Must-see TV: 9 questions to address following Super Bowl 58

Feb. 14—The Kansas City Chiefs have now played in four Super Bowls in five seasons and won three of them.

What this franchise has done in half a decade is nothing short of impressive. And up until this year, that was mostly on the back of young superstar quarterback Patrick Mahomes. I will talk about more about that later in the column.

From head coach Andy Reid to Mahomes and tight end Travis Kelce, Kansas City found the perfect foundation to build around.

This year the big win was accomplished with yet another comeback and it was on the strength of its defense this time around. Guys like Chris Jones and L'Jarius Sneed led the way and the Chiefs earned a 25-22 overtime victory in the waning seconds of the game.

But the most interesting part of the game is that Taylor Swift's lucky number of 13 appeared twice in overtime as both teams' overtime possessions were 13 plays long.

I have nine questions I'd like to address following Super Bowl 58:

How did the Chiefs neutralize the San Francisco 49ers' hot start?

The biggest thing was obviously forcing the fumble on the opening drive. San Francisco drove 46 yards in four plays before Christian McCaffrey coughed up the ball.

That's more than 11 yards per play and the ball was already on the 29 in Kansas City territory.

That was likely going to be at least 3 points on a field goal from Jake Moody if not a touchdown.

That same argument can be made for the momentum being killed for Kansas City on its third drive.

The Chiefs only had 16 yards of offense on seven plays after their first two drives. The third drive began with a first down after three plays making it 30 yards of offense on 10 plays.

That's when Mahomes aired it out to Mecole Hardman for the 52-yard gain down to the 49ers' 9-yard line. The Chiefs fumbled on the next play.

But I believe this is less detrimental to the leverage in the contest. I think Kansas City survived this because its defense had been so good already and just had to keep doing what it was doing. The 49ers took more of a blow from their fumble because that would have set the tone at the beginning of the game and put Kansas City down by a touchdown in the first five minutes.

It was huge for the Chiefs to get points on the board before halftime and not have to fight back from two possessions in the second half.

How did the 49ers give up the lead?

Both teams made mistakes in the game. That's no secret. Both teams were flagged for six penalties. Both teams had two turnovers. What wasn't the same was points off of those turnovers.

The 49ers' first-half fumble was huge in terms of momentum. Same with the Chiefs' first-half fumble. But neither of those miscues directly resulted in points.

Mahomes threw an interception to begin the second half. That was a killer for them to make a quick comeback and tie the game. But the 49ers punted on their ensuing drive and did not get points from that mistake.

There was one turnover that immediately resulted in points. The ball falling on the foot of a San Francisco blocker gave the ball to the Chiefs just 16 yards away from the end zone. It took one play for them to get the lead back.

Turnovers hurt but they're especially bad when they result in immediate points.

Also, late in the game it appeared Kansas City had significantly more success to tight ends and some of that success came in the middle of the field. Kelce himself went from 26 receiving yards through three quarters to 93 at the end of the game. And I know prior to his outburst that Noah Gray and Justin Watson had some catches in the third quarter.

I think that could have been a big halftime locker room discussion from Reid and his offense about attacking the absence of Dre Greenlaw, who tore his achilles running out onto the field early in the game.

How did the 49ers leave the door open for KC?

The immediate response to take the lead back with 11:22 to play after a 12-play, 75-yard drive looked like it might be enough to put the 49ers back in control with a 17-13 lead. But then Moody's point-after touchdown was blocked and the Chiefs only needed 3 points to keep the game alive at 16-13.

Similar to the 49ers' turnover resulting in points for KC, a blocked PAT keeps points off the board for them. That essentially delivers an 8-point swing to the Chiefs.

And give credit where it's due, the Chiefs did a great job of hustling downfield to recover the muffed punt and then made a big block on the kick. Nothing is guaranteed and the Chiefs' special teams made huge plays to swing this game late.

After back-to-back-to-back field goals being kicked, the game went into overtime at 19-19. Obviously, the Chiefs won the game there being the team to cross the goal line. I think that is where their experience at this stage, paired with strong defense, won them the game.

The Chiefs' defense won them this game from start to finish and did that most of the year having to pick up the slack from an offense that didn't score more than 27 points after Nov. 26 in that same Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas when it scored 31 on the Raiders in a win.

