan. 21 is healing, but he won’t be 100 percent against the Eagles.
“You won’t know exactly how it is until you get to game day,” Mr. Mahomes said on Wednesday. “I mean, I definitely move around better than I was moving last week or two weeks ago. So it’s just trying to continue to get the treatment and the rehab and get it as close to 100 percent and then rely on some adrenaline to let me do a little bit extra when I’m on the field.”
Philadelphia’s defense, ranked second in the regular season at 301.5 yards allowed per game, will be swimming like sharks around Mr. Mahomes.
The Eagles have racked up 78 sacks during the regular season and postseason. That is third most all-time behind the mid-1980s Chicago Bears, who had a record 82 in 1984 and 80 in 1985.
Linebacker Haason Reddick has been particularly ferocious with a career-high 16 regular-season sacks and another 3.5 in two playoff games.
Three other Eagles posted a career-best 11 sacks apiece in the regular season: defensive ends Brandon Graham and Josh Sweat and defensive tackle Javon Hargrave.
“Just so many great players, man,” Mr. Reddick said. “From the edges to the interior, even when our guys … come in when our starters come out, there’s no drop-off in production when our second group is in there.”
Philadelphia will look to corral Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, who ranks second all-time in postseason receptions (127) and receiving yardage (1,467) and is tied for second with Rob Gronkowski with 15 postseason touchdown grabs. Jerry Rice leads in all three categories.
Mr. Kelce is part of a juicy storyline as he and older brother Jason (the Eagles’ center) will become the first set of brothers to play against one another in Super Bowl history. Both Kelces already own a Super Bowl ring, but Travis is 3-0 in matchups against Jason.
“Whoever wins this one will have the ultimate bragging rights,” Jason Kelce said.
Chiefs coach Andy Reid is looking for his second Super Bowl ring as he faces the organization that fired him in 2012 after 14 seasons. Mr. Reid ranks second all-time in postseason victories (21) behind Bill Belichick (31).
The 64-year-old has tried to swat away “Andy Reid Bowl” questions all week. He reached five NFC title games with the Eagles but just one Super Bowl, a 24-21 loss to the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XXXIX.
Also a hot topic is whether the Chiefs can stamp themselves as a dynasty with a second Super Bowl win in four seasons. Mr. Reid, not surprisingly, has no interest in the subject.
“I’m not really into all that,” Mr. Reid said. “It’s important in our world as coaches and players that you try to get better every day. You’re only as good as your last game, or your next game, I should say. We’re striving to focus on this thing and try not to worry about all that stuff.”
The quarterback matchup between Mr. Mahomes and Philadelphia’s Jalen Hurts is noteworthy, marking the first Super Bowl in which each team has a Black starting quarterback.
Only three Black quarterbacks have won a Super Bowl: Doug Williams (Super Bowl XXII), Russell Wilson (Super Bowl XLIX) and Mr. Mahomes.
Mr. Mahomes and Mr. Hurts are both NFL regular-season MVP candidates.
“It’s not about me. It’s about the team,” the multi-dimensional Mr. Hurts said. “Football is the ultimate team game, and you can’t have one player with the belief that he can succeed without the others around him.”
Three Eagles were limited practice participants on Wednesday: right tackle Lane Johnson (groin), center Cam Jurgens (hip) and cornerback Avonte Maddox (toe), though the team listed “rest” as a secondary reason for their partial absence.
Kansas City wide receiver Kadarius Toney (ankle, hamstring) was limited in practice on Wednesday. — Reuters