Statements from Chairman & CEO Clark Hunt and Head Coach Andy Reid on the passing of John Madden. pic.twitter.com/DJUwFxMyp3— Kansas City Chiefs (@Chiefs) December 29, 2021
NFL coaching and Broadcasting legend and Pro Football Hall of Fame member John Madden passed away unexpectedly on Tuesday morning at the age of 85. They will remember Madden for his days as a Super Bowl-winning head coach for the Oakland Raiders, for his 30 years as an NFL broadcaster, and as the face of the Madden video game franchise which is one of the most popular sports video games in the world. With the tweets pouring in left-and-right, it was Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes that had one of the more poignant responses. As a former cover athlete for Madden’s video game franchise, the news hit hard on Mahomes.
Rest In Peace to a Legend! Prayers to the Madden Family. https://t.co/4zvhu5vEUd— Patrick Mahomes II (@PatrickMahomes) December 29, 2021
C - Creed Humphrey
Kansas City Chiefs · College: Oklahoma
Two weeks ago, Humphrey was the top center on my offensive Pro Bowlers list. Last week, he was selected to the Pro Bowl. The rookie has impressed everyone who’s watched or played against the anchor of the Chiefs’ O-line. Through 16 weeks, Humphrey holds the highest PFF grade (92.2) among centers, with the next-closest grade being Jason Kelce’s 84.6. That should put Humphrey’s season into perspective.
OG - Trey Smith
Kansas City Chiefs · College: Tennessee
This rookie guard class has gone through some growing pains, but Smith has been the best of the bunch. He was stronger in the first half of the season than he’s been in the second half, but the sixth-round pick hasn’t missed a snap across 15 starts and has helped the Chiefs rank seventh in the NFL in pass protection, per PFF. Having two Chiefs — two offensive linemen, no less — on this list bodes very well for the rebuilt Kansas City O-line.
Patrick Mahomes Throws the Greatest Incomplete Pass in NFL History
Riley McAtee: Forget the rest of the Super Bowl. This is the only play that I remember:
Mahomes, after running for his life against a ferocious Tampa Bay pass rush, begins to get tackled on this crucial fourth-and-9. While parallel to the ground, he flicks his wrist and sends the football flying into the face mask of a Chiefs receiver. The pass falls to the ground, and Mahomes looks on in disbelief. This is an impossible, physics-defying throw, one that should happen only when a video game glitches, or when a teenage Superman forgets to not use his powers while playing quarterback in high school.
The Chiefs lost the Super Bowl by 22 points; it wasn’t even close. But there was never any doubt who was the best player on the field. Mahomes was so good in Super Bowl LV that the Buccaneers players couldn’t stop talking about him on the sideline:
Think about that. These players were on the path to winning a Super Bowl and they couldn’t stop talking about the other team’s quarterback.
The 2021 season has proved to be a weird one for Mahomes. He’s on his way to career lows in adjusted net yards per attempt, quarterback rating, and Pro Football Focus grade. Still, the Chiefs are in the driver’s seat for the AFC’s no. 1 seed and the conference’s only bye. That makes it a good time to look back on the Super Bowl and remember that regardless of what the stats show, Mahomes is the NFL’s only true magician.
Kansas City (11-4) at Cincinnati (9-6)
1 p.m. ET (CBS)
Kansas City Chiefs -5
I’m not going to sit here and say that this game is going to be a preview of the AFC Championship, but I’m not going to not to say that. Sure, the Bengals haven’t even clinched a playoff spot yet, but that can actually happen on Sunday if they beat the Chiefs. With a win over Kansas City, the Bengals would clinch the AFC North title and lock up their first playoff spot since 2015.
The biggest problem for the Bengals is that the one thing standing between them and a division title is the one thing you don’t want standing in your way if you’re an NFL team and that’s Patrick Mahomes. If there is one quarterback you don’t want to face late in the season, it’s definitely Mahomes. Since the start of the 2019 season, Mahomes has a record of 26-1 in the months of November, December and January combined.
