We’re a little more than three weeks away from Kansas City Chiefs training camp, and everyone, including myself, is getting a little antsy.
I’ve had the privilege of covering the Chiefs since the 2014 season, and I can’t recall a year with greater anticipation, given the massive hype surrounding new Chiefs starting quarterback Patrick Mahomes.
With no new news coming from One Arrowhead Drive (it will be that way for a while), I got to thinking. Given that Mahomes has one regular-season start to his name, what are the realistic expectations for this team?
What would define a “successful” 2018 season?
If Alex Smith were still here, this season for me would have to be AFC Championship or bust. The Chiefs have won back-to-back division titles and have lost in the divisional round two out of the last three years.
The defense was bad last year, but the Chiefs, through their nearly all-defensive draft and offseason acquisition of players like cornerback Kendall Fuller, linebacker Anthony Hitchens and nose tackle Xavier Williams, have led me to believe they think last year’s woes were more of a personnel problem than a Bob Sutton problem.
So the expectation, again, given Smith were still here, would have to be, “Hey, it’s time to get over the hump guys.”
But Mahomes changes the game in that regard, doesn’t he? You seemed to agree on Twitter:
POLL: The 2018 season will be described as "successful" if the Chiefs...— Arrowhead Pride (@ArrowheadPride) July 2, 2018
In a poll, I asked you to fill in the blank. “The 2018 season will be described as successful if the Chiefs...”
Twitter only allows for four choices, so I did my best. Of this writing, there have been more than 1,400 votes, and here are the results:
49 percent - make the playoffs
23 percent - make the AFC Title game
19 percent - are 9-7 or better
9 percent - win the Super Bowl
I think these results are probably right where they should be.
Given all that Mahomes hype, one would think he should be able to drive the Chiefs to the playoffs. With three years remaining on Mahomes’ rookie deal, the Chiefs were able to go out and acquire a player like wide receiver Sammy Watkins, who signed for $48 million over three seasons. Not exactly a team rebuilding, right?
In 2018, the goal will be to get Mahomes adjusted to the speed of the pro game, return to the playoffs for the fifth time in six years, and once you’re in the dance, you never really know.
I think sometimes Kansas Citians forget just how hard it is to make it to the NFL postseason.
But fans are tired of the one-and-done, and I get it. That being said, the Chiefs are still probably one year off the loftiest of goals.
2019 is the year to reasonably expect championship results. If a run happens a year early, it will be a cherry on top.