On February 2nd, the Chiefs were crowned as Super Bowl Champions after defeating the San Francisco 49ers 31-20 in comeback fashion, as the Chiefs outscored the Niners 21-0 in the final seven minutes of the game. The celebration spanned through the parade and rally held in downtown Kansas City, Missouri. As the Chiefs organization and players are shifting gears towards the offseason and the 2020 season, I have used the past week or so to reflect on the season, realizing the plethora of similarities and comparisons between the 2015 World Series Champion Royals and the Super Bowl LIV Champion Chiefs.
Throughout my reflection, I have found nine similarities between the 2015 World Series Champions and Super Bowl LIV Champions.
The Royals were one of the fastest teams, if not the fastest, in the entire MLB in 2015. The trio of Jarrod Dyson, Terrance Gore, and Lorenzo Cain were a nightmare for opposing catchers, as they combined for 57 stolen bases in the regular season. On the defensive side, hitters were left to wonder on what to do as the speedy outfield robbed teams of hits.
In comparison, the Chiefs had a dominant trio of speedsters themselves. Their trio consisted of Tyreek Hill, Sammy Watkins, and Mecole Hardman. The trio was near-deadly to any secondary in the league, as they combined for 2,071 receiving yards and 16 touchdowns. The trio was unparalleled and proved to be the fastest in the league.
Championships Ending Long Droughts To Win Their Second Championship
When the Royals defeated the New York Mets and won the 2015 World Series, it was the second World Series Championship in franchise history, while ending a 30-year World Series Championship drought. Before 2015, the Royals defeated the St. Louis Cardinals for their first World Series Championship in 1985.
With the Chiefs defeating the 49ers in Super Bowl LIV, it is the second Super Bowl Championship in franchise history, while ending a 50- year Super Bowl drought. The first Chiefs Super Bowl Championship was in 1970 when the Chiefs defeated the Minnesota Vikings in Super Bowl IV.
Winning In Comeback Fashion
In 2015, the Royals became the first team in MLB history to win three World Series games, when trailing in the eighth inning or later.
During their playoff run this season, the Chiefs became the first team in NFL history to win the Super Bowl after trailing by 10 or more points in each of the team’s playoff games.
Getting Help Late In the Regular Season
In 2015, the Royals and Blue Jays were in a battle for the best record and No. 1 seed in the American League. With a week and a half left in the regular season, the Royals trailed the Blue Jays by 1 1/2 games. It all came down to the final week of the regular season. The Royals finished strong by winning their final five games while the Blue Jays dropped two of three games in each series against the Tampa Bay Rays and Baltimore Orioles. This was the difference that gave the Royals the best record and No.1 seed in the American League, giving them home field advantage in the American League Championship Series against the Blue Jays. In the three games played at Kauffman Stadium during the ALCS, the Royals swept the Blue Jays three games to zero.
For the Chiefs, going into week 17, they were the No. 3 seed, and were on their way to hosting the Tennessee Titans in the Wild Card Round one week later. The Chiefs trailed the New England Patriots by one game for the No. 2 seed. The Chiefs held a tiebreaker over the Patriots after defeating them 23-16 in Week 14. The Chiefs could have jumped the Patriots for the No. 2 seed by defeating the Los Angeles Chargers and with the Miami Dolphins defeating the Patriots. The Chiefs took care of the Chargers, defeating them by a score of 31-21. As for the other part of the equation, Dolphins quarterback, Ryan Fitzpatrick, threw a game-winning touchdown pass with under 30 seconds remaining to give the Dolphins a 27-24 victory over the Patriots. The Chiefs grabbed the No. 2 seed from the Patriots, giving them a bye week before the Divisional Round, where they would square off against the Texans. The Patriots lost to the Titans in the Wild Card Round, and the Chiefs would defeat Tennessee in the AFC Championship Game.
