Concerning off-the-field issues put Hill’s NFL career in limbo last summer, keeping him out of the conversation in this exercise. But there’s no denying his talent. He joins The Club in 2020 as a Super Bowl champion and pro football’s greatest deep threat. Combining Hill’s insane speed and ball-tracking abilities with Patrick Mahomes’ otherworldly skill set is pretty much unfair. But Hill isn’t merely the product of his QB: He averaged nearly 16 yards per reception in 2017, when Alex Smith was behind center operating at peak Game Manager mode. Dez Bryant recently proclaimed Hill one of his favorite players of all time: “I’m not being biased but nobody covering that man one on one ... I think he’s the best player in the league outside of [Mahomes].” Who could argue with Dez, he himself a former member of The Superstar Club?
1 Patrick Mahomes
Kansas City Chiefs · QB
The $500 Million Man is the obvious choice after securing a Super Bowl title and MVP award in his first two seasons as a full-time starter. Mahomes is the fastest quarterback in NFL history to reach 75 touchdown passes (30 games). He also ranks No. 1 among Super Bowl era QBs (min. 1,000 attempts) in pass yards per game (302.4), pass yards per attempt (8.5) and passer rating (108.6). Most impressive, he’s posted big numbers and collected Ws along the way (.778 winning percentage) as an electric playmaker from the pocket. As a 24-year-old player with A+ traits across the board, it’s hard to envision Mahomes giving up the crown any time soon.
15. Hank Stram/Len Dawson
Championships won together: 3 (2 AFL, 1 Super Bowl)
Greatest moment: Super Bowl IV
Dawson toiled in Pittsburgh and Cleveland for a combined five years before joining the Dallas Texans in 1962. With Stram as his coach, Dawson earned All-Pro honors that season while guiding the Texans to an AFL title. Four years later, the duo of Stram and Dawson helped the Chiefs (the franchise changed names and cities in 1963) win another AFL title to earn the right to face the Packers in Super Bowl I. While the Chiefs came up short in that game, they made up for it three years later, with Dawson earning MVP honors in Kansas City’s 23-7 win over the Vikings in Super Bowl IV, the final game played before the AFL-NFL merger.
Dawson put together a Hall of Fame career while playing for Stram, who has also earned a bronze bust in Canton. A seven-time Pro Bowler, Dawson led the league in completion percentage eight times and touchdown passes on four different occasions.
The Madden 20 cover star said that instead of playing other sports, he will “probably be sticking with football and video games for now.”
The 24-year-old added that the new deal will not change his outlook on the sport and will only positively affect his performances.
“I’m going out there and being the same person and same athlete that I’ve been since day one. It’s never been about the money to me. It’s been about going out there and having success and building a legacy and doing it the right way,” he said.
Q: Speaking of Andy Reid — you’re one of the few players on the team who has been around since Reid arrived in Kansas City back in 2013. How special was it for you to see him finally win his first Super Bowl title?
Fisher: “You know, it’s been something that has been in the making for quite some time. I know Coach Reid is beyond dedicated to his craft and one of the best to ever do it. To see him hoist that trophy in February, I mean that was a special experience after being with him for the last seven years. To have the ups and downs that he’s had over the years — coming so close — being able to finally get that thing after all the years in Philly and then in Kansas City — it was special. I might have been happier to see him win it than I was for myself.”
On a 63-yard touchdown reception from Patrick Mahomes in a regular-season game against the Tennessee Titans, Hardman topped out at 21.87 mph.
Could he beat that speed in his second year as a pro? Perhaps.
This week, Hardman began working with former Chiefs running back Derrick Blaylock, who is with Armed Sports Performance and goes by the Instagram handle of Speed Guru.
The Checkdown shared Blaylock’s Instagram story of Hardman hitting 23 mph on a treadmill:
No, Really, I Won’t Show Up
Chris Jones, DT, Kansas City
Jones has not signed his franchise tender yet, and if he does not sign it he won’t be entitled to the $16 million he’d make for 2020, but the Chiefs would also not be able to fine or trade him since he’d technically not be under contract. We’ll see if Jones is truly willing to follow through on his holdout, but first Kansas City has to decide what he’s worth. The Chiefs had a higher pass-pressure rate and better run defense when Jones was off the field in 2019, but he was also dealing with a calf injury. When healthy, Jones is among the few interior pass rushers capable of doing an Aaron Donald impersonation (Jones was the second-highest graded linemen on third and fourth down last year, per Pro Football Focus). The Chiefs backloaded $300 million of Mahomes’s contract for 2026 and beyond precisely to keep players like Jones around on a long-term deal. If they keep him on the tag and then let him go next year, the Mahomes contract will be the scapegoat. But the real answer is Kansas City didn’t want to invest in a defensive tackle in his late 20s.
