Football’s New Dynasty: The Kansas City Chiefs

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The Kansas City Chiefs joined elite company Sunday night as they are only the ninth team in NFL history to win back-to-back Super Bowls and the first since the New England Patriots did it in 2003 and 2004. Patrick Mahomes has added to his already astounding legacy and the Swifties got the storybook ending they all wanted. 

As many people were, I was torn going into the game. The 49ers have the better roster from top to bottom, but if there’s anything I’ve learned as a football fan, it’s tough to bet against the better quarterback-coach combo, and the Chiefs certainly have San Francisco beat in that regard. 

The 49ers without a doubt played better than KC in the first half. They moved the ball downfield with relative ease, held the Chiefs offense about as well as anyone can and had a touchdown lead going into halftime. The problem is that it felt like they should have been up two or three touchdowns. And Mahomes is in that realm where if you don’t capitalize and you keep him in the game for too long, you have that nauseating feeling that he will execute when it’s most important.

That worry for Niner fans came to fruition. The third quarter got off to a slow start as neither team could do anything in each of their first two possessions before the Chiefs kicked a field goal to make it 10-6, cutting the lead to four points. 

All of the momentum in this game shifted when Tommy Townsend’s punt hit Darrell Luter Jr. in the foot and resulted in a KC recovery. The odds of that are so slim and to give Mahomes the ball inside the San Francisco 20-yard line in those circumstances is devastating. This slip-up was all the Chiefs needed to find the end zone, as it resulted in a 16-yard receiving touchdown for Marquez Valdes-Scantling. 

I’ll credit San Francisco in that they bounced back from that to march down and score a touchdown themselves. But this led to the next killer for San Francisco, when the extra point attempt by Jake Moody was blocked, making the score 16-13, meaning KC was only down one score and could kick a field goal to tie it instead of being down one. 

Mahomes did just that; he took the Chiefs down the field and got to the three-yard line where the 49ers made a crucial third down stop, forcing KC to kick the field goal instead of taking a four-point lead with a touchdown. Following that drive, each team proceeded to kick a field goal to send the game to overtime. 

Perhaps the most shocking decision of this game was San Francisco’s overtime approach. I was surprised to see the Niners choose to receive the ball at the start of the period. I understand the argument for choosing to receive because if both teams score and it’s tied, San Francisco could get the ball back and kick a field goal to win the game. But there’s an issue with that way of thinking. 

According to the NFL postseason overtime rules, if the game is to go to a second overtime, the captain of the team who lost the first overtime coin toss (in this case, the Chiefs) chooses whether they want to kick or receive. So if both teams possessed the ball and it’s still tied after one overtime period, the ball would be back in Mahomes’ hands. 

But that’s not my biggest contention with the decision. The Niners wound up kicking a field goal in their possession in overtime, having to make the difficult decision of kicking it instead of going for it on 4th & 4 at the eight-yard line. The Chiefs proceeded to drive down the field and finished the game with a three-yard touchdown to receiver Mecole Hardman, making them back-to-back Super Bowl champions. 

The problem with taking the ball first is you don’t know what’s needed to win or keep the game going. San Francisco didn’t allow Kansas City to march down the entire field and score a touchdown once up to that point. Their one touchdown score came when they started their drive from inside SF’s 20-yard line. If I’m head coach Kyle Shanahan, I’m trusting my defense and letting KC get the ball first. If they do score, you have a chance to tie it right back up or even win the game with a two-point conversion. 

Even more baffling than the decision itself was the 49ers’ overall lack of awareness. Multiple players, including fullback Kyle Juszczyk and defensive lineman Arik Armstead, admitted after the game that overtime situations were never discussed and they didn’t even know that the playoff overtime rules were different (each team gets at least one possession). That’s absurd to me. I’m sure Shanahan was aware of the rules, but to not cover all bases and hash out every possible scenario with your players before the biggest game of everyone’s career is ludicrous. 

On the other hand, Chiefs safety Justin Reid claimed that head coach Andy Reid had the squad well prepared for the overtime situation. According to [Justin] Reid, the team discussed the new overtime rules “every week of the playoffs.” 

But that’s beside the point. The main point is that the Kansas City Chiefs, despite all doubt and claims of this team not having the talent needed, won a second-straight Super Bowl title. 

Mahomes has joined elite company by winning his third ring; the only others to do so are Tom Brady, Joe Montana, Terry Bradshaw, Troy Aikman and Earl Morrall. Keep in mind that Mahomes is only 28 years young. 

Mahomes is officially on the Brady trajectory, and it’s safe to say that conversations can be had regarding where he stands in the GOAT conversation. He’s nowhere near Brady yet from a longevity standpoint, but it is without a doubt true that Mahomes has a more impressive resume at this age than Brady did. 

Through their age 28 seasons, both had three Super Bowl rings, but Mahomes has three Super Bowl MVPs to Brady’s two, Mahomes has two league MVPs to Brady’s zero and Mahomes has Brady beaten by a landslide statistically. In the playoffs, Mahomes has thrown for 5,135 yards to Brady’s 2,493, and he leads him in touchdowns 41-15. Mahomes has made it to the AFC Championship in all six seasons he’s started; Brady made it four of his first six seasons. Must I go on? 

This ring also puts Andy Reid on a short list of names as he’s only the fifth head coach to win three or more Super Bowls. Frankly, I don’t see the Chiefs’ success dying off anytime soon as long as they have him paired with #15. 

Early on in the season, it was consensus opinion that the Chiefs’ receiving core was miserable, toward the bottom of the league, certainly not good enough to win the Super Bowl. They have Travis Kelce, but in terms of actual wide receivers, it was abysmal. They were dropping passes left and right. 

However, Rashee Rice improved a lot throughout the season and seems to be a proven young talent Mahomes can trust. This team lost arguably the best wide receiver in the league two years ago, Tyreek Hill, and proceeded to win back-to-back Super Bowls. That’s ridiculous. What happens if they go and get a true No. 1 receiver again, say, Tee Higgins? That’d be scary, to say the least. 

Steve Spagnuolo may have solidified himself as the best defensive coordinator of all time after this championship. He’s now won four Super Bowls (more than any other coordinator), one with the New York Giants and three with the Chiefs. Spags put on a masterclass in this game, keeping the Niners’ offense on edge with well-timed pressures and excellent coverages. This defense kept KC in the game the entire time, much due to Spags’ schemes. 

One of the biggest calls of the game came on 3rd & 4 when San Francisco had the ball with the game tied 16-16. Spagnuolo had the guts to rush with Trent McDuffie, KC’s star cornerback, who went untouched and broke up Brock Purdy’s pass, forcing the Niners to kick the field goal. This defense has got a lot of solid young pieces, such as McDuffie, cornerback L’Jarius Sneed, defensive end George Karlaftis, etc. If defensive tackle Chris Jones sticks to his word and stays in Kansas City, this defense will remain menacing, especially with Spagnuolo signing an extension. 

It’s scary to think that there’s a good chance that the Chiefs will be even better next year than they were this year. They’ve got $22.8 million in cap space to work with, which can be allocated toward another Chris Jones extension, more offensive weapons or whatever they need. If they make some important free agency signings and hit on draft picks this year to add to the many young, talented pieces they already have, this success can certainly be sustained. Kelce is getting older but has proven through this postseason that he can pick his spots and still comes up big when the lights are brightest. It appears as if Andy Reid doesn’t have any intentions of leaving Kansas City anytime soon. It’s safe to say the Chiefs are a dynasty; something tells me it may not be over yet either.