LAS VEGAS — Mecole Hardman began the season dreaming about winning a Super Bowl with the Jets.
He ended it actually winning it with the Chiefs.?
Hardman caught a 3-yard game-winning touchdown in overtime to give the Chiefs a thrilling 25-22 victory over the 49ers.?
The play was called “Tom and Jerry” and quarterback Patrick Mahomes said that Hardman did not even realize the game was over when he caught it.
“Can I tell you a quick funny story?” Mahomes said on the NFL Network with his arm around Hardman. “I threw a touchdown to this dude to end the game and he had no idea. I said, ‘Dude, we just won the Super Bowl. He had no idea. He didn’t even celebrate at the beginning.”
Hardman said it was not that he did not know the game was over but he just “blacked out.”
“When I saw the cornerback up, I knew I was going to get the ball,” Hardman said. “I caught the ball and I blacked out. I’m not going to lie. I saw Pat running toward me and I was like, ‘Oh, we just won.’ After that, the rest is history.”
It was an amazing ending to a season Hardman described as a “roller coaster” earlier in the week.
The Jets signed him to a $4 million contract last offseason, but then barely used him before trading him to the Chiefs in October.
Hardman had one catch in his entire time with the Jets.
He had three Sunday.?
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“There were a lot of ups and downs,” Hardman said. “Going through a lot, especially with the injury [to end last season] and then starting over with a new team and didn’t really play. KC welcomed me back with open arms and now to get here to the Super Bowl and to end how it ended, I don’t think I’d want it any other way.”
Hardman had three catches for 57 yards and the touchdown Sunday night.
He had a 52-yard catch earlier in the game.?
“I couldn’t be happier for my guy,” Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce said. “It brought me to tears that he was the man. Sometimes the media world can be pretty harsh on a guy. Mecole is one of my favorite teammates ever because he just keeps showing up and he keeps finding ways to win. He had a huge play early on that sparked us. On top of that, he found a way to win the game for us.
“Everybody counted him out. Even the Jets counted him out. We were so excited when he got back in the building because he’s the kind of guy that brings everybody together.”
The Jets talked about having a big role for Hardman when they signed him but he only played 28 snaps in five games and was inactive for another game with them.
The Jets traded Hardman back to Kansas City, where he had spent the previous four seasons, in October along with a 2025 seventh-round pick in exchange for a 2025 sixth-round pick.
That trade worked out for the Chiefs on Sunday night.