You have a better chance of meeting a talking cat than an NFL team does of beating Mahomes late in the season. The problem for the Bengals is that it’s going to be especially hard for them to slow him down and that’s because they’ve given up the fourth-most passing yards in the NFL this year. That being said, the Chiefs haven’t exactly been great at stopping the pass either, which means we might see BOTH quarterbacks go for 525 yards on Sunday. The Chiefs defense has actually struggled against good offenses with losses to the Bills, Chargers, Ravens (back when they were good) and Titans (back when they had Derrick Henry).
This is the biggest home game the Bengals have played in six years and for some reason, I feel like their magical season is going to continue with an upset win over the Chiefs. However, I will 100% be changing my pick if Joe Burrow ends up on the COVID list, which is a small possibility after backup QB Brandon Allen was placed on the list Monday.
If Burrow plays, I’ll take the Bengals in an upset. If Burrow misses the game, that means the Bengals would be down to their third-string QB and in that case, I’ll take the Chiefs by a lot.
The pick: Bengals 34-31 over Chiefs
Colin’s thoughts: ”They are 22-0 in their last 22 games in November and December. That’s pretty amazing. Why? ... Because they tweak. ... In all these seasons — this year, last year, the Super Bowl win — they’ve had dry spells.”
Around the NFL
The agreement includes both vaccinated and unvaccinated players and is contingent on the player being asymptomatic, or at least demonstrating that his symptoms are resolving, after the five-day period.
Under the former protocol, unvaccinated players were required to isolate for 10 days when they test positive. Vaccinated players may continue to “test out” of isolation sooner than five days, as soon as they test negative, either with two tests taken at the same time, or in combination with a cycle threshold (CT) test reading that indicates they are no longer contagious. Unvaccinated players will not be eligible to “test out” sooner than the five days.
The club, which dismissed Urban Meyer earlier this season, has requested permission to interview six NFL coordinators: Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich and defensive coordinator Todd Bowles; Dallas Cowboys offensive coordinator Kellen Moore and defensive coordinator Dan Quinn; Indianapolis Colts defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus; and Green Bay Packers offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett.
NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reported the requests for Leftwich, Quinn, Eberflus and Hackett, while NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported the request for Moore, and NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo reported the request for Bowles.
5. Chargers (8-7)
Remaining schedule: vs. Broncos, at Raiders
Los Angeles had a playoff spot in its grasp, only needing to beat Houston to get to the nine-win mark. Instead the Chargers were upset by the Texans and fell to the No. 9 spot in the conference. The Chargers still can get into the playoffs, but face two tough division rivals in the Broncos and Raiders — who are both fighting to stay alive in the AFC playoff race (and the Raiders are one of three other 8-7 teams fighting for the final playoff spot). The Chargers can still win out and get to 10 wins, hoping to create a massive tiebreaker if the Dolphins and Patriots each get to 10 wins — but this all could have been avoided just by beating the Texans.
In case you missed it on Arrowhead Pride
1. Kansas City Chiefs (2nd)
It was a journey to get here — but the Chiefs have made it back to the top. At the moment, they’re easily the most complete team in football.
2. Green Bay Packers (1st)
Despite the turnovers they were handed, the Packers’ defense was shredded by the Browns. A small concern heading into the playoffs.
3. Dallas Cowboys (4th)
Just like the Chiefs, they are rounding out into form on both sides of the ball.
Defensive backs Dicaprio Bootle and Josh Jackson and tight end Nakia Griffin-Stewart — active for the Chiefs’ game against the Pittsburgh Steelers — have reverted to the practice squad. The Chiefs gave Bootle a practice squad protection on Tuesday, which makes sense. He led the Chiefs with eight tackles against the Steelers.
On Tuesday, the Chiefs waived replacement kicker Elliot Fry and released replacement punter Johnny Townsend from his practice squad contract. The team also terminated the practice squad contracts of offensive lineman Paul Adams and wide receiver Dalton Schoen. On Monday, the team released punter Joseph Charlton.