The glorious Super Bowl victory that the Kansas City Chiefs achieved less than a month ago helped build and strengthen the legacies of all those involved. Head coach Andy Reid should now be established as a future Pro Football Hall of Fame coach. Star quarterback Patrick Mahomes is well on his way to one of the most accomplished careers in NFL history. Other elite players now have the championship accolade that has the potential to propel them into Hall of Fame consideration.
One man that hasn’t even had the chance for his legacy to be considered is general manager Brett Veach.
The former co-director of player personnel went right from celebrating his team’s world title to studying the talent in the 2020 NFL Draft class with his staff of evaluators.
“Wednesday [was] the parade, and then Thursday at seven AM, we were in there cranking on tape and getting ready for the combine,” Veach told ESPN’s Adam Schefter this week on “The Adam Schefter Podcast.” “We basically watched tape right up until we left for the combine.”
While Veach is busy finding the next rookie phenoms, I’m here to acknowledge what could be the beginning of a historic NFL general manager career.
First of all, he has time on his side. When promoted to his current position in the summer of 2017, Veach became the youngest GM in the NFL at 39. He is now the youngest general manager to ever win a Super Bowl at only 41 years old. He could be an executive for 20 or 30 more seasons if he doesn’t give the organization a reason to part ways with him.
As with every aspect of a football team, the general manager can be judged by how many championship seasons they led from the front office. With Veach’s first ring, he became just the 24th general manager in NFL history to win the Super Bowl. For my research, I chose to exclude head coaches that were de facto general managers due to their control of the personnel, like Bill Belichick, currently for the New England Patriots.
Veach became only the sixth NFL general manager ever to win a championship in one of their first three seasons with that job title. That has only happened two other times in the last 33 years. If the Chiefs are able to repeat in 2020 — like the players and Andy Reid said they would during the Super Bowl parade — Veach will be only the 11th GM to have earned multiple Lombardi trophies.
Taking it a step further, there are only a select few legendary general managers that have built teams to win more than two championships.
- Dallas Cowboys’ Jerry Jones famously won three in a four-year span between 1992-1995.
- San Francisco 49ers’ John McVay was instrumental in all five of the franchise’s Super Bowl victories, although he only had the general manager label for four of them.
- Oakland Raiders’ Al Davis “just won, baby” with three championship teams in an eight-season span starting in 1976.
- Pittsburgh Steelers’ Dick Haley led the front office as the director of player personnel and de fact general manager before and after their four championships in the 1970s.
You may be asking, “Why are you already talking about Veach compared to these all-time greats? It’s only his third season and he hasn’t completely proven himself.”
I agree that he still has more to prove as a general manager, but it’s the potential that makes the comparisons realistic. First of all, what do all the aforementioned dynasties have in common? A Hall of Fame quarterback that was drafted by the regime. Each of them were led by that all-time great for every Super Bowl victory — except the Raiders, who only had Hall of Famer Kenny Stabler for the first one.
For Veach, he has the elite quarterback he needs to earn multiple titles.
Although former Chiefs general manager John Dorsey was still in that position when the organization made the move to trade up and draft Mahomes at the 10th pick in the 2017 draft, Veach vouched hard for the young gunslinger out of Texas Tech. He made his confidence public during his first NFL Scouting Combine as the general manager after Mahomes’ rookie season where he only played in one game.
“From the day he first stepped on the field at rookie minicamp, he’s “wowed” us...he’s one of the best players I’ve ever seen.”— BJ Kissel (@ChiefsReporter) March 1, 2018
- #Chiefs GM Brett Veach on Patrick Mahomes.
He was sure that he had a great quarterback. The ability to find a franchise quarterback is hard — but to be so confident about such a polarizing prospect builds credibility and respect. It also is the most significant factor in a championship team becoming a dominant dynasty.
The second most significant factor for a dynasty is the ability to draft key contributors consistently — and Veach has his fair share of hits and misses. His first NFL Draft as the head of the front office has been disappointing so far. Besides starting defensive tackle Derrick Nnadi, the next best selection in 2018 is reserve safety and special teamer Armani Watts. Veach bounced back in 2019 with all six selections going into 2020 as a starter or a player that will get a chance to battle for first-team reps.
Each of the historic general managers I listed had tons of success with their draft history:
- The Cowboys’ Jones regime drafted Hall of Fame players like quarterback Troy Aikman, running back Emmitt Smith and offensive lineman Larry Allen, as well as other key players like receiver Alvin Harper or defensive back Darren Woodson.
- The McVay era for the 49ers saw Hall of Fame players drafted like quarterback Joe Montana, safety Ronnie Lott, wide receiver Jerry Rice, defensive lineman Charles Haley and wide receiver Terrell Owens.
- Davis had a long track record of drafting Hall of Fame players, such as Stabler, offensive linemen Gene Upshaw and Art Still, tight end Dave Casper, defensive lineman Howie Long, running back Marcus Allen and wide receiver Tim Brown.
- Haley is famous for his 1974 Steelers draft class that resulted in four Hall of Fame players: wide receivers John Stallworth and Lynn Swann, linebacker Jack Lambert and center Mike Webster. He also drafted running back Franco Harris and linebacker Jack Ham in his first two years at the helm.
While there is a long way to go to meet the accomplishments of those draft histories, Veach also will have a lot more opportunities to do so in the future. He has a first-round pick for the first time as a general manager for the 2020 draft — but don’t bank on him picking at that spot.
If the Chiefs can continue to contend and win multiple championships like we all expect them to, Veach could find himself in position to become one of the most decorated NFL executives of all-time at an incredibly young age.