Kansas City Chiefs - Otis Taylor, WR
We’re continuing our run of receivers with Taylor, whose game went through a seamless transition after the Chiefs moved from the AFL to the NFL following the 1970 league merger. Fittingly, in the final game played before the merger, Taylor made the game-breaking play, as his 46-yard touchdown reception sealed the Chiefs’ victory over the Vikings in Super Bowl IV.
Taylor made an even greater play against the Raiders in that year’s AFL Championship Game. With the score tied in the third quarter, and with the Chiefs facing a third and long just outside their own end zone, Kansas City quarterback Len Dawson found Taylor for a 41-yard gain. The play helped set up the Chiefs’ go-ahead touchdown. Simply put, Chiefs fans grew accustomed to seeing those type of exploits from Taylor, a multiple All-Pro who led the NFL in receiving yards in 1971.
Around the NFL
“I just had a couple thoughts. Working on my game plan. But I just have to tell you, the stadium looks freaking awesome,” Gruden said in the video. “It’s the greatest thing I’ve ever seen. And I just want to congratulate all you workers for an incredible accomplishment during adversity. It’s the two-minute drill. You’ve done 99% of the work, maybe 97% of the work. I just challenge you to finish like a champion.”
“The unfortunate events of the COVID-19 pandemic have put a halt to a lot of things. Football is not one. To continue discussing the many UNKNOWNS do not give me the comfort,” Smith wrote. “Risking my health as well as my family’s health does not seem like a risk worth taking. With my first child due in 3 weeks, I can’t help but think about how will I be able to go to work and take proper precautions around 80+ people everyday to then go home to be with my newborn daughter.
Jackson’s situation is similar to that of some other talented quarterbacks of recent vintage whose breakout years were ignited by an innovative playbook. Once a player succeeds as Jackson did, you know that the offense will be picked apart by defensive coordinators preparing for 2020. That is the challenge he and the Ravens face.
Consider this unlikely comp for Jackson: Nick Foles. While not as physically gifted as Jackson, he has had two exceptional seasons in the course of his otherwise unspectacular NFL career as a starter and backup. One was with the Eagles in 2013 under coach Chip Kelly, whose fast-paced offensive system, developed at Oregon, overwhelmed NFL defensive coordinators when Kelly debuted it in the pros. During training camp, opposing coaches could practice against only what they thought Kelly might do. Thus, Foles, a good quarterback landing in an exceptional schematic situation, threw for an astounding 27 touchdowns with only two interceptions and had a 119.2 quarterback rating over 10 starts—the third-best single-season rating in NFL history.
The team said that after Bidwill developed symptoms, he tested positive for COVID-19 and went to the hospital following a recommendation by his doctor.
His condition has improved, and he is expected to be released this weekend.
The team says it believes the 55-year-old Bidwill caught the virus while traveling and spending time on the East Coast for several weeks.
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“Being hurt is like the worst thing — I swear it is, man,” said Hill. “Because you’re like inside by yourself when everybody else is practicing. During game day, you see guys out there running the wrong route — and you’re like, ‘Man, if I’d been out there I’d have scored.’
“2,000 yards for me, man,” he declared.
That would be quite an accomplishment. No NFL receiver has ever eclipsed 2,000 receiving yards — although Calvin Johnson once came close, gaining 1,964 with the Detroit Lions in 2012. Hill told Owens and Hatchette that he is ready for the challenge.
“My first two years in the league, I was still raw,” he explained. “I was still learning the wideout position. I didn’t know how to run routes. I could catch the ball really good, but I didn’t know how to go out 12 yards and then come back. I didn’t know how to do none of that. I was still, ‘Coach, how do I do that? Do I go up and then do a hop inito it — or what do I do?’
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