The Chiefs come rolling into the upcoming NFL season, still hot from the carryover of a Super Bowl win. But they do seem to have the farthest to fall. Have the boys set the expectations too high for themselves? With most NFL power rankings having them listed in the top 2 (battling it out with Baltimore for the top spot), could the upcoming season be one of failed expectations? Lets take a look at where the Chiefs have set the bar for themselves in the upcoming season(s) and if that bar may be a bit too high to reach.
It all started the Wednesday after the SuperBowl LIV victory, with Andy Reid proclaiming “Next year, we’re coming right back here. One more time baby, one more time.” Claiming to be on the verge of dynasty is a bold statement, especially from Coach Andy Reid, who is generally one to downplay expectations set by the media. But if anyone is up for the challenge of winning 2 in a row, it seems like this Chiefs team is primed and ready for the situation. Returning 18 of 22 starters (it had been 20 of 22 until Laurent Duvernay-Tardif and Damien Williams opted out of the 2020 season) this Chiefs team is back with most of the pieces that lifted them over the San Francisco 49ers in February. And with the most important pieces locked up for the foreseeable future in Patrick Mahomes and Chris Jones, this squad is certainly looking up. How often do teams go back to back in the NFL? It has been done only 8 times by 7 different teams, with the last team to do it being the New England Patriots in 2003-2004. Almost two decades ago, which seems to be the going rate that this sort of thing happens in the NFL, some would say we are due for a run of this magnitude. And with MVPat at the helm, anything is possible for this team. He almost led us to the Super Bowl 2 years ago when our defense couldn’t stop an aging Tom Brady from marching down the field in the 4thquarter and overtime, keeping the ball out of Mahomes’ hands in the process. It certainly seems that going back to back is doable, it has been done 8 times, and we are returning most of our starters and even added a weapon in Clyde Edwards-Helaire this offseason. Back to back is certainly achievable for this Chiefs squad. It’s only when your eyes start getting bigger than your stomach do the Chiefs seem to get into trouble.
Last week, Chris Jones was featured on 610 sports radio saying “This is only the beginning. We plan to have another parade and another parade and another parade. We’re going to make sure we bring not one, not two, not three, not four, but five-plus rings to Kansas City. It’s been 50 years of waiting, but the wait is over now. It’s time to create a dynasty.” And while I (and any other Chiefs fans out there) certainly love the confidence Mr. Jones has, do we really think 5+ rings is doable? Tyreek Hill was on ESPN’s First Take the following day and did Jones 2 better, saying “Why say five (rings)? Why not go seven rings, you know what I’m saying? So right now we’re chasing Jordan.” While I love the confidence and bravado is certainly something that is needed to succeed in the NFL, this might have been biting off a little more than we could chew. The dynasty talk could be appropriate when we get 3 Super Bowls in the bag, but after the first one, it seems to be a little much. Especially when you take into account all that is needed to not just get there, but win it. The Chiefs had to come from behind in double digit deficits in every single playoff game on the road to last year’s Super Bowl, survive numerous injuries, and just get plain lucky at other points throughout last season to make the run they did. I understand we have our core locked up in long term deals for the foreseeable future, but when that future runs out, we are going to have to do some serious reloading in the talent department so as not to end up like Green Bay, wasting amazing QB talent by surrounding it with a bunch of bums. So I do believe the expectations are too high if you are taking Chris Jones and Tyreek Hill’s words literally. And who knows, maybe they were just talking smack. I certainly hope so.
So are the expectations too high for the Chiefs this year? It depends whose expectations you are taking into consideration. If you take Andy Reid’s, saying we will have another parade in Kansas City next year, that certainly seems do-able. The NFL hasn’t had a back to back Super Bowl champ in almost 20 years, and certainly seems it is due time for another. Now if you want to take Tyreek Hill and Chris Jones literally, 7 (or 5) SuperBowls seems to be a stretch of the imagination (or fantasy, if you’re like me.) But were they being serious when they claimed we are chasing Jordan? I guess only time will tell.