Chiefs’ Isiah Pacheco let himself enjoy Super Bowl 2023 victory

GLENDALE, Ariz. — When it ended, the kid from Rutgers cried on the field with family. 

“It’s a dream come true,” Isiah Pacheco said after Chiefs 38, Eagles 35 in Super Bowl 2023. “It was already written, my grandpa told me. For me, as a rookie, to continue on the task and eliminate distractions going into this game — you can be at your highs and your lows, but for me it was stay level. … Sometimes I tend to get a little too excited in getting ready for the game, but today I was able to control that. I was able to stay even and get back to my tasks — my job — so I was able to focus in 100 percent.” 

It was the culmination of a story of triumph over tragedy. He was 16 in 2016 when his older brother Travoise was stabbed to death at the age of 29. His sister Celeste, a mother of three, was found dead in her home in 2017 from a gunshot wound to the head at 23. 

He was asked what his grandfather told him before the game. “Hey Pa, it’s already written’. He told me straight like that, ‘It’s already written’,” Pacheco said. “For me to look him in his eyes and say, ‘Yes, sir’. For me to just pray and I broke down before I got here, two days before I was coming to the Super Bowl because it all hit me. You focus in on your job so hard, eliminating distractions. But sometimes, you tend to focus on your job so hard that you could forget to be human. 

Isiah Pacheco #10 of the Kansas City Chiefs celebrates
Isiah Pacheco made his New Jersey family proud with a standout Super Bowl 2023 performance.
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“For me, I had to give back to my family and tell them I’m sorry that I wasn’t there throughout,” Pacheco said. “Even if I wasn’t there texting back all the text messages, I’m just focused on the job. And they know that I have their support and they support me. Coming from New Jersey, thousands of people watching from New Jersey because Philadelphia’s their team. For me to show how hard I eliminate distractions and focus on the job would allow me to be at my best in the unit.” 

Pacheco grew as a player and as a person and resembled nothing like a seventh-round rookie. 

“It means the absolute world to me,” he said. “Especially when you write down in your notes what your goals are and then you come back to them. For me, I’m going to come back to them, grab that pen, and check them off. We did it, but for me I still feel like there’s more to improve. There’s more to get out there and look on the film to get better at. Just continuously finding ways to get better. I’m satisfied with the win, on my first one, but I’m unsatisfied because I know that there’s more that could’ve been left out there.” 

He ran angry, the way he always runs, with 48 of his game-high 76 yards in the second half. 

“I’ll say we allowed our personality to show,” Pacheco said. “We came to win and rose as one to the occasion. Eleven guys played their hearts out on that side of the ball and that’s what it takes. For 11 guys to play their hearts out or the job wouldn’t get done.” 

Isiah Pacheco rushes during the Chiefs' Super Bowl win.
Isiah Pacheco rushes during the Chiefs’ Super Bowl win.
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His 1-yard TD run cut the Chiefs’ deficit at the time to 24-21. 

“For me, I have to soak it all in,” he said. “Coming here, scoring my first touchdown as a rookie. Finishing here, with a touchdown as a rookie. I’m just blessed by my brothers, I couldn’t do it without them. Day in and day out we pushed to get here, we strived for moments like this. Being accountable for one another, it shows for ourselves how much we support each other.” 

He even got to give Andy Reid a Gatorade bath with fellow rookie Skyy Moore. 

“So we grabbed the Gatorade jug and we took on the rookie duty, but it was a memorable moment for me and Skyy and I’ll cherish it forever, the rest of my life,” Pacheco said.

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