I’m really interested to see how this Super Bowl goes down in history. I went into this subject a little bit last summer, with the Devin Hester historical comic, but when we think back on Super Bowls, they tend to be defined by individual moments. The moments we think of first when the subject of the game comes up. Patriots/Eagles? The Philly Special is probably the moment you thought of first. Broncos/Panthers? Probably the Cam fumble. Giants/Pats? The helmet catch or the Manningham catch, depending on which one it is. The less entertaining a Super Bowl, the more difficult it is to remember, because it doesn’t have that one thing that brings it into your head. Rams/Patriots from 2 seasons ago? Uh…I guess maybe the Jared Goff overthrow or the Gronk Catch, but I had to strain to remember those, and that game was literally two seasons ago. I still remember dozens of plays from much older games.

This most recent bowl is interesting because the only thing I’ve really seen discussed at length since it happened was the Mahomes throw. Nothing the Bucs did was particularly spectacular. They just dominated effectively. No circus catches, no big defensive plays: the only thing Bucs related that feels relevant is the Winfield taunt to Tyreek Hill. That taunt ruled by the way, totally worth it. The circumstance of the game itself probably should have been the moment, but with the stands basically full the COVID element of the year was lost. Tom Brady celebrating in an empty stadium would have been a sight burned in our minds. Instead, the most enduring image of the super bowl was Mahomes herculean effort in service of failure.

I would like to reiterate that the 4th down throw that he made, running for his life, horizontally a foot off the ground, is probably the best throw I’ve ever seen in my life. The previous throw might have been the second best. Mahomes was wrapped up, bought himself one more spin move, and threw a wobbler that felt destined to get picked but landed only out of reach of a Chief in the endzone. Then he follows that up with yet another incredible scramble, falls down while being tackled, and throws a perfect goddamn spiral 30 yards from a foot off the ground while sideways. It was a perfect throw. It would have made the first down, if not the touchdown, when the team desperately needed it. It plunked off 31’s helmet. The greatest throw on one of the greatest individual efforts I have ever seen plopped to the ground, destined to be forgotten. And yet it hasn’t been. Maybe it won’t be.

Maybe that image of Mahomes, floating in space preparing to launch his final desperate attempt to save this game, will be the enduring legacy of this matchup. A man doing literally all he can do in a doomed effort. It should be a legacy moment for the man himself. A symbol of inspiration to never give up no matter how bad things get. I will fight anyone who says Mahomes was bad that game. The man left it all on the field in ways we rarely see. Reducing that throw to an incompletion on a stat sheet is removing the humanity and majesty of that moment, removing what made it special.