The Lamar Hunt Trophy is coming home.
Named after the Kansas City Chiefs‘ original founder, the trophy has been presented to the winner of the AFC Championship Game dating back to 1985. Unfortunately for the Chiefs, the team has had two opportunities to claim the conference title since, but have come up short both times – losing last year to the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots and in 1994 when Kansas City was dropped by the Buffalo Bills.
That all changed on Sunday as the Chiefs defeated the Tennessee Titans 35-24 to punch their ticket to Super Bowl LIV in Miami, Florida. This marks the franchise’s third-ever trip to the Super Bowl – the first since the 1969 season when Kansas City defeated the Minnesota Vikings 23-7 in Super Bowl IV.
After falling behind 24-0 to the Houston Texans last weekend, the Chiefs got off to another slow start on Sunday, falling behind 10-0 in the first quarter. By halftime, Patrick Mahomes and company had jumped out to a 21-17 lead thanks in part to an impressive 27-yard scamper down the sideline. The Chiefs ‘potent offense proved to be too much for Tennesse down the stretch, ripping off another 14 points in the second half.
Chiefs Await Winner of the NFC Championship
Back in Week 8, Green Bay came into Arrowhead Stadium and took down the Chiefs, 31-24. Of course, Kansas City was without the services of QB Patrick Mahomes who was resting a knee injury suffered the week prior in Denver.
Led by their young, first-year head coach Matt LaFleur, the Packers played their way to a 13-3 regular season record and the No. 2 spot in the NFC playoff picture. Two of their three losses came prior to their Week 11 bye week, falling to the Philadelphia Eagles at home and falling flat in a surprising road loss to the Los Angeles Chargers. Interestingly enough, Green Bay’s worst performance of the 2019 season was a brutal 37-8 loss to the 49ers. Following the Week 12 loss in San Francisco, the Packers rattled off five consecutive victories to end the year, including wins over all three NFC North division rivals in the final three weeks.
Similarly to their NFC counterparts, the 49ers have ridden a dominating defense to a 13-3 finish and the conference’s No. 1 overall seed. Their only true hiccup was a Week 15 home loss to the Atlanta Falcons on a last-second touchdown by WR Julio Jones. San Francisco’s two other defeats came down to the wire on game-clinching field goals, including an overtime loss to division rival Seattle and the NFL’s best regular season team, the Baltimore Ravens.
If Green Bay can pull off the upset on the road, football fans will be in for a rematch of Super Bowl I as the NFL celebrates the conclusion of its 100th season on February 2 in Miami.
For more NFL updates, follow Chris Licata on Twitter: @Chris__Licata