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Super Bowl: The Kansas City Chiefs will play the San Francisco 49ers on Feb. 11

A MARTÍNEZ, HOST:

Kansas City is heading to the Super Bowl again. The Chiefs are now one of only three teams to make it to the Super Bowl four times in the span of just five years. They'll face off against the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday, February 11. Jesse Washington is senior writer for ESPN's Andscape. He joins us now. Jesse, I know Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce - I know they're good. I know this, Jesse. But my goodness, they're - they've been really good for a long time.

JESSE WASHINGTON: Man, just another example of why Patrick Mahomes might be the best that we've ever seen do it at the quarterback position. Kelce passing the great Jerry Rice, the 49er Jerry Rice, for most postseason catches - I mean, it was amazing.

MARTÍNEZ: Yeah. What is it about this team, Jesse, that just keeps them so dominant for so long?

WASHINGTON: Oh, it's simple. It's Patrick Mahomes.

MARTÍNEZ: Oh, OK (laughter).

WASHINGTON: I mean, let's not get it - get confused here. The guy makes every throw. The guy - every time you need a big run, he's going to give it to you, just playing mistake-free football. You know, this year we thought that the MVP of the league was the Ravens' quarterback Lamar Jackson. And he played great this season. But on Sunday, not so much, you know? He had a bunch of crucial overthrows when they were trying to come back and tie the score, had a - pretty much a bad throw into the end zone that ended an interception that pretty much extinguished the Ravens' hopes. That is what Patrick Mahomes never does. That's why they're going to the Super Bowl.

MARTÍNEZ: Yeah, for Lamar Jackson, I mean, was it just a bad game, or - I mean, because as you said it, I mean, he was the MVP possibly of the National Football League. They had one of the highest scoring offenses in the league. And then just, like, they completely tanked.

WASHINGTON: He did have a very bad game, you know, and it's too bad because there's a narrative around Lamar that's followed him ever since he came to the league, that he's not a real quarterback and all this kind of stuff. And he is. He just didn't play well. But let's not all put it on him. You know, the rest of Baltimore really sort of wilted under the spotlight too - three turnovers, dropped fumbles, eight penalties, just bad penalties and bad situations. They almost got back in the game. Lamar threw a bomb to Zay Flowers, and he runs it down to the 10-yard line. But then when he gets up he taunts the cornerback that he caught it over, L'Jarius Sneed. Then Flowers has a chance to redeem himself and is going for the end zone, and the guy he taunted punches the ball out. Chiefs recover in the end zone. That was pretty much it.

MARTÍNEZ: All right. In the other conference, the NFC, the 49ers overcame a big deficit at halftime to reach their first Super Bowl in - their second Super Bowl in five years. 49ers have a quarterback named Brock Purdy, Jesse. He was the last pick in the NFL draft just a couple of years ago, and now he could be a Super Bowl champion.

WASHINGTON: Man, Brock was balling. Put some respect on that man's name. You know, he was running. He was throwing. And the Niners scored on all five of their first possessions in the second half, ran off 27 unanswered. I mean, at halftime it looked like Detroit was going to their first Super Bowl ever. It looked like they would win their first road playoff game since 1957. But it was not to be.

MARTÍNEZ: All right. Chiefs, Niners, Super Bowl LIV rematch - the Chiefs won that game. Who wins this time around?

WASHINGTON: Oh, man. I knew you were going to do this. And I'm going to say the same thing...

MARTÍNEZ: It's early, Jesse. I know. There's a lot can happen between now and then.

WASHINGTON: This ain't fair. Now, I do remember that the last time we spoke, I went against Detroit, and my mom reminded me that I got that wrong. So the pressure is on. And how can you bet against Patrick Mahomes?

MARTÍNEZ: Yeah.

WASHINGTON: It's just hard to do. You know, the Niners got a lot of weapons. The Chiefs have a great defense this year that doesn't really give up more than seven points in the second half. So I got to go with Patrick Mahomes.

MARTÍNEZ: All right. Jesse Washington, senior writer for ESPN's Andscape. Thanks a lot.

WASHINGTON: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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