While many have viewed New England’s run as “over” with their disappointing ending to 2019 and Tom Brady leaving or Tampa, many have looked at what team is the “new NFL dynasty as the team of the 2020’s perhaps. Many have pointed at the defending Super Bowl Champion Kansas City Chiefs as being that dynasty. Are people right with that assumption?
I really didn’t think about it until I went on a podcast from Jason Feirman (AKA the Sports Prophet-and an excellent writer and has excellent views on football) a few months ago as somehow the talk already went about how already Pat Mahomes may be one of the best ever (not by him but talk in general). Now I didn’t go that far, haven’t gone that far, nor will go that far within the next 3-5 years. But it made me think about the Kansas City Chiefs in general. If Mahomes is to get to that level, Kansas City HAS to be a team with a dynasty.
So what are the tools of Kansas City and possibly being the team of the decade?
#1. PAT MAHOMES: I’ve said on numerous accounts I was wrong on Mahomes on what my prediction of him was. And I’m glad I was. In two full seasons as the Chiefs starting quarterback, he is at the very worst a top 3 QB in the game. An MVP season in 2018 and at least in consideration for one in 2019 if not for the knee injury. But Mahomes came back and fired on all cylinders when it mattered. His passing is excellent, and his scrambling ability is nothing short of brilliant (his run against the Titans in the AFC Championship Game is a great example), and combine it with his decision making, you have an elite quarterback at its finest. Adding on, Mahomes is not a guy that is rattled. He can be up two scores or down two scores and he is still unfazed. You don’t find those guys around unless the names were Montana or Brady. IF there is one concern about Mahomes and possibly longevity is he does run more often than normal for a quarterback. Not a knock, but most running quarterbacks are more prone to injury and don’t play into their late 30’s/early 40’s as we’ve seen with Brady and Brees. But quarterbacks can adapt and Mahomes is definitely one who can, largely because of who his head coach is.
#2. ANDY REID: Until last year when Reid finally hoisted the Lombardi Trophy after years of Playoff disappointments in Kansas City and Philadelphia, he was considered “yeah, he’s a good coach, but not a Super Bowl coach.” Well, you can’t use that as an argument. But to me what gets lost in EVERYTHING with Reid is year in and year out he gets teams to contend from beginning to end. I think people forget Reid inherited a squad the year before was 2-14. He acquired Alex Smith from San Francisco and had the first overall pick (Eric Fisher who is still a key cog on the Chiefs offensive line). Kansas City started off 9-0 and made the playoffs off that hot start. Since Reid has taken over, the Chiefs have finished over .500 every year and made the playoffs all but once. And going back to Mahomes for a second, why I think Mahomes will have a prolonged career is that Reid will encourage him to adapt to be more of a legit passer. It worked in Philadelphia with Donovan McNabb. So if anything Reid gets often overlooked.
#3 STRONGER EMPHASIS ON DEFENSE: What set the Chiefs back until 2019 was the defense. They were a mess. Then they added Arizona/Houston safety Tyrann Mathieu in the off-season. It was a match made in heaven. Mathieu became the backbone of that defense and led the Chiefs to a vastly improved defense (especially against the pass-top 10 in most passing categories). Combine it with a strong front that went after the quarterback often, and you had a winning recipe. Of course there are still holes notably against the run and if those linebackers can improve it’s possible. One guy at least in 2020 I’m curious to see how he does is Taco Charlton. While we could snicker about it, Reid is one who does reclamation projects pretty well and gets the most out of guys who are thought to be “done” or “flops.”
#4. AFC WEST COMPETITION: If you kinda look at the last three major dynasties in football (49ers-80’s/early 90’s, Cowboys early/mid 90’s, and Patriots) you have to also look at the division. I’m not knocking down their dominance but the competition had been relatively weak. San Francisco’s chief competitor in the NFC West for that time period was the Rams mostly. The Saints and Falcons were year in and year out bad in that time period). Dallas did have chief competitor in Philadelphia, but the Redskins and Cardinals were horrible and the Giants weren’t consistent. And the Patriots had three teams who couldn’t get out of their own way. Kansas City doesn’t really have a legit challenger staring down at them in their division right now. The Raiders are a team that *could* challenge especially when it comes to their offense of having Josh Jacobs, Henry Ruggs, Nelson Agholor, and Jason Witten for weapons of Derek Carr (or Marcus Mariota). Denver added rookies Jerry Jeudy and KJ Hamler at receiver while adding Melvin Gordon in the backfield, but it is a stretch with two rookies and a running back who really hasn’t panned out yet with a very young quarterback. And the Chargers are really in a rebuild. And Kansas City for now is not in a division that is earth shattering like say the NFC West or even the NFC South where there is competition.
#5. HANDLING OF CONTRACTS: Any team unless you have been the Patriots often have to deal with contract issues and the salary cap and losing key guys. Obviously the contract nearing expiration is Mahomes. But let’s face it: he’s staying put. And probably for the highest paid contract in NFL history. I think we are all in agreement on that (probably contrary to Dak Prescott’s views). The good news for the Chiefs is that they already have locked up explosive players Tyreek Hill and Mecole Hardman for the next three seasons. Defensive End Frank Clark is under contract for four seasons and Anthony Hitchens is locked up for 3. But then the concerns arise a bit. After 2020, key players will be on their final season such as Fisher, Mathieu, Travis Kelce, and technically Mahomes (I’m pretty certain he’ll get his contract). Do you let your MVP of the defense where it finally showed great things walk? Do you let a guy to protect Mahomes from getting hit too often walk? Do you let Mahomes favorite target walk? It’s a scenario Kansas City has to answer and with Mahomes going to eat up a large fraction of the payroll, the worst case scenario is losing at least two. But if Kansas City is financially savvy and/or drafts well next year it will be very interesting how they move forward.
Before I proclaim the Chiefs as the next NFL dynasty, nothing is ever a given in the NFL and I know that. I also know what we saw in New England will never be replicated. But they do have a lot of the tools needed to make a long run. They have to be considered the favorites to win it all in 2020 and things look mostly on the ups for one of the most competitive franchises in the NFL.
-Fan in the Obstructed Seat