At this point it's almost as certain as death, taxes, and Richard Sherman entertaining between Sundays. So none of us are surprised that the Kansas City Chiefs are watching the Super Bowl from the comforts of their own home.
The Chiefs divisional rival Denver Broncos is playing for the Lombardi Trophy. The other team, former divisional rival Seattle Seahawks, is made up of some of the most unlikable players and coaches the NFL has to offer. It simply wouldn't be January in Kansas City without some cruel twists of fate. Without the pain, Chiefs fans just don't feel quite at home.
At this point, it's well established that the Chiefs have a tough road ahead of them if they want a chance to end two decades of playoff ineptitude. But just how do the Chiefs intend to get to that point? With this year's Super Bowl matchup, we have the perfect opportunity to answer that question.
The 2014 Super Bowl is the league's best offense against the league's best defense. This will give us two contrasting views of success in the NFL. Meanwhile, the Chiefs are an offseason away from becoming very, very good on either offense or defense, depending on the investments made in free agency or the NFL Draft.
So when the Chiefs go out and spend their money and make their draft picks, which kind of team do they want to be? Do they want to realize the full potential of the youth, speed, and strength of their defensive front seven by shoring up the secondary? Or would they rather put everyone on notice that Alex Smith, Jamaal Charles and this offensive line are a force to be reckoned by adding some speed and consistency to the receiving corps?
The offense is finally clicking, and a little help from the receivers downfield could make them unstoppable. The defense is as good up front as anyone else in the league, and if the secondary can buy them a little time to get to the quarterback, the Chiefs opponents next year might wear out their punter's legs. To top it all off, the specials teams is truly special.
Put aside the limiting factors such as low cap space and the lack of a second round draft pick, because the Chiefs aren't far away from being nearly perfect on either side of the ball. If they take a WR like Kelvin Benjamin or Odell Beckham Jr. in the first round of the draft, and they can contribute right away, there's no reason to think the Chiefs can't be a top 5 offense next year. If they take a FS like Calvin Pryor or Ed Reynolds, and they play well away, there's no reason they can't become (once again) one of the league's elite pass rushing units.
The question of what kind of team they want to become will probably depend largely on which side of the ball they feel comfortable with moving forward, regardless of whether or not any notable additions are made. Given Andy Reid's mastery of the offensive play calling, and Alex Smith's mastery of the operation of those plays, I feel like the Chiefs are fine standing mostly pat on the offensive side of the ball.
The success of the offense (sixth in scoring) coupled with the defense's second half disappearing act makes it hard to envision a scenario in which the Chiefs don't focus on improving their secondary before they do anything else. They've only got one pick in the first two rounds, so if they choose to draft a WR with their first pick, they'll likely have a chance to select no better than an average FS prospect in the third round.
So it would seem that the Chiefs would rather attempt to emulate the Seahawks by focusing on defense this offseason. But there's much more to this discussion than simply game day strategy. Do the Chiefs want to be a finesse team, or do they want to hit people in the mouth?
The Broncos and Seahawks represent the two polar opposite ways to dominate a game in the NFL. You can try to run past and around people, like the Broncos -- and the Chiefs have the personnel to do so if they draft a little more speed for their receiving corps. You can also try to run straight through people, like the Seahawks -- and the Chiefs proved in the first half of this season that they are capable of doing that on both sides of the ball.
The attitudes of the two Super Bowl teams could not possibly be more different, either. One side wants to beat you through superior football intellect, and the other side wants to beat you into the ground.
Yet again, I can't help but arrive at the conclusion that the Chiefs would be much better off trying to be more like the Seahawks here. Sure, I find it intellectually dishonest when people attempt to argue that Richard Sherman can't be a villain for his actions on the field, simply because he had a 4.0 GPA in college. But that doesn't mean I don't enjoy watching him and his teammates beat people into the Seattle ground. I'll take "smash mouth" over "you can't catch me" any day of the week.
However you slice it, and no matter which angle you approach it from, the question of which Superbowl team the Chiefs want to emulate is a simple one. But then again, I don't know if I could ever bring myself to say that I want my favorite team to be more like the Broncos.
What do you think?