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No matter what happens on Sunday, the Chiefs’ 2022 season has been a success

Even if it doesn’t win the AFC Championship, Kansas City has had a great year — and is set up for more of them.

NFL: Denver Broncos at Kansas City Chiefs Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

With Saturday’s 27-20 Divisional Round victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Kansas City Chiefs’ 2022 season can now be declared a success.

Sure... there is still at least one game left to be played — but for the Chiefs, 2022 was about much more than postseason wins. Let’s remember what it was like last March, when so many were counting Kansas City out after the team traded wide receiver Tyreek Hill, allowed cornerback Charvarius Ward and safety Tyrann Matheiu to walk to free agency and watched the AFC’s arms race from the sidelines.

The Chiefs stood their ground with Hill, exchanging him for a bag full of draft picks. They chose not to spend big money in free agency — which would have required converting some of quarterback Patrick Mahomes’ 2022 roster bonus to signing bonus to make cap room — which gave them more freedom down the road. Instead, they made several small moves in free agency — and then focused on the draft. General manager Brett Veach used his picks well, getting a tremendous contribution from the team’s rookie class.

And even with all this, the team continued to be among the NFL’s best.

Now that the Chiefs find themselves at the door to the Super Bowl (for the fifth consecutive season) there’s a lot at stake. Head coach Andy Reid can become the fourteenth coach to win multiple Super Bowls. The organization could become just the tenth with more than two Super Bowl victories. Patrick Mahomes can improve his position in the conversation about the greatest of all time.

All of these narratives can make every nerve-racking moment of the AFC Championship feel life-altering. But Kansas City fans should feel comfortable — because the future of this team is bright.

There’s a great saying: “Everybody wins somebody else’s Super Bowl.”

What this means is that the team that is perceived as the best team often fails to win the championship. In 2019, the Chiefs stole the AFC from the Baltimore Ravens, who dominated that season. The following year, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers stole the Super Bowl from Kansas City. A year ago, the San Francisco 49ers crashed the Green Bay Packers’ NFC party in Lambeau Field — and this year, the Chiefs (or the Cincinnati Bengals) will ruin the Buffalo Bills’ dreams.

With Mahomes and Reid, each season’s goal should be simple: be in the best position to make the playoffs. There’s no need to be “all in” to win the Super Bowl in a given season. The Los Angeles Rams did that in 2021 — and now, their long-term prospects are poor.

Kansas City might not win it all this season — but there’s no doubt about it: the 2023 and 2024 squads will be in a much better position to win it all because of what the team accomplished this season. Making the AFC Championship in what could only be described as a rebuilding year is a wild success.

We never know what the future will hold. But in the coming seasons, the Chiefs will be buyers in a market where most of the AFC will be sellers. No matter how we feel after Sunday’s game, remember this: for a team whose floor is the conference championship game, the future could hardly be brighter.

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