Opinion

How the Chiefs learned from the Michael Jordan Bulls

The potential dynasty in Kansas City is motivated by the 1990’s Chicago Bulls, but they have learned from their mistakes.

The ESPN documentary series The Last Dance covered the 1997-1998 Chicago Bulls last championship run. The documentary displayed some serious turmoil in the locker room. These issues led to the team rebuild and zero titles in the last two decades.

For the Kansas City Chiefs, notable players have discussed the potential dynasty. This season has even been popularly labeled the “Run it Back’ tour, ‘Run it Back’ shirts and crewnecks available here.

Despite the Bulls and Chiefs competing in two separate sports, the Chiefs have taken the good decisions from the Chicago dynasty and attempted to eliminate the issues to create the next potential dynasty in American sports.

Getting and keeping star talent

The Michael Jordan of the NFL has to be Patrick Mahomes, who has done more before turning 25 than a vast majority have done over their careers. But the pieces around both superstars kept them competing for championships yearly.

For Mahomes, the talent on the offensive side is unparalleled to any in the entire league. With wide receivers Tyreek Hill, Sammy Watkins, Mecole Hardman, and Demarcus Robinson, their wide receiver room can compete against any in the history of the NFL.

Not to mention four-time All-Pro Travis Kelce, who broke an NFL record for most consecutive seasons of more than 1,000 receiving yards by a tight end. This doesn’t even mention the other side of the ball.

The defense is headlined by All-Pro safety Tyrann Mathieu, defensive tackle Chris Jones, and defensive lineman Frank Clark. Mathieu has already accomplished so much as a football player: Heisman trophy finalist, on the NFL 2010s All-Decade Team, a two-time All-Pro.

The Bulls kept small forward Scottie Pippen on the roster for all of their six title runs. Though labeled as the Robin to Chicago’s Batman, Pippen was named an All-Star seven times and was on the All-Defensive team ten times.

Along with adding knock-down shooters Steve Kerr and John Paxson, a rebounding machine in Dennis Rodman, and another all-star in Charles Oakley, Jordan had a roster filled with talented role players and stars to compete with.

For the Chiefs, they have been able to sign back all their key contributors. This is due to several factors, one being unselfishness shown by players.

When Mahomes signed his luxurious extension, worth over $450 million, he left money on the table for Jones to get signed his own deal.

The Chiefs were able to get an extension for Kelce this offseason as well, but that would not be possible if there were conflicts among players and front office.

Understanding everyone’s role

In The Last Dance, Jordan noted that players were the most important piece to a championship team, which is an easier case to make in basketball than football. But where would those Bulls teams have been without Air Jordan? Certainly not winning six titles in eight seasons.

This led to egos getting the better of several people within the organization, including late general manager Jerry Krause. It was expressed in the documentary that Krause felt shorted in his credit in creating championship rosters. Krause would then take this out on former head coach Phil Jackson.

Even though Jordan had publicly expressed he wouldn’t play for any coach other than Jackson, Krause still did not resign Jackson after their sixth title in 1998. This led to Jordan’s second retirement and Chicago’s rebuild.

For the Chiefs, they have understood that everybody did their own unique part in creating a winning culture. There is praise across the board within the organization, with no selfishness as to who deserves the most credit.

It is important to note that the Chiefs have only won one title and this could change if they won multiple. But for right now, the praise given to head coach Andy Reid and general manager Brett Veach from players has been overly supportive. One could expect this relationship between the front office and players to remain intact for the foreseeable future.

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