In 2015, Royals manager Ned Yost was 61 years old when they won the World Series. With the Chiefs winning Super Bowl LIV this year, Andy Reid is 61 years old. Adding on to that, both Reid and Yost are from the state of California. When it comes to their coaching careers, Ned Yost had been criticized for his decisions and that he wouldn’t ever win a World Series because of it. Reid had always been criticized as the coach who couldn’t win the big games and get over the hump. It’s easy to say that both coaches proved their critics wrong with their championship wins.
The Use of Music
During the Royals 2015 season, the Royals dropped the numbers 17 and 38 as a means to honor Fetty Wap and his song “Trap Queen.” After the two numbers were mentioned in postgames interviews, fans bought into it, paying for shirts and praising it as a good thing whenever it popped up.
After this AFC Championship Game, Travis Kelce screamed the phrase “You gotta fight for your right to party!” from the Beastie Boys in front of a packed crowd at Arrowhead Stadium. The clip went viral and the song was played at Super Bowl LIV and appeared on t-shirts that thousands of fans are buying. After the Super Bowl victory, Kelce said: “You gotta fight for your right to LOMBARDI!” to the ESPN crew.
Running All Over
One of the most iconic moments of the 2015 World Series was Eric Hosmer’s risky dash home on a weak groundball in the ninth inning of Game 5. The run would tie the game and send it to extras, where the Royals would go on to win and claim their Second World Series Championship.
In the AFC. Championship Game, Patrick Mahomes gave Chiefs Kingdom the most electrifying play of the playoffs on his 27-yard touchdown run to give the Chiefs a 21-17 lead going into halftime. With that play, Mahomes fake out the defensive lineman, ran along the sidelines to cut back in and truck his way through Titans defenders to score. That touchdown score shifted all the momentum towards the Chiefs.
The Houston Comeback Connection
In the American League Divisional Series against the Houston Astros, the Royals were trailing 6-2 in the eighth inning of Game 4. The Royals strung together five straight singles and an error by Astros shortstop, Carlos Correa. The Royals would take a 7-6 lead going into the bottom of the eighth. In the top of the ninth, Eric Hosmer would cap off the comeback with a two-run home-run to give the Royals a 9-6 victory, sending the series back to Kauffman Stadium for winner-take-all Game 5.
The Chiefs started their playoff run against the Houston Texans in the Divisional Round. The Texans jumped out to an early 24-0 lead on the Chiefs, resulting in over a 95% win probability. The Chiefs came back roaring with four touchdowns in the second quarter, taking a 28-24 lead into halftime. The Chiefs would continue to pour it on as the Chiefs ended the game outscoring the Texans 51-7, with the final score being 51-31. The Chiefs moved on to host the Tennessee Titans in the AFC Championship Game.
Heartache Fueled Motivations
The Royals suffered heartbreak in Game 7 of the 2014 World Series. Alex Gordon stood on third base as Salvador Perez popped out in foul territory to Pablo Sandoval. Gordon could have been sent home and potentially tied the game after the error in left field, but the right decision was made to keep him at third, in my opinion. Going into 2015, the team was on a revenge tour to make it back to the World Series and win it all. The team made their adjustments by trading for Johnny Cueto and Ben Zobrist and completed comebacks to win it all and be crowned the 2015 World Series Champions.
The Chiefs suffered heartbreak of their own in the AFC Championship Game last season. Dee Ford’s neutral zone infraction call negated the interception from Charvarious Ward that would have sent the Chiefs to Super Bowl LIII. The Patriots won in overtime off a Rex Burkhead rushing touchdown, eventually defeating the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LIII. The heartbreak fueled the Chiefs and motivated them to come back this season. The Chiefs fell to 6-4, had Mahomes injured, and still came back and went 12-4. They grabbed the No. 2 seed and won three playoff games, including the Super Bowl, after trailing by at least 10 points. The motivations and heart that was buried in the whole team led them to win their first Super Bowl in 50 years.