Now let's cover some after-the-game questions:

Were Kelce and Rashee Rice in the wrong for their interactions on the sidelilne?

To put it as simply as possible, no. But I'm a man of many words so let's discuss this.

Kelce was furious about not being in on the play that led to a turnover. Was he a little aggressive? Sure. Was it maybe over the top? I don't know. His brother Jason says so from their podcast "New Heights" on Tuesday.

But my take is that Kelce has every right to express his frustrations with his coach. He is a grown man after all. Let's not act like he isn't worthy of that strong, aggressive opinion if he feels like things aren't being handled correctly.

Now, could it have been handled differently in a locker room or later and not right on the edge of the field? Absolutely.

But I don't want to hear that this is going to make kids think it is OK to yell at their coaches. Let's go back to the grown man thing. Kelce is grown, your 12-year-old son at home isn't going to look at Kelce and think he's the same as him and start yelling at his football coach next fall and bump into him aggressively out of frustration. And neither will a high schooler who understands they aren't the same as a 34-year-old professional athlete.

Plus, if his teammates and coach aren't complaining about his act, why do we care about it?

Rice was seen shouting back-and-forth with star quarterback Mahomes. Rice is a rookie. He shouldn't have taken such a big leap of courage to yell at his star leader, right?

Wrong. That shows a young player with backbone and no fear to let someone know they were open on a play. And I don't care if the read was to go to Kelce on that play. He wasn't open and Mahomes could see that very early into that play and it was going to take a perfect ball and perfect timing to make that catch happen.

Instead, if he pump fakes and gives up on that throw, he can scan to the middle and see Rice cutting across wide open for a touchdown.

Rice was right and I don't care if he's a rookie. Let your QB know you want the ball in those key moments as well when the game is on the line.

Was this SB win more impressive than the first two?

I've seen this question surface since the game and I don't think so. I'm not sure what it would take from a team for me to say one championship is more impressive than the next because being the best in the league is the most impressive thing you can do all year.

I think it takes different types of teams sometimes but that doesn't mean one win is more impressive than the other.

This was a defense-led team instead of a Mahomes-led team with a strong offense. And there's nothing wrong with that. Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos won it in 2015 with an elite defense and a pretty average offense most of the year.

In fact, the Chiefs were 15th this year in points per game at 21.8. In 2015, the Broncos were 16th at 22.2. Both offenses were average but I don't think that makes the Super Bowl win more impressive. It just required a different type of team to win it all.

How does the offense improve?

It starts by catching more passes. But, Mahomes has to regroup and be better as well. He was tied for fourth-most interceptions by a quarterback this year at 14 and threw one in the big game.

With all of the free agents and resignings that are likely to happen on defense, it will be interesting to see if the Chiefs target a free agent wide receiver or just try to draft another one.

Rice will only get better. I think with a personality like he displayed on Sunday and the talent he possesses he can be a real tough guy to defend as he develops. Rice can be a stud in this league.

But you have to have more than Rice and Kelce to throw the ball to and I'm just not sure any other active players strike me as big-time receivers. Maybe Hardman can be that guy.

But it's important this offense continues to develop. I don't think average production will cut it two years in a row.

Can the defense be that good again?

It certainly can be but it fully depends on who comes back with expiring contracts on guys like Jones, Sneed, Mike Danna, Willie Gay Jr., Drue Tranquill, Mike Edwards, Derrick Nnadi and Tershawn Wharton.

The key names are obviously the first two. You have to bring back one of them. If the Chiefs lose both, they're in trouble. But bring back one and then maybe two or three of the other names and this defense will still be solid.

Can the Chiefs 3-peat?

They are capable. But it hasn't happened yet in the NFL and in February the easy answer is no. I will return to this question in August.

Will the 49ers be back?

I think so. The offense stays the same and Brock Purdy proved he can do it this season so I won't doubt him next season. I mean he played in his first Super Bowl with zero turnovers.

The big question mark is if Chase Young returns to San Francisco or not. And as young as he is on a team that was that close this year, I don't see why he wouldn't.

Could we get three Chiefs-49ers Super Bowls in a span of six years?