FanPost

Why the Chiefs Will Win the AFC West...Again.

In an incredible overtime win, the Kansas City Chiefs stun the Buffalo Bills  and advance to AFC title game | KCUR 89.3 - NPR in Kansas City

Every year about this time, we hear the local and national prognosticators begin to make their predictions for the upcoming NFL season, who is going to win it all, which teams are going to win their divisions, which teams will make the playoffs, which players will have a breakout year, which players will regress, etc. All one needs to do is turn on local sports talk radio or watch some ESPN or NFL Network to hear these voices. It comes during training camp reports, live on air discussions and the like. Yet we have gotten used to them and usually blow them off with the same kind of confidence that comes from knowing that the Chiefs still have arguably the best quarterback in the league who has demonstrated time and again (aside from one half of football that ended the season last year) that when it comes to crunch time and getting the job done, there is no one better in the league than Patrick Mahomes. Since his first regular season week 17 game against the Broncos in 2017, we have watched him bring the team back on his shoulders again and again. We saw him fall behind in the playoffs and in the Super Bowl only to roar back with the intensity of a front row seat at a NASCAR event and lead the team to hoisting the first Lombardi Trophy in 50 years.


But the voices that we hear every year leading up to the season seem to be just a little louder this year...don't they? It kind of reminds me of when Frank Clark said, "I smell blood in the water." during Super Bowl 54. Well, it seems that more so this year, the en vogue prediction is the demise of the Chiefs as AFC West Division Champions. And why not? I mean it has to happen sometime, right? If you throw darts long enough, one time you are finally going to hit the bullseye. I first began to realize this when I heard a very well-known local sports guy who happens to be a senior writer for NFL.com and an NFL Network on air personality on one of our local sports talk shows. He was asked if it was too early to give his prediction as to who was going to win the AFC West this year. Does anyone care to guess who his pick was? That's right. You guessed it. Everyone's favorite offseason winner of the AFC West, the Los Angeles Chargers. The host let out an exasperated expletive at pretty much the same time I did, and for the exact same reasons. Another thing that we as Chiefs fans have gotten used to is that every year, we have to listen to the "experts" tell us why the Chargers are going to win the west this year. It happens every year and that was the reason for the sigh and subsequent colorful expletive. The host said exactly what I thought in that moment which was "every year" we have to go through this.

Now, we know that one time, one year, it must happen. We know that nothing lasts forever, and the six-year dominance that the Chiefs have enjoyed over the rest of the division has to one day come to an end...and it will, but just not this year. Now, what makes me right and everyone else wrong? Well first, there is no way to know who is right until after it is done. No one in the world can tell you with 100% certainty who is going to win our division. That is just not possible. The only guarantee that anyone can make right now is that either the Chiefs, Broncos, Raiders, or Chargers are going to be AFC West Champions at the end of the regular season. Anything else is an educated guess, with some being possibly more educated and experienced than others. But in the end one team will be left standing, and there will be the ones who predicted right, and they will get to thump their chests at that time and brag about how they predicted it all year, when, just like sometimes games being decided by the bounce of the ball, they happened to guess right. The same goes here for me. All I have is my experience and my gut. I have been an NFL fan since 1972 with my first memory of live football being the live game between the Steelers and the Raiders that was decided by a play we now call "The Immaculate Reception". I have been a diehard Chiefs fan since the mid-1980s, and I have had my heart ripped out so many times that I do not care to remember. But an unwillingness to never give up hope that one day we would get to hoist that trophy was finally rewarded at the conclusion of the 2019 season. I am NOT a multi-sport fan and to me there is football season, and then there is waiting for football season. So, right or wrong, I truly feel I have at least a little bit of experience and football acumen to at least make a reasonable and intelligent prediction about our team going into this season, and it is simply this: The Chiefs will repeat as AFC Western Division Champions for the seventh year in a row.

What is my reasoning and logic? I can go with stats and numbers, like many on here do. That has never been my forte. I tend to see more reasoning, logic, and trends, as well as a little bit of the intangible things that go into deciding winners and losers of games. But before we get there, we need to start here: Why is everyone predicting the demise of the Chiefs as AFC West Division Champs more loudly this year? Well, we can go into a long-detailed explanation but that is really not necessary. Let me sum it up for all of us with this: Here is what everyone is basing their predictions on: "The Raiders, Broncos, and Chargers all added at least one big-time player to their rosters this offseason, and the Chiefs lost a big-time player in Tyreek Hill. Therefore, they will not win the division this year." In a nutshell, that is what we are being told day after day. I mean it is simple mathematics, right? The other teams added weapons and we lost weapons. Oh, and we also lost the Honey Badger as well. Let's not forget that. And so, because of these things, the Chiefs are not going to win their division this year.

