The brightest optimism…
This year’s Kansas City Chiefs are one win away from turning in one of the greatest regular seasons in franchise history. A victory locks up the the top seed in the AFC. If they defeat Oakland on Sunday afternoon, Kansas City would be the top seed for the first time since the playoff format changed in 2002. A win would also lock up home field advantage throughout the postseason. In a year where most experts picked the Chiefs to MAYBE win 8 or 9 games and sniff the playoffs with a new quarterback (Patrick Mahomes) and shaky defense, the Chiefs are a victory away from winning 12 games and forcing the road to the big game to run through 1 Arrowhead Drive. Below we will break down why these Chiefs are not the “old Chiefs.”
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Why the gloom has returned…
Obviously the above scenario has been on repeat the last two weeks. Beat the Chargers, win the division and clinch the top seed. Beat Seattle, clinch the division and the top seed. But we all know what happened. A stunning home loss to the Chargers and a tough Sunday night road loss to the Seahawks have turned euphoric optimism into familiar panic all throughout Kansas City. Rightfully so when you know this franchise’s history like the die hard fans do. The defense has looked atrocious and without an unnamed running back and an injured Sammy Watkins (not to mention Dr. Laurent Duvernay-Tardif on IR) on the field, the once-unstoppable offense has looked halfway normal in the past three games.
With the back-to-back losses, Chiefs fans and national media pundits have essentially jumped off the bandwagon, saying this is the, “same old Chiefs.” They feel this is a team that looks great early, stumbles late and ultimately face-plants early in the playoffs, similar to the Chiefs of the 90s…and 2000s…and the Reid-era teams. Ultimately, you cannot blame them, especially the fans, for reading the tea leaves after these past two losses, but I’m here to tell you that this is a NEW CHIEFS. It is time to look forward and not back, and I can tell you why. It all begins and ends with Patrick Mahomes, and with him calling the shots, anything is possible.
Why we need to look forward and not back…
Below are five reasons why these Chiefs are not the “old Chiefs,” and why you should start believing that this franchise can perform at a high level in both the regular season and the playoffs, not just in 2018-19, but for years to come:
1. Kansas City has NEVER had a quarterback that compares to Patrick Mahomes
Patrick Mahomes is on the verge of becoming the only Chiefs quarterback to ever pass for 50 touchdowns and 5,000 yards in a season, and he is in year one as a starter. Even the most optimistic fans could not have seen this coming from Mahomes this fast. If he throws for 184 yards and 2 TDs against the Raiders, he will be just the second quarterback to ever surpass 5,000 yards and 50 TDs in the same season (Peyton Manning, 2013). Mahomes is elite, and with him playing quarterback, the Chiefs will always be in the running for years to come.
2. Patrick Mahomes is on his rookie contract through 2020
If the rocket arm and pinpoint accuracy and love of ketchup was not enough for you, the fact that Patrick Mahomes still has two more seasons after this one on his rookie contract should put you over-the-top in love with the quarterback. Mahomes will definitely get a giant payday in the next few years, that’s clear. But Kansas City will be able to sink funds into other necessary areas this coming off-season to help reload the defense, which should help their chances of upgrading an already stellar roster for a few more deep postseason runs.
Hopefully Kansas City can follow the Russell Wilson/Seattle trend that brought a couple trips to the big game and a world title. With Mahomes’s talent that run can start right now.
3. The Chiefs will have cap space to improve the defense
There is no way to spin it, Kansas City’s defense over the past two seasons has been atrocious. From giving up points, yards, penalties and everything in-between, this defense has been the best at being the worst. It has cost this team multiple games in the process. Hopefully the return of Eric Berry and Kendall Fuller is enough for the Chiefs to make a deep run this season. That being said, the offense is pretty well set heading into 2019, minus a running back. With that, Brett Veach and Andy Reid can focus the entire draft on defense once again.
Let’s not forget that everyone expected the defense to take a step back in 2018 with the loss of Marcus Peters and Derrick Johnson. A strong draft and some restructuring of contracts could get the Chiefs defense to become average in the future. That is all they need to be contenders for years to come.
4. The AFC quarterback hierarchy is changing
Gone are the days of Peyton Manning, Tom Brady and Ben Roethlisberger ruling the AFC. While Brady still has plans to play into his mid-40s and Roethlisberger slowing up on his retirement talks, both quarterbacks are clearly at the tail ends of their careers while Mahomes has yet to sniff his prime. If the Chiefs can clinch home field advantage and come up against Brady or Roethlisberger at Arrowhead, Chiefs fans should fight the urge to freak out because our guy…wait for it…is BETTER.
There is a clear youth movement at the quarterback position in the AFC, with Mahomes, Mayfield and Watson at the forefront, and for the first time EVER, Kansas City has a QB1 that they wouldn’t trade for ANYONE! Not Rodgers, not Brady, not Wilson, NOBODY.
5. Patrick Mahomes is the leader the Chiefs have been lacking
With no disrespect to anyone that has started at quarterback for the Chiefs since Len Dawson in the 1960s, but nobody has even sniffed the leadership qualities that Patrick Mahomes has shown in his first year at the helm. Mahomes is a player that can lead a team on all fronts. On the field, in the locker room, anywhere. He has the “it” factor that Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers are admired for, and he can back it up with his play and his words.
Mahomes is good enough to mask the defensive inefficiencies of the Chiefs in the playoffs this season. If they do not make it to the promised land, he will be the first to blame himself. For the first time in most of our lifetimes, Kansas City’s best player is their quarterback. He is the clear leader of the franchise, and he should be calling the shots for years to come.
The fans of the Kansas City Chiefs are in a tough place right now, but it is a good place. They still ride with the demons of the past lurking right behind them. But, for the first time we have a quarterback that can make us forget the past. Patrick Mahomes has a chance to do something for this city that no player has ever done before him: Bring a title home to Kansas City as a drafted quarterback. (Len Dawson was drafted by Pittsburgh before coming to the Chiefs, but you already knew that).
It is time to sit back and enjoy the ride, Chiefs fans. We have our quarterback.
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