The Kansas City Chiefs won the Super Bowl on Sunday with a play that looked eerily familiar to a pair of scoring plays from last year’s Super Bowl win over the Philadelphia Eagles.
It turns out it was the same play.
In a postgame interview with NBC’s Peter King, head coach Andy Reid broke down the play that saw Patrick Mahomes hit Mecole Hardman for a walk-off touchdown in overtime to defeat the San Francisco 49ers.
“We call it Tom and Jerry,” Reid said. “It involves a couple people.”
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Why Tom and Jerry?
“They’re dirty little rats, dog gone it,” Reid said jokingly. “So it was a good play. [Jerrick] McKinnon is part of that. And then Pat has a read.”
Chiefs used same motion to score on Eagles
The familiar part of the play is Hardman’s pre-snap motion, which is affectionally referred to as corn dog. It’s a redux of two plays that resulted in touchdowns during Kansas City’s win over the Eagles last season. It involves a receiver slotted wide motioning inside pre-snap, then turning back toward the sideline at the last moment in an effort to misdirect the defender in coverage.
Here it is in last year’s Super Bowl next to Sunday’s game-winning play.
In the example from the Eagles Super Bowl, Kadarius Toney baited cornerback Darius Slay into running inside, leaving him wide open on the sideline for a touchdown that gave the Chiefs a 28-27 fourth-quarter lead. The Chiefs also used a similar motion on a late touchdown pass from Mahomes to Skyy Moore.
In Sunday’s example, 49ers defenders Logan Ryan and Charvarius Ward both leaned inside when Hardman started his motion. Ward gave chase when Hardman turned back outside, but it was too late. Hardman had picked up enough separation to secure the game-winning touchdown.
‘For sure they’ll cover corn dog’
That Hardman broke open surprised Reid. He told King that the Chiefs implemented the familiar motion as a decoy. But when Hardman broke free, Mahomes knew where to look.
“We built corn dog in saying, for sure they’ll cover corn dog,” Reid said. “They’ve seen it. We thought that would be a good disguise, pull an extra man out there, and we can run the shovel in there.
“But they converged on the shovel. And corn dog worked out. They manned it up on the outside, and it worked.”
Reid acknowledged the difficult spot in which the play put the 49ers.
“It’s hard,” Reid continued. “You’ve got to kind of pick what you’re gonna work on, what part you’re gonna cover. I’m not questioning them because they’re too good to question. That group is phenomenal. It just worked out in our favor where we’re able to get the thing.”
The full name of the play is: Tiger 12, Tom & Jerry right, Gun trips, right bunch, F shuttle. Reid further broke down the anatomy of the play with King, explaining that the “12” element designates Hardman, who wears No. 12.
“Tiger 12, that puts Mecole in and two tight ends, one running back,” Reid said. “Tom and Jerry right. One-way play. We don’t have a lot of one-way plays, but this is it. It’s gun trips right bunch, F shuttle. And that gives you a little corn dog with some mustard and ketchup.”
Corn dog explained
Why corn dog? Reid explained that element of the play-call to King last season after it was successfully used against the Eagles.
“There’s nothing better than a good corn dog with some mustard and ketchup,” Reid told King after last season’s Super Bowl win. This is peak Andy Reid.
Mahomes had options on fourth-and-1 conversion
Reid also broke down another key play, the fourth-and-1 run in overtime that Mahomes converted with an 8-yard carry. He explained that offensive coordinator Matt Nagy drew it up, and Mahomes was eager to run it with the Super Bowl on the line.
“Pat, he goes, ‘Listen, if I don’t have it, then I’m running it,'” Reid said. “‘I’ve got it covered. I want to go with that play. I’m good with it.’ So we gave it to him, and he went off and did it.”
Reid confirmed that the play was an option, not a strictly designed run, and Mahomes was the third option. Travis Kelce was the first option if the 49ers were in man coverage. The second option was dependent on multiple factors. Mahomes opted for the third and saved the Super Bowl for the Chiefs.
Daniel Miller is a sports fanatic who lives and breathes athletics. His coverage spans from major league championships to local sports events, delivering up-to-the-minute updates and in-depth analysis for sports enthusiasts.