“Before we started this season, the AFC West said we were rebuilding,” Mahomes told the fans at the rally. “I’m going to be honest with you — I don’t know what rebuilding means! In our rebuilding year we’re world champs. I just want to say we appreciate everybody here today. Arrowhead Stadium is one of a kind and we just want to say Chiefs Kingdom is one of a kind, so give a round of applause for everyone standing here today.
“This is just the beginning — we ain’t done yet!”
The achievement secured head coach Andy Reid his second Lombardi Trophy of his career, and considering it came against his former employer, it had to be especially sweet. So too, was the taste of a victory earned for the diehard Chiefs Kingdom.
There appear to be two options for Bienemy to get into the NFL’s head coaching fraternity. First would be the higher risk, higher reward option of leaving the Chiefs. Leaving an ideal situation in Kansas City to run an offense would separate his accomplishments from Reid, instead of sharing or giving away a majority of the credit. FOX’s Kevin Burkhardt and Greg Olsen shouted out Reid for the decisions that led to the team’s double-digit Super Bowl LVII comeback over the Eagles, not the team’s offensive coordinator. Going to a team like the Commanders, who’ve shown public interest in acquiring Bienemy’s services, would expose his abilities as a play caller. Washington head coach Ron Rivera is obviously a defensive-minded coach, leaving Bienemy on an island when it comes to running the offense. With a decent amount of talent in the nation’s capital, how he’d elevate Sam Howell would be a great sign of how he’d perform as a head coach. Then again, others have been hired with less proof, but that’s just not the reality for Bienemy.
The only other option, after multiple head-coaching cycles passed him by, would be outlasting Reid’s tenure in Kansas City and taking over for his current boss — getting Mahomes and Reid to hand him the job as best they can. Bienemy clearly has the proper support from Kansas City’s front office. And with no signs of Reid slowing down at 64, that might be a long wait, despite how strongly the two-time Super Bowl-winning head coach thinks of his star pupil. It’s an odd juxtaposition, because Reid was named the Eagles’ head coach over two decades ago without any play-calling experience. Bienemy likely won’t get the same leeway, and he’s become the poster boy (man) for the inequities in the NFL’s head coaching ranks
That the Chiefs had a future Hall of Fame QB was clear well before Sunday. But this title also says something about the Chiefs’ legacy independent of their quarterback’s. In addition to solidifying Andy Reid as an all-time coach with his second championship ring, Super Bowl LVII establishes the Chiefs as roster-building savants who did a lot more to return to the mountaintop than simply turn Mahomes loose. Having him might be a guaranteed ticket to contention at baseline, but to get over the top, the Chiefs had to press a bunch of correct buttons at other positions as well. Maybe Mahomes could have delivered a Super Bowl all by himself, but the 2022 Chiefs’ genius was that they never had to find out.
The near-quintupling of Mahomes’s cap hit made it inevitable that the Chiefs would have to say goodbye to some old friends. The team’s defense, eternally the weaker of K.C.’s two units, bore most of those losses. Safety Tyrann Mathieu, who played at least 94 percent of the Chiefs’ defensive snaps in each of the prior three seasons and made two Pro Bowls, saw his contract expire. The Chiefs let him walk off to the New Orleans Saints, and in so doing, split with a player who had absorbed 10.5 percent of their cap space in 2021. Cornerback Charvarius Ward, who played for $3.4 million in 2021, got nearly $27 million in guarantees from the San Francisco 49ers, according to Spotrac. The Chiefs cut linebacker Anthony Hitchens, pushing more than $4 million onto their 2022 balance in “dead cap” space. But Hitchens would occupy only 2 percent of the Chiefs’ cap total while not playing for them, after taking up 5.6 percent in 2021.
“You look at him statistically and what he’s been able to do in his first four, five, six years in this league, you know, it’s kind of unmatched by anybody,” he said. “They’re the mantra of what you want to be and how you need to do it. Because, again they’re just constantly in the AFC Championship Game; he’s been in three Super Bowls now. Gotta find ways, it’s a copycat league, you gotta find ways to be like them.”
Mahomes’ Chiefs knocked out Allen’s Bills in the 2020 and 2021 postseasons. This year, after essentially spending their offseason ramping up to face K.C. in the postseason again, the Bills fell short, getting blown out by Cincinnati in the Divisional Round.
“To be the best, you’ve got to beat the best,” Allen said of Mahomes and the Chiefs. “We didn’t get that opportunity this year in the playoffs. Or we didn’t take advantage of our opportunities, I guess you could say.”
The late, great Maya Angelou once said