LAS VEGAS — Ten weeks ago, you would never have heard someone say, “The Chiefs won the Tyreek Hill trade.” The Dolphins were tied for the top seed in the AFC, with Hill leading the world in receiving yards, while the Kansas City Chiefs‘ offense was floundering — even an eighth consecutive AFC West title wasn’t a sure thing.
Fast forward to Sunday night, and the Chiefs have won back-to-back Super Bowls without Hill and have a solid set of young WRs that stepped up to put a stamp on the league’s newest dynasty.
Chiefs Win 2 Super Bowls After Tyreek Hill Trade
Mecole Hardman, a second-round pick by the Chiefs in the 2019 draft, has been a part of all three Chiefs titles, but it hasn’t always been an easy road. He was injured in the 2022 season, did not play in the Super Bowl, and signed with the Jets before this season.
But he only had one catch through five games and was traded back to the Chiefs. In Super Bowl 58, Hardman had a big first-half catch to get the Chiefs offense going and caught the game-winning TD in overtime.
“This was a roller coaster. It was a lot of ups and downs. I was going through a lot, especially with the injury, trying to start over with a new team, and didn’t really play. Kansas City welcomed me back with open arms. Now, to get here to the Super Bowl and the end and how it ended. I don’t think I want it any other way.”
Hardman said he blacked out after catching the ball and didn’t know they won until Mahomes ran and hugged him. “When you black out, and you just come back to reality, and I think it was one of those moments where I blanked in and snapped it like, oh, like we won it, you know.”
He wasn’t the only young WR to help the Chiefs fill the void created when KC traded Hill to Miami in March 2022 for five draft picks. Rashee Rice, a second-round draft pick out of SMU last April, led all Chiefs wideouts with 79 catches and a team rookie record seven touchdowns. Rice finished tied for sixth in Offensive Rookie of the Year voting and had six catches in Super Bowl 58.
“Just to be able to be a part of the team, around a lot of great players, and just be able to be on the inside and not looking out because last year, I was just kind of watching the Super Bowl,” said Rice on being a part of this title team as a rookie. “Not really knowing how much it took to actually get to this point and even just to be able to finish the Super Bowl game.”
Yes, Hill has 238 catches, over 3,500 yards, and 20 TDs since being traded from the Chiefs to the Dolphins, but he also has zero playoff wins while the Chiefs are celebrating for the second consecutive year without him. They have the game’s best coach and best QB, a Hall of Fame tight end, and good enough replacements for Hill to hoist multiple Lombardi trophies.
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