Chiefs Kingdom remains dormant for a few more weeks.
While some players have been spotted in Texas catching passes from quarterback Patrick Mahomes, others are enjoying the last stretch of the year without NFL football.
The idle mind is a devil’s workplace. And the last bit of offseason anxiety sets the backdrop for this post: dedicated to the 2022 Chiefs and opposing players we believe fans might bump heads with the most.
Once referred to as the “most toxic fanbase in sports,” the kingdom certainly isn’t shy to share an opinion. In fact, many on this list have come under fire before.
In this post, I’ll try my best to sift through the unwarranted hate to find the root of the beef and (hopefully) explore amicable solutions for both sides.
The home team
Defensive end Frank Clark
Kansas City’s “Shark” returns for another season in red and gold after quite possibly the most hate-filled season of his tenure. Clark missed three games in 2022, and when he did play, he was mostly ineffective. No. 55 tallied 4.5 sacks and 22 tackles last season, both low marks for his time in Kansas City. Clark’s high cap-hit, paired with seemingly lackluster production, drew criticism from near and far. Some even went as far as to write Chiefs to cut bait with him this offseason. Alas, after restructuring his deal in February, Clark is back in Kansas City and looks to be a focal point of what the team hopes to do along the defensive line.
Running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire
Like Clark, running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire missed a healthy chunk of last season. Coming off a national championship year with LSU and being drafted near the back-end of the 2020 first round, expectations amongst Chiefs fans were sky-high for the new offensive weapon. Edwards-Helaire lit up the Houston Texas in his pro debut, churning for 138 yards and a score on 25 carries. But, since the big breakout, fans have lamented Edwards-Helaire’s role in the offense and lack of burst in the open field. Working in a committee backfield once again, Edwards-Helaire enters training camp with a chance to silence doubters.
Wide receiver Mecole Hardman
Fourth-year wideout Mecole Hardman enters the 2022 campaign as an elder statesman of sorts. And his play down the stretch of the 2021 regular season should inspire fans still writhing over the team selecting him over the likes of Seattle Seahawks receiver D.K. Metcalf or Washington Commanders receiver Terry McLaurin.
Hardman’s inclusion in Kansas City’s offense has been clunky at times, and “The Jet” may have even tipped his hand this offseason, replying to a tweet that omitted his presence in the rebuilt system.
The former Georgia Bulldog presumably has more chemistry with Patrick Mahomes than other members of Kansas City’s new-look wideout room, but skipping out on an early offseason throwing session with the quarterback fed social media fodder.
#Chiefs Mecole Hardman on chatter: "Definitely blown out of proportion for sure...People have individual lives as well. I can't be on Pat's ass all day."— Aaron Ladd (@aaronladd0) April 18, 2022
The bad guys
Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady
This one seems pretty straightforward. This guy won’t just won’t hang ‘em up. Pump-faking retirement once again this offseason, Kansas City will face Tom Brady and the Buccaneers in Tampa Bay for a Super Bowl LV rematch in Week 4. The seven-time Super Bowl champ has become more and more likable since his split with Bill Belichick and leaning into social media. But who could forget the last two heartbreaks at the hands of the Golden Boy? Thought to be involved in the hiring and firing of his new head coach and reportedly almost a minority owner, Brady’s NFL reign isn’t over just yet.
Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen
Patrick Mahomes’ golf partner for “The Match” in June out in Las Vegas, Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen made it clear he’s still grappling with how his team’s 2021 season ended. On the wrong side of a handful of epic postseason tilts, Allen enters this season as a clear threat to Kansas City’s reign. Allen’s ascension alongside Mahomes has drawn the ire of Chiefs fans for no other substantive reason than he is also really damn good. When Allen and the Bills stomped the Chiefs at Arrowhead during the 2021 regular season, Allen was a gracious winner — even sending more love to Chiefs fans after a flurry of 13 seconds-themed donations were made to one of his charitable endeavors.
Denver Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson
A fresh face in the star-studded AFC West, Russell Wilson brings his unique style of quarterbacking to one of Kansas City’s greatest rivals. One of the biggest trades of the NFL offseason saw Wilson swap his trademark “Go Hawks” interview-ender for a stallion-themed “Let’s Ride” sendoff, sending shockwaves of memes around NFL Twitter.
Whether Wilson is being lambasted for swooping Ciara or proudly championing his faith and love of American football, fans will have ample chance to grapple with the nine-time Pro-Bowlers antics.