National Football League
Eagles, Chiefs were best teams all season, setting up an epic Super Bowl
National Football League

Eagles, Chiefs were best teams all season, setting up an epic Super Bowl

Updated Jan. 30, 2023 10:16 a.m. ET

If you want storylines — and of course you want storylines, because the Super Bowl is coming and narrative is king — they are clearly lined up for you.

When the Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles face off a couple of Sundays from now, there will be tales within the tales. Going through them all, devouring all the paraphernalia and plot, well, it's the best way to fill time until football's greatest, grandest, loudest show.

To take one example, there will be a pair of siblings on opposing sides — one hailing from a team based in the City of Brotherly Love, no less.

Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce and Eagles center Jason Kelce will get plenty of attention and are sure to occupy popular podiums on media night, though the most sought-after interview might be whoever can get the exclusive with their mom, Donna, who owns a delightful hybrid jersey comprised of half of each of her sons' uniforms.


There will be a continuation of Ankle Gate, or Ankle Watch, or the Mahomes Movement Microscope, because Patrick Mahomes' capacity for footwork matters hugely in any game, especially the biggest one of the season.

For a while, there will be talk of the teams that didn't make it and will maybe feel they should. Joe Burrow thought he'd get a chance in overtime but didn't. The San Francisco 49ers discovered that going down to your emergency quarterback isn't a favorable recipe. The Dallas Cowboys briefly flirted with a return to the golden days before reverting to type.

But there's one storyline relevant above all others right now and that's not going to shift between this very moment and the opening kickoff on Feb. 12.

This is not just the Super Bowl, it's the right Super Bowl.

There are other ways the postseason could have easily gone. Heck, if not for an outrageously ill-thought shove on Mahomes in the waning seconds on Sunday night, the Cincinnati Bengals could well be preparing for a second straight trip.

The seedings might have lined up differently or injuries could have put an alternate complexion on so many scenarios. A play here, a play there, all that good stuff.

'They deserve a trip to the Super Bowl'

Kevin Burkhardt and Greg Olsen talk about the Philadelphia Eagles defeating the San Francisco 49ers to head back to the Super Bowl.

Yet the truth holds that this is how it should be, for these have proved to be the best two teams in the National Football League, based off a body of work that stretches back to Week 1.

The Eagles and Chiefs have had their tribulations, no question about it. They didn't always look infallible. Other teams went on phenomenal tears, especially the pair that lost in the respective championship games.

It is these two though, the first dual No. 1 seeds to duke out a Super Bowl since Philly reserved a special treat for New England five years back. They were the most consistent, the most proficient and ultimately most deserving of the chance to shine in front of a monumental global audience (Sunday, Feb. 12 on FOX and the FOX Sports app).

There is little to choose between them because there are no glaring flaws in either squad.

Mahomes has been good enough for long enough that we're just used to it by now. He no longer, frankly, gets as much credit as he should. The Chiefs went 14-3 and lost that trio of games by a combined tally of 10 points, two of them against nemeses in the Buffalo Bills and the Bengals. Now they will try to add to the title won three years ago.

"When I first got into the league it all happened so fast, I won the MVP, I won the Super Bowl, and I thought that was just how it went," Mahomes told reporters. "Now that I've dealt with failure, losing an AFC Championship and a Super Bowl, I know how much hard work and daily grind it takes."

The Eagles lost three themselves, but only two of these were when Jalen Hurts was under center. The other, the defeat to the Washington Commanders that cut off an 8-0 start, could easily have turned into a narrow win if not for fumbles and poor fortune.

"We put a lot of work in to have this opportunity," Hurts said. "It is a moment we want to enjoy as a team. Everything we have been able to overcome, we want to take advantage of it."

They're both very hungry; the Eagles because they see an opening of a window and the Chiefs because their window has been open for long enough that the wind of expectation is starting to get breezy.

Hurts and Mahomes have some things in common. Both were outstanding this season, with Mahomes the overwhelming favorite to win the MVP award on Feb. 9 and Hurts, all things considered, probably most deserving of second place, with Burrow, Josh Allen and Justin Jefferson also on the ballot.

At 24, Hurts is the same age Mahomes was when he first appeared in the big game, back when we thought he and his team might prove to be unstoppable in the following years.

They haven't, but they've proved mightily difficult to beat; the same description that could be conferred upon the Eagles this season.

It may or may not be a Super Bowl for the ages, for such things can never be accurately predicted, but it is a true mouth-watering matchup between teams of supreme quality.

At the start of a fortnight filled with storyline after storyline — oh, brother — that's the juiciest one of all.

Martin Rogers is a columnist for FOX Sports and the author of the FOX Sports Insider newsletter. You can subscribe to the daily newsletter here.

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