From the initial looks, it appears very possible that Mahomes could be the most unfair and dominant Madden character since the days of Michael Vick in Madden 2004.
If you played with or against him in that year’s installment, you know how insanely unfair Vick was both on the ground and through the air. That version of Vick is generally regarded as one of the most dominant sports video game characters of all-time, right up alongside Bo Jackson in ‘Tecmo Bowl.’
Could Mahomes be joining that elite club with ‘Madden 20’? We’ll probably have to wait until the game is officially out on August 2nd to know for sure, but the early footage points to the plausibility.
A year ago, a map of NFL fandom by county in the United States showed the Denver Broncos had a bigger following in a chunk of the western reaches of Kansas.
But most of those counties have flipped to the Chiefs, according to data from the online ticket marketplace Vivid Seats. The company said it used “proprietary sales data to determine the most popular NFL team in each county.”
The Kansas counties of Wallace, Greeley, Sherman, Logan are among those to have turned Chiefs red in the course of a year.
Chiefs fandom makes for a nearly solid block of red in Kansas and Missouri, and the team is the most popular in spots as far away as the Oklahoma panhandle and portions of western Illinois. Additionally, the Chiefs are the favorite team in parts of Iowa, Nebraska and Arkansas.
67 Dee Ford
Ford’s 2018 season -- his last in Kansas City -- is going to be remembered for one play and one play only. If he lined up a few inches back, the Chiefs are Super Bowl bound and might have a Lombardi Trophy. That play overshadowed his otherwise dominant season. Ford had a career-high 13.0 sacks and 55 combined tackles and led the league with seven forced fumbles. He was one of the few bright spots on a Chiefs defense that struggled to stop anyone all year. In the offseason, Ford was traded to the 49ers and subsequently signed a five-year, $87.5 million deal. As you can see, lots of great things happened to Ford over the past year. If only he could have that one play back.
Mike Daniels is the perfect fit for Kansas City’s defense. Patrick Mahomes is still on his rookie contract and will make ALL the money once he’s eligible for an extension. The Chiefs need to do everything they can to get a championship while Mahomes is still playing at a bargain rate, and Daniels should help accomplish that goal.
Daniels can help create one of the most ferocious pass rushes in the league. Kansas City’s defense was largely terrible in 2018, but the unit actually led the league in sacks. They effectively replaced Dee Ford with Frank Clark, but Daniels could be an upgrade from Justin Houston. The thought of Daniels and Chris Jones collapsing the pocket with Clark coming off the edge should give opposing quarterbacks nightmares.
Bell, a former four-star quarterback from Bishop Carroll High, became a tight end as a senior at Oklahoma. But at 6-foot-5 and 250 pounds, he was a weapon on the goal line. He lined up at quarterback earned the nickname “Belldozer.”
He was a fourth-round pick of the San Francisco 49ers in 2015 and had been with the Minnesota Vikings and Jacksonville Jaguars before signing with the Chiefs in April. Bell has 30 career receptions in 50 games.
He is getting plenty of reps in the early days of training camp for newcomers, quarterbacks, rookies and players recovering from injury. He looked good at Thursday’s practice and didn’t drop a pass.
For the last two years, Allegretti took a bunch of underclassmen under his wing both on and off the field. He navigated traffic during games and also gathered the offensive line together off the field for group getaways. The Illinois offensive line learned a lot from the All-Big Ten performer, but now it must take the next step without him.
“You miss a Nick Allegretti,” Illinois head coach Lovie Smith said. “Nick was everything to our university, but the guys got a chance to see how he led. It’ll be more by committee rather than just one guy in that role.”
Around the league
Tomlin ranks second among active head coaches in playoff berths, third in career regular-season wins and tied for fifth in career playoff wins.
There was chatter about Tomlin’s job status last season after the Steelers missed the playoffs -- it was their first season without over 10 wins since 2013 -- but this extension shows that Pittsburgh has confidence in him going forward.
The day itself was also significant for the team and specifically its star running back, Ezekiel Elliott. There have been various reports that Zeke could hold out for the beginning of camp in an effort to expedite a contract extension that he desires. If he had been on the team’s charter flight to California that would have obviously shown that he had no intention of holding out; however, there was no Ezekiel Elliott on said flight.
Do you remember that old debate from a few years ago about whether Alabama could beat the Cleveland Browns? That debate has since been squashed with common sense prevailing that even the best college football team would get dusted by the worst NFL team.
But I’m here to start a new debate: Can a team made up of Alabama alums make the NFL playoffs?
In case you missed it at Arrowhead Pride
Thompson came off as an extremely hard-working, focused young man who recognizes his limitations — and knows what to do in order to overcome them.
“I’ve got to make up for my size somewhere, and that’s the weight room,” he said. “I mean, every day, day in and day out, I spend time in the weight room. Knowing that I’m only 5-foot-8. I’ve got to build my base, my core and my strength. It shows on the field. My contact balance shows up on the field because of the weight room.
”I’ve gained a lot more muscle [since the draft],” he added. “I’m at 190 right now. In college I played around 200 to 205. I’m 190 right now and I move a lot faster. I’m more flexible. I can do a lot more things. I feel comfortable at 190. But I feel a lot quicker and faster.”
A little more than 24 hours before Kansas City Chiefs veteran defensive tackle Chris Jones was due to arrive at training camp in St. Joseph, rookie Khalen Saunders, who will presumably be working very closely with Jones if all goes right over the next week, was asked if he was ready to step in as a starter if the opportunity were to present itself.
“Oh yeah,” he said. “Me and Chris talk a little bit over social media and text. He helps me a lot even when he’s not here — he’s helped me with my nutrition and diet because he himself is losing a little bit of weight as well.”
“Our job is to do everything we can to get him right,” said Redskins head coach Jay Gruden via PFT. “His job is to come in here and help in any way he feels fit to do so. So if it’s in meeting, helping out our young quarterbacks... He’s got Case Keenum who’s never been in the system; Colt [McCoy] has been here for a while, but he’s hasn’t had many starting games; and obviously, Dwayne Haskins is a rookie. So having his influence and his leadership in that quarterback room will be beneficial.”
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If you believe the data presented by Vivid Seats is a fair representation of how popular a team is, then the Chiefs have come a long way to be the third most popular team in the States. However, over here in the UK, there is still much work for the Chiefs to do to increase their popularity.
When I first formed Arrowheads Abroad in 2013, the Chiefs were the 31st most (or 2nd least) popular team over this side of the pond. Why so? Well, a small market and years of mediocrity aren’t exactly the perfect recipe for drawing new fans of the game to follow the Chiefs.
That being said, as we all know times have changed, and now I have no doubt that our recent success, paired with some ‘Mahomes Magic’ has increased the Chiefs support overseas, but there is a long way to go before the Chiefs can match up with the support that the likes of the Patriots, Bears and Packers have abroad.