April 19, 2024

Mecole Hardman, a former Georgia Bulldog, secured the Kansas City Chiefs’ overtime win in Super Bowl 58 with his third grab of the night.

When the Kansas City Chiefs selected Mecole Hardman in the second round of the 2019 NFL draft, he was expected to be Tyreek Hill’s body double and eventual replacement. Instead, Kansas City let him go this offseason, and Hardman got a four-million dollar deal with the New York Jets.

The Chiefs then dealt with New York in October to acquire Hardman back, as they were desperate for wide receivers. He had made only one catch as a Jet. Hardman caught three catches for 57 yards last night in Super Bowl 58, the biggest of which was the game-winning score in overtime.

 

Chiefs HC Andy Reid addressed Mecole Hardman's fumble vs. Bills

 

It was an unforgettable storybook ending, which he described postgame as a “roller coaster,” but Hardman didn’t remember the final play that secured his team’s 25-22 victory over the San Francisco 49ers and the former Georgia Bulldog’s back-to-back Super Bowl rings.

“Can I tell a quick funny story?” Patrick Mahomes posed a question to the NFL Network panel during a postgame interview with Hardman and his quarterback. “I tossed a touchdown to this guy to close the game, and he had no idea. He didn’t even celebrate in the beginning.”

Hardman admitted that he simply “blacked out,” but said, “When I saw the cornerback up, I knew I was going to receive the ball. I just caught the ball and blacked out, I won’t lie. I watched Pat run toward me and thought, ‘Oh, we just won.’ Following that, the rest is history.”

He told a similar narrative during his interview with the NFL on the CBS panel down on the field.

“Roller coaster” is a good way to define not only Hardman’s personal season, but also the Kansas City Chiefs’ 2023-24 season, in which they were underdogs three times in a row in the playoffs and overcame a 10-point deficit against San Francisco.

“We’ve been through the battles, man,” Hardman told KSHB 41, a local Kansas City television station. “We hit adversity and we hit it head on, we defeated it and now we’re here Super Bowl champs.”
A touch of that difficulty arrived last night, just after Hardman caught Mahomes’ 52-yard bomb to put the Chiefs on the San Francisco nine-yard line. Isiah Pacheco, the Kansas City running back, fumbled on the very next play.

Hardman will be an unrestricted free agent again this offseason, but his brief stint in New York may cause both he and the Kansas City front staff to reconsider letting him go.

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