Steve Spagnuolo Brilliantly Broke Down Chiefs’ Game-Saving Defensive Play in Super Bowl Win

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On third-and-medium with two minutes left in Super Bowl LVIII, the Kansas City Chiefs desperately needed a big play.

The San Francisco 49ers had reached the Chiefs’ 35-yard line with ease, and looked poised to take the lead in a 16–16 game. Someone on Kansas City’s defense needed to step up.

Multiple players did, Chiefs defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo told Peter Schrager of Fox on Thursday’s episode of The Season With Peter Schrager.

Spagnuolo during the Chiefs’ 13-12 win over the Chargers on Jan. 7, 2024.

Kansas City Chiefs defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo went in depth on a play that helped keep the team alive to win Super Bowl LVIII against the San Francisco 49ers.

“Here’s what happened, Pete,” Spagnuolo said. “There was about 2:15, 2:20 to play when they broke the huddle. So we made the call.”

The 49ers, however, surprised Kansas City by working the clock down to the two-minute warning—at which point the Chiefs changed their approach.

“In my mind, this was a fourth-down play. It wasn’t a third-and-four, third-and-five, whatever it was,” Spagnuolo said. “I thought to myself, ‘I need to ask [linebacker] Nick [Bolton] about this.’ This is the trust I have in Nick Bolton.”

Spagnuolo electronically asked Bolton what he thought of a particular play, and Bolton responded in the affirmative. When San Francisco quarterback Brock Purdy sought wide receiver Jauan Jennings—one of the game’s stars—on the next play, cornerback Trent McDuffie was there to disrupt.

“It was a fourth-down call. We had it on our fourth down list,” Spagnuolo said. “Fortunately for us, our guys executed really well.”

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