I took a closer look at the rosters for both the 2009 Steelers and the 2010 Packers. I was looking for something that stood out to how they were similar beyond the obvious things like talented players. I then wanted to see how that could relate to the Chiefs and how we were progressing into a Championship-caliber football team. It's been well-documented how far we have come in such a short amount of time. We came from a 2-14 season to go 4-12 in 2009, and then 10-6 with a division Championship and home playoff game in 2010.
I compared the rosters from the 2008 Packers to the 2010 Packers, and same with the Chiefs. I compared the 2007 Steelers to the 2009 Steelers. This was two years before these teams won the Superbowl. There was something that really stood out about these teams and their rosters.
We will start with the Packers of 2008 and 2010. There were only 4 starters on the 2010 squad that were not on the roster in 2008. Frank Zombo, BJ Ragi, Clay Matthews, and Bryan Bulaga. There were a couple of injuries but the trend was still significant. We are talking 4 starters total from each side of the ball were the only starters to not be on the team just two years prior to their Superbowl championship. Not all of these starters in 2010 were starting in 2008....but they were on the team. They had to develop their own talent. It's pretty amazing that they had free agency before the 2009 season, the 2009 draft, free agency before the 2010 season, and then the 2010 draft, and they still only found 4 starters that they needed to piece the puzzle well enough to win a Superbowl.
Obviously it helps to have an Aaron Rodgers on your team. But it shows that continuity goes a long way with the guys in the lockerroom and the idea that getting comfortable playing to the guys on your left and right really does make a huge difference. Also, getting the players on our team to develop into quality players is far more important than constantly looking for a replacement that "can't miss". We all seem to be pretty guilty of this right before the draft when we get so caught up in one player or another. How much better would this team be if Andy Studebaker developed into a solid SOLB? Or Jeremy Horne or Verran Tucker into a quality #2/#3? I'm not saying they will but the grass isn't always greener...
The 2007 Steelers were very similar to the 2009 Steelers. There were a few injuries to the Steelers as well with Mendenhall thinking he could run over Ray Lewis and we know how that went. Not counting Mendenhall...Justin Hartwig was the only starter on the Superbowl Championship team that was not on their roster in 2007. He signed as a free agent in 2008. Their entire starting defense was on the roster in 2007. That is more than just a coincidence. Continuity and development of in-house players makes a huge difference.
Obviously it's important to draft the right players but player development becomes even more important than nailing a draft class. Our coaches have already shown to get the best out of the talent that we have on the roster. Dwayne Bowe becomes a Pro-Bowler, Derrick Johnson plays at a Pro-Bowl level, and JC becomes one of the best RB's in the league.
If you're curious how the Chiefs roster looked differently in 2008 here you go. Here are the Chiefs starters in 2010 that were not on the roster in 2008. Matt Cassel, Ryan Lilja, Casey Weigmann, Tim Castille, Terrance Copper, Tony Moeaki, and Thomas Jones :) And then to the defense...Tyson Jackson, Mike Vrabel, Jovan Belcher, Eric Berry, and Kendrick Lewis.
There were a grand total of 5...count them 5 starters from BOTH the Steelers and Packers that weren't on the rosters two years prior to their Superbowl Championships. There were 12 starters from the Chiefs alone in 2010 that were not on the team in 2008. I know that we weren't going to win a Superbowl this past season but it does show how far we have come and where we are headed. In my opinion we are two years away right now from contending for a Championship. That means we need 4-5 starters on that team to come from 2 years of Free Agency, and two drafts.
It'd be great to get all of them in this one draft. But when I look at it from this perspective I don't see the same "fix all the needs with our top picks' philosophy. I think if we win the superbowl in two years I am confident that we will have a different Center, another WR, and a new NT. But I don't believe that we must take them with our top picks this year. We need to be patient and get the guys that we like and that will help us get to our goal.
What do you take away from these numbers?
How many starters do we need to add that aren't on the roster before we can win a Superbowl?
1 (0 votes)
2-3 (17 votes)
4-5 (61 votes)
6+ (20 votes)
98 total votes