So, there it is. Because we experienced a net loss in talent, and the other teams gained, we are not going to win the division. Now, let me tell you why I think that is wrong. I have several strong reasons as to why I think the Chiefs are going to repeat as division champions, and here they are. First, it has become cliche, but we have had it pumped into our brains over and over again, especially over the last 10-15 years, that the NFL is a quarterback driven league, and even more so in the last five years. I totally agree with this. All long-time Chiefs fans have suffered through decades of decent to average to sometimes atrocious quarterback play, and from the debacle of drafting Todd Blackledge in the first round of the 1983 draft, the Chiefs seemed almost cursed to never be the team to find THE guy to man the helm at the quarterback position and, outside of a few pretty good players who we got from other teams like the two years we had Joe Montana and the Trent Green era, we have had to endure the likes of Steve Bono, Elvis Grbac, Brodie Croyle, Tyler Thigpen, Matt Cassel, Damon Huard, and the list goes on. We took a step up with the addition of Alex Smith to start the Andy Reid era and watched that for five seasons. I know no one here likes to bag on Alex because of his great statistical play and his willingness to mentor a rookie Patrick Mahomes, but I still felt that old Captain Checkdown was never going to be the one to take us to the promised land. But all of our fortunes changed on April 27th, 2017, when Kansas City made Mahomes the 10th overall pick that year and, since then, it has been the ride of our lives. What am I saying? Well, last I checked, we STILL have Mahomes on the roster and he is STILL the starting quarterback of our Chiefs. I know the golden boy Chargers have Justin Herbert and the Broncos traded for Russell Wilson, but I truly believe that anyone with decent football knowledge, if they were building a team from scratch, is going to choose Mahomes over them...and it should not even be close. He is still clearly the best quarterback in the division.

I have a second but just as strong of a reason to predict the Chiefs as 2022 division champions and that is this: Andy Reid and the coaching staff of Kansas City, and specifically them versus the other coaches and coaching staffs in the rest of the west. Look at the head coaches first. Andy Reid is bringing 23 years of NFL head coaching experience into this season as the beloved coach of our Kansas City Chiefs. That of course is not counting all the years he also spent in the NFL at other coaching positions. The other three current head coaches in the AFC West bring in a combined total of not even 4 full years head coaching experience. Nathaniel Hackett is heading into his first year as a head coach of the Broncos. Josh McDaniels is beginning his second stint in the AFC West as the new head coach of the Raiders. Interestingly enough, McDaniels first stint ended against the Kansas City Chiefs after week 13 of the 2010 season the day after the Broncos lost to the Chiefs 10-6 at Arrowhead Stadium. Brandon Staley is entering his 3rd season as a head coach, leading the Chargers into the 2022 season. I have come to believe after decades of watching the NFL and really trying to analyze the game, that when you put two teams on the field who are almost equal in overall talent level at most of the key positions that, in the end, the game is going to usually turn out in favor of the team that has the better and more experienced coaching staff. In other words, so many NFL games are played so close that in the end many of them are decided by one or two decisions made by the coaches during the course of the game. How many times have we all seen decisions made in real time that ended up being our downfall, or the downfall of another team we might happen to be watching? I think for a great example of this, you need look no further than to the AFC divisional game last year against the Bills. When you lay aside the hype, emotion, and euphoria that accompanied the Chiefs winning that game, I believe that the decisions made by both coaching staffs is what ultimately made it possible for the Chiefs to win that game. The now famous "Thirteen Seconds" of game time that we have all watched over and over again were made possible by two things simultaneously. First was the decision by the Bills to sit back and try and keep everything in front of them, which is exactly what they did. The second was the Chiefs staff taking absolute and full advantage of that and watch a well-coached offense get down into field goal range in two plays. After the Kelce catch, I think I saw half the team running down the field calling the "time out" sign with their hands. Every single one of them knew exactly what to do and understood the situation. Again, how many times have we been on the wrong end of that? Well, my friends, Big Red and company are still at the helm of our team, and I have no doubt that if any games come down to the wire, the advantage is going to fall on the side of the Chiefs. Of course, no one can predict things like injuries, or the awkward bounce of the ball, but outside of the truly fluky things that can happen in an NFL game, the outcome is going to favor the team with the best men on the sidelines and up in the coach’s box making the calls and the decisions.

Believe it or not, I have other reasons to believe that we are going to win the division this year, but I will not go into those things, except to say that with a GM like Brett Veach as also a part of the mix, that just further lends itself to a team that is being constructed for the long-term success for the entirety of the Patrick Mahomes era. If just this years draft class is half as good as we think is possible, then that alone could be the reason the Chiefs repeat again as division champs. We Chiefs fans always spring with hope eternal, but never more so than we have these last 4-5 amazing years. I honestly do not see the Chiefs losing their reign over the division anytime soon as long as Big Red and PM15 are leading the charge. So, even though my humble prediction may not come true, I feel VERY confident in predicting that it is going to be another amazing and highlight filled season, with new plays and new heroes to cheer for this year. So, let’s go into this year expecting nothing less than what we know the team is capable of. The ride departs the gate very soon. Buckle up and enjoy the ride once again.

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of Arrowhead Pride's writers or editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of Arrowhead Pride writers or editors.