Super Bowl 2023: The Chiefs’ Isiah Pacheco has been promoted to the Super Bowl X-Factor from seventh-round pick

PHOENIX: Who doesn’t love a good Cinderella story? However, when you look at these Super Bowl teams, you tend to think that there aren’t any. After all, you have the two No. 1 seeds in a game that also features two quarterbacks who are finalists for league MVP. Sounds more like Goliath vs. Goliath. And it is. But if you want your underdog to solve the problem, he resides in the Kanas City backfield with Isiah Pacheco.

A year ago, Pacheco had just finished his last season with Rutgers and was preparing for the NFL Draft, where he would eventually be drafted 251st overall in the seventh round. Given his draft status, it was more likely he would be a roster filler than a bonafide Impact player. Fast forward to the present: Pacheco has not only blossomed into a teammate for Kansas City, but is also considered a mainstay of their offense.

For a testament to just how drastic the surge Pacheco has experienced, see Monday night. He was one of only 10 Chiefs players, along with the likes of Patrick Mahomes, Chris Jones and Travis Kelce, to be elevated to a podium during Super Bowl Opening Night, a spot usually held for players unifying at their respective clubs have high standards. Not too shabby for #251.

“As a seventh-round pick, you always have something to prove,” said Pacheco. “If you dream big, you can get it. That was always something I had in mind, being at this level on this stage. I still get the tremors because it feels unreal, but it’s real and it’s here, so I have it to embrace.”

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Pacheco showed his potential fairly early, 62 total yards on just 12 carries in the Chiefs’ blowout win over the Cardinals in Week 1. He’d popped up here and there over the weeks, but the tide really turned when he was given that Started work in Week 7. From that moment, Pacheco totaled 681 rushing yards to finish the regular season while averaging 4.9 yards per carry and giving KC a much-needed ability to lead football effectively to Prolonging drives and producing the clock late.

In two playoff games this year, Pacheco’s game has remained consistent, averaging 6.6 yards per touch, and he’s now gearing up for a Super Bowl start.

“It happened so quickly for me,” he said. “I have to absorb everything and allow the game to come my way because it’s going to be very exciting. I know my adrenaline is going to be high so I just have to be patient.”

The Chiefs could be leaning on Pacheco to try and exploit one of the few weaknesses Philadelphia has: stopping the run. The Eagles rank 24th in NFL yards allowed per rush this season, giving up 4.6 yards per carry. With that mismatch, Pacheco, a guy who got hit by one of the very last picks in the draft, is one of the biggest X-Factors on the NFL’s biggest stage. If successful, he’d sit atop a Lombardi-sized cherry in what was a fairly unlikely rise to stardom. Super Bowl 2023: The Chiefs’ Isiah Pacheco has been promoted to the Super Bowl X-Factor from seventh-round pick

Chris Estrada

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