The Chiefs have turned the corner from AFC powerhouse to budding NFL dynasty after winning their second ring in four years in Super Bowl 57. Now that Patrick Mahomes and Andy Reid have won it all twice together in short order, the question is, how long it will last for Kansas City?
The answer is simple: Mahomes and Reid have the opportunity to lead the Chiefs to the same heights as the Patriots enjoyed for two decades. Mahomes is only 27, while Reid has no plans of slowing down and stopping the fun at 63.
New England went an incredible 6-2 in Super Bowls with the combination of now permanently retired Tom Brady and now 70-year-old Bill Belichick from 2001-08. That 17-year window will be difficult to match for any QB-coach duo, but considered Kansas City is position to push for the same kind of success in more compressed time.
Mahomes, who won his second Super Bowl MVP in Sunday’s 38-35 exciting comeback win over the Eagles, hesitated to say “dynasty” after the game in relation to what the Chiefs have. The reason? He thinks that dubbing them with the d-word is more about what they have done vs. what they still can do.
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With Mahomes locked into Kansas City through 2031, when he will be 36, the Chiefs’ championship chances have a high floor for nine more seasons, barring injury to him. He just led his team to Super Bowl victories despite having two rosters that were vastly different, with only a few core players such as himself, fellow future Hall of Famer Travis Kelce at tight end and defensive leader Chris Jones.
The Chiefs rebooted their offensive line and backfield on top of boldly trading away Mahomes’ former go-to wide receiver, Tyreek Hill. They keep retooling their defense with younger players in the back seven.
Defenses, however, aren’t winning championships for them. Or having one more splashy name in the passing games. It’s all about Mahomes, now in his prime.
Brady also won his second Super Bowl when he was 27. Belichick, like Reid, was a good coach for another team before emerging as the all-time greatest one with the Patriots. Brady was unsurpassed with his excellent execution in the biggest games that were the closest games, despite even massive deficits. Belichick, with his defensive acumen and how his staff prepared, consistently out-coached opponents.
Mahomes has the Brady-like Vibe. Reid has become an offensive-minded version of Belichick with his band of trusted, experienced assistants.
Brady also had his star passing contemporaries, topped by Peyton Manning, Drew Brees and Ben Roethlisberger, and to a rather lesser degree, Eli Manning. Belichick was the best coach for a long time, but Tony Dungy, Sean Payton, Mike Tomlin, Tom Coughlin, John Harbaugh and Pete Carroll also were good enough to break through for some rings.
Mahomes is needing to fend off young guns such as Jalen Hurts, Joe Burrow, Josh Allen and Trevor Lawrence. Lamar Jackson, Deshaun Watson and Justin Herbert also are top AFC QBs. Reid is trying to stay one step ahead of young coaches Nick Sirianni, Sean McVay, Zac Taylor and Kyle Shanahan. Reid’s own direct coaching tree also offers formidable foes in Harbaugh, Doug Pederson and Sean McDermott.
The Patriots’ dynasty was defined early by three rings in four years. Then there was a nine-year gap, which included the two upsets vs. Coughlin’s Giants, before they were able to pull it off again to double up to six.
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Mahomes already has his first Super Bowl loss (to Brady’s Buccaneers, no less) vs. two wins. He admitted that early “failure” pushed him more and made him better appreciate what it took to get the second ring.
The Chiefs also were motivated by some disrespect and a perceived underdog status. But from the outside, that really comes from disbelief they could actually do what the Patriots did.
There should be seeing and believing now. Those contemporary QBs and coaches to Mahomes and Reid will have their share of big winning moments to disrupt the Chiefs dynasty at times, like the Bucs or Bengals. The Chiefs, however, are now the clear new Patriots-like standard, loved and hated for it at the same time.
The Chiefs are fine with their cap space. They don’t have any real offseason 2023 concerns outside of trying to re-sign left tackle Orlando Brown Jr. The other players are replaceable and they’re coming off a fruitful draft as part of a smart defensive youth movement to complement Mahomes.
The offense has proved it can get done at a high level with Mahomes as long as it’s sound up front and has the right blend of skill versatility to complement Kelce.
In the AFC, Kansas City swatted away Buffalo in last year’s playoffs and exorcised the Cincinnati demon in these playoffs. It still won the AFC West handily over Herbert and Los Angeles. It turned back Lawrence and Jacksonville early in that team’s rise. Look for Baltimore to pop up again soon with Jackson and Pittsburgh to emerge as the next pest with Kenny Pickett.
That’s good for all those teams to be in the AFC title mix, but none of them feel like they will become a true, consistent adversary to Reid and Mahomes. The closest the Patriots had were the two Peyton Manning stops (Colts, Broncos) and the Eli Manning anomalies (Giants), but in the end, those teams paled in comparison with their rings.
It’s a no-brainer to expect the Chiefs to repeat as Super Bowl 58 champions in Las Vegas. They are indeed the hunted and hated, but the big burden lies on the other contenders to take them down vs. the pressure being on the Chiefs.
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Sound familiar? Someone had to downright beat the Patriots in every phase to deny them. If the Chiefs get to three rings by this time next year, no one would blink. Mahomes has a ton of time on his side and may continue to rejuvenate Reid to the point he can still coach well into his 70s.
The Patriots won a ton with Belichick’s defense and Brady’s play. The Chiefs are the same, just with Reid’s offense, the right style of team with Mahomes to dominate the era of explosive elevated passing with mobile quarterbacks.
The Chiefs have given us two early reasons to put them in the same conversation with the Patriots. What lies ahead for Mahomes says that talk will remain for a long time into the future.