LAS VEGAS — Never.
Never count him out.
In a city where there are big winners and bigger losers, Patrick Mahomes stands supreme, again, as the king of the NFL.
Mahomes ended a pulsating game Sunday on an intense and frenzied night with a 3-yard touchdown pass to Mecole Hardman — who started the season with the Jets — to give the Chiefs a 25-22 victory over the 49ers in Super Bowl LVIII inside Allegiant Stadium.
The pass came after nearly 15 minutes of overtime and instantly should be cataloged as a bruising, bullish classic of a game that again put Mahomes’ ultimate greatness on display.
“That guy’s got magic in his right arm, man,’’ tight end Travis Kelce said.
Rookie Jake Moody had given the 49ers a 22-19 overtime lead with a 27-yard field goal and the Niners needed one defensive stop to capture their first Lombardi Trophy in 29 years — and avenge a loss to the Chiefs in the Super Bowl four years ago.
They could not do it.
Mahomes said he told his teammates it was winning time.
“We fell short in regulation, we’re not going to let them do it again,’’ said Mahomes, named Super Bowl MVP for the third time.
Mahomes ran for 8 yards on fourth-and-1.
He hit rookie Rashee Rice for 13 yards on third-and-6.
He scrambled up the middle for 19 yards on third-and-1.
The Chiefs were in field goal range but wanted to end it there and then.
“Never a doubt,’’ Kelce said.
This was the fourth Super Bowl appearance for the Chiefs in the past five years and their third championship.
It is Hail to the Chiefs for accomplishing something that has not been done in nearly two decades.
The Chiefs are the first back-to-back champions since the Patriots in 2004 and 2005.
That makes sense.
That was Tom Brady and Bill Belichick.
This was Mahomes and Andy Reid.
The Patriots were a dynasty.
The Chiefs can now make that claim.
And they have Taylor Swift, Kelce’s mega-star girlfriend, along for the ride.
Kelce’s bullish 7-yard gain on a short pass from Mahomes set up the game-winning touchdown pass to Hardman, a Jets castoff.
Who can’t Mahomes turn into a champion?
With Swift down on the field — having made the sojourn from her concert tour in Japan — and smiling widely, Kelce on the podium during the postgame celebration belted out an off-key rendition of “Viva, Las Vegas.”
Given the turn of events, it must have sounded melodic to the world’s most popular singer-songwriter.
Mahomes after a slow start finished 34 of 46 for 333 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.
Kelce had nine catches for 93 yards.
“I mean, I hope people remember not only the greatness that we have in the field, but the way that we’ve done it,’’ Mahomes said. “I feel like we enjoy it every single day. We have fun. We play hard. And it’s not always pretty, but we just continue to fight to the very end.’’
Brock Purdy was 23 of 38 for 255 yards and one touchdown for the 49ers.
Receiver Jauan Jennings threw a touchdown pass and caught a scoring pass.
Christian McCaffrey lost a fumble early, but rushed for 80 yards and caught eight passes for 80 yards, including a 21-yard catch-and-run from Jennings that put the Niners up 10-0 late in the second quarter — just as they held a 10-point lead four years ago on the Chiefs in a Super Bowl and could not hold it.
“We’ve gotten pretty damn close, but we haven’t pulled it off,’’ Niners coach Kyle Shanahan said. “And we’re hurting right now, but it doesn’t take away from how proud of our guys I am.’’
It felt as if the Niners were on the verge of being able to proclaim “There goes the last great American dynasty.’’
But in the end, the music stopped for the 49ers.
“I thought we were going to win,’’ Jennings said. “How much does it hurt? Anybody got a nail I can step on? About that much.’’
There were five lead changes after halftime. It was a game of near misses and settling for field goals — three by Moody, four by Harrison Butker, including a Super Bowl-record 57-yarder.
Moody with 1:53 remaining in regulation hit a 53-yard field goal to put the Niners up 19-16.
Mahomes got the ball and did what he specializes in doing. He directed an 11-play, 64-yard drive that ate 1:50 off the clock.
Mahomes to Kelce for 22 yards made it a makeable 29-yard field goal for Butker, who made it with three seconds remaining in regulation.
Steve Spagnuolo’s Chiefs defense pitched a third-quarter shutout but the Niners have too many weapons to hold down forever. Purdy found Jennings for 16, Brandon Aiyuk for 20 and cashed in with a 10-yard scoring strike to Jennings, who staged a coming-out party in the big game.
The extra point was blocked and the 49ers lead was 16-13.
Back came Mahomes, finally locating Kelce (twice) and then Justin Watson for 25.
The drive reached the 3-yard line but then stalled, as the Niners’ defense stiffened and all the Chiefs could get out of it was Butker’s 24-yard field goal for a 16-16 tie with 5:49 left.
It was legacy time for someone. It turned out, it was Mahomes and the Chiefs, again.
It’s been a long time coming.