Then there's rookie wide receiver and punt returner Tyreek Hill, who led the Chiefs with 12 touchdowns. The Chiefs haven't gone through an entire playoff game with an offensive playmaker like Hill since 2010, when they played against the Ravens with Charles as their featured back. Charles was knocked out of the Indianapolis playoff game in the first quarter because of a concussion.
Part of this success is because, unlike the great defenses in the 90’s that lacked an offense or high-powered offenses under Dick Vermeil that lacked a defense, this Chiefs team excelled on both sides of the ball. Finishing in the top half of the NFL in all three phases, the offense averaged 24.3 points per game, good for 13th best, and the defense allowed only 19.4 points per game, finishing seventh best in the NFL. The Chiefs also finished near the top of the league in important statistical categories like red zone defense, takeaways and turnover margin.
The Broncos’ travel party, which is expected to include executive vice president of football operations John Elway, team president and CEO Joe Ellis and director of player personnel Matt Russell, is expected to interview Kansas City Chiefs special teams coordinator Dave Toub in Kansas City later this week, likely Friday. They will then travel to Atlanta to interview Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan on Saturday.
The draft has provided 26 players on the Chiefs’ 53-man roster, and all but five of those players were drafted in the Andy Reid/John Dorsey era, which started in 2013.
But the best indication that the Chiefs are getting pressure without sacks is in takeaways. The Chiefs lead the NFL with 33 takeaways. Their 18 interceptions and 15 fumble recoveries are league bests, and they’re tied with the Raiders in turnover margin at plus-16. It helps explain how Chiefs have the third-best quarterback opponent rating at 79.8.
There is this distinction: When this year’s Pro Bowl team and alternates were announced, at least one player from each of the four classes was represented, including Fisher and Kelce. In all, Reid and Dorsey have drafted 32 players in Kansas City: 21 are on the 53-man roster heading into the Chiefs’ Jan. 15 AFC Divisional Playoff game, 12 were starters on offense or defense during 2016 and five were selected to the Pro Bowl or as alternates.
The Chiefs are made of a Canadian medical student and soon-to-be-doctor (offensive lineman Laurent Duvernay-Tardif), a Liberian Civil War refugee and man of wisdom (linebacker Tamba Hali), a Belizean immigrant who was unaccustomed to water and electricity (defensive lineman Rakeem Nunez-Roches) and the Brazilian son of a stunt pilot (kicker Cairo Santos). They are made up of a reality TV show star (Kelce), a music producer (Hali), a movie-maker (receiver Chris Conley) and guys known to freestyle poetry (Berry).
"Uh, no," Umenyiora, who played primarily for the New York Giants during his 11-year career, said. "100 percent not exciting at all. But they’re a good team, I’ll give you that. It’s not a bad team to root for. I mean you talk about how the fans are really excited. They have to be very excited because the team is just boring… They put a boring product out on the football field." But Quek, ever the Chiefs fan, wasn't having any of it. Quick (or Quek, am I right?) on her feet, the Scouser shot back in defense of her beloved team. "At least we’re not one-dimensional," Quek said. "The Giants are all about Odell Beckham, isn’t it? If he’s out, you’re in trouble."
How fitting would this be? 50 years ago, the Green Bay Packers defeated the Kansas City Chiefs in the first Super Bowl and there’s a real chance that these two teams could battle once again half a century later.
Alex Smith is among the NFL’s most efficient postseason quarterbacks, and you are either laughing or shocked at those words so let’s put it in context here: In NFL history, three quarterbacks have a higher career passer rating than Smith (with at least 150 attempts). They are Bart Starr, Kurt Warner and Drew Brees. That is the entire list.
"If you would have asked me after I got drafted where I'd be in three years, I don't know if I would have been that confident to say I'd be a starter and doing decently," a modest Duvernay-Tardif said from Austin, Tex. "But at the same time I quickly realized if you want to stick in the NFL you have to become an essential part of the team after your second or third year, otherwise they're going to find somebody to replace you.
"I actually was in the mix of getting a scholarship for music before I got one for football," Ford said. "I was in jazz band my senior year of high school, and my teacher was actually going to go and put me in touch with this music director at Alabama. He told me all I had to do was go audition and I’d pretty much get the scholarship because I was really gifted. I would have been in music."
Smith’s passer rating of 91.2 percent is the lowest since his first season in Kansas City, but yet he has quarterbacked the Chiefs to 11 of their 12 wins. One key component of that winning formula the last few weeks has been Smith’s return to the run game. Entering Week 15, Smith had just 56 yards rushing, but the last three weeks he rushed for 78 yards and rushed for a touchdown in each game.
Inside the locker room, tight end Travis Kelce, wearing a gray AFC West Champs hat, sat with a phone in his hand, looking at a celebratory picture he’d just snapped with his teammates. "I’m getting ready to send this out," he said with a smile. In the middle of it all stood coach Andy Reid, the man who had led them to this moment. On this day, he’d punctuated his customary post-victory message — "Let’s go Chieeeeeefs!" — with an overhand fist pump. "I’m proud of you, men," Reid said.
The Kansas City Chiefs will work out former New York Giants defensive back Bennett Jackson today, according to Art Stapleton of USA Today. Jackson has yet to see the field in the NFL, spending the majority of his two-year career on the practice squad after being drafted in the sixth round out of Notre Dame in the 2014 NFL Draft.
Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Derrick Johnson talks about the team's chances in the playoffs, his recovery from an Achilles injury and his goals for 2017.