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It’s Time to Recognize Chiefs’ Unlikely Hero

Football, NCAAF, CFB, NFL article at Knup Sports

Let’s not forget about what Kadarius Toney did for the Kansas City Chiefs in the Super Bowl, after being traded to the Chiefs mid-season.

Everyone’s still talking about the ticky-tack holding call that set up the Kansas City Chiefs’ winning field goal in their 38-35 win Sunday over the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LVII. And Patrick Mahomes’ grit. And Jalen Hurts’ MVP-worthy performance. And the Kelce brothers and their mother.

Why aren’t more people talking about Kansas City wide receiver Kadarius Toney? You know, the guy whose Super Bowl-record 65-yard punt return in the fourth quarter was arguably the biggest play of the game. The guy whose 5-yard touchdown pass from Mahomes early in the fourth quarter gave the Chiefs their first lead of the game 28-27. Toney was wide open when he made the catch. He could have walked backwards into the end zone.

Eight Snaps

Perhaps the lack of recognition is because Toney was on the field for just eight snaps during the game and he touched the ball only three times, just once before the fourth quarter. That was on a 12-yard punt return in the first quarter.

Toney’s 65-yard punt return, the longest in Super Bowl history, was a thing of beauty. Not even the embarrassing field conditions at State Farm Field in Glendale, Ariz., could stop him. After gathering in Arryn Siposs’ short punt — only the Eagles’ second punt of the night — at the Kansas City 30 with no Philadelphia player within 10 yards of him, Toney ran to his left, slipped away from the Eagles’ Zach Pascal, then quickly cut to his right. From there, the 24-year-old speedster followed a wall of blockers down the sideline. Siposs had a shot at tackling Toney but missed, and Toney wasn’t stopped until he reached the Eagles’ 5.

“I saw a lot of white jerseys in front of me,” Toney said about his journey down the sideline.

A Super Punt Return

There has never been a punt return for a touchdown during the Super Bowl. Toney’s 65-yarder came awfully close. That return topped the former Super Bowl record of 61 yards by Denver’s Jordan Norwood in Super Bowl 50.

Two plays after Toney’s historic return, Mahomes threw a touchdown pass to Skyy Moore and the Chiefs led 35-27.

From Giants to the Chiefs

So who is Kadarius Toney? A guy who wasn’t on the Chiefs’ roster until midway through this season. A first-round pick by the New York Giants in 2021 out of the University of Florida, he didn’t get much of a chance to make a statement in his nearly two seasons with the Giants, playing in just 12 games.

The 6-foot, 193-pounder from Mobile, Ala., had 41 catches for 420 yards with the Giants, with nearly half those yards coming on a 10-catch, 189-yard effort in a 44-20 loss to Dallas in Week 5 in 2021. Toney was ejected late in the game for punching Cowboys safety Damontae Kazee during a dust-up between Kazee and the Giants’ Evan Engram.

After not playing since Week 2 this season because of a hamstring injury, Toney was traded to the Chiefs in late October for a 2023 third-round compensatory pick and a 2023 sixth-round pick.

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