Only seven teams in NFL history have won back to back Super Bowls. No one has repeated as Super Bowl champions since the 2003-04 New England Patriots that began its two-decade reign over the AFC.
However, given the circumstances of this truly unique season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Kansas City Chiefs are in prime position to climb the mountain and reclaim its throne as the champions of the NFL and create their own dynasty that could one day rival Brady and Belichek’s.
While the Chiefs try to get to that level, everyone knows that everything in Kansas City runs through quarterback Patrick Mahomes. The 2018 league MVP and Super Bowl LIV MVP received the largest extension for any pro athlete ever, signing a 10 year contract extension worth up to $503 million that will keep him in Kansas City until 2031.
While the contract numbers are certainly impressive, it's his play that steals the show. Mahomes is the quintessential quarterback for the modern NFL. He has the arm strength to drive the ball down the field in a December game in Denver, and the touch to thread the needle to any of his elite pass-catchers. He can comfortably stand in the pocket and pick defenses apart while also possessing the ability to move the pocket and improvise when needed.
While he isn’t as fast or agile as reigning league MVP Lamar Jackson, he has enough mobility to make teams look downright silly, as seen by his now-iconic scramble into the end zone in the AFC Championship Game against the Titans.
Finally, Mahomes has the poise of an elite quarterback. Many of his teammates have spoken at length about how he has a calming effect on them in the huddle in the biggest moments of games. Even while down 24 points against the Houston Texans in the playoffs, you just knew he was going to pull off awe-inspiring plays and make it a game again.
Mahomes may be the star of the offense — the Chiefs have built a fantastic team around him — with the vast majority of the players returning from last year.
Mahomes could probably dominate with a Brady-type supporting cast in New England, but lucky for him, Kansas City hasn’t put that burden on him. Speedy wideouts Tyreek Hill, Sammy Watkins and Mecole Hardman create separation so well that even top-tier defenses — like the San Francisco 49ers — struggled to contain them. Tight end Travis Kelce is an elite blocker as well as being a matchup nightmare for any linebacker or safety that has to cover him one-on-one.
At halfback, Super Bowl hero Damien Williams opted out of the season, so first-round draft pick Clyde Edwards-Helaire will slide into the starting role in week one. Edwards-Helaire dominated the Southeastern Conference on his way to helping Joe Burrow and Louisiana State University win the national championship.
On the offensive line, starting guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, who has a doctorate in medicine, has opted out of the NFL season to help out in a long term care facility in Quebec to help contain COVID-19. Kansas City signed veteran guard Keleche Osemele to replace him for the season.
Kansas City’s defense is no slouch either. When the team takes the field for the season opener, it will return nine starters from its Super Bowl team. Starting cornerback Bashaud Breeland will miss the first four games of the season for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy, but will return in week five to make a scary defense even better with 10 returning starters. The Chiefs ranked seventh in scoring defense last season, giving up 19.3 points per game.
On top of the insane amount of skill the Chiefs have accumulated on its roster, the effects the COVID-19 pandemic had on the NFL’s offseason may give them another leg up on many teams in the NFL.
The schedule and venues remain the same, and some teams, including the Chiefs, are allowing a few thousand fans to come and watch games live again. With one of the best home-field advantages in all of football at Arrowhead Stadium, the fact that the NFL and the local government are allowing some fans to experience games in person for right now will really provide a boost to a championship team like Kansas City in particular. In a season with so much uncertainty, the Chiefs have the blueprint to succeed.
The lack of roster and coaching turnover makes it easier for a team to run abbreviated practices without much contact, both protecting the players from a potential outbreak and saving their bodies physically for game days. In a season where you may not know if there’s a tomorrow, that gives a team like Kansas City a major advantage.
Andy Reid is one of the most well-respected coaches in the game and his command over his team will provide a sense of normalcy in the locker room. Mahomes might be the captain, but it’s still only his third season as the starting quarterback. It’s Reid’s team just as much as it is Mahomes’, and that camaraderie is why I’m liking Kansas City’s chances to lift the Lombardi Trophy once again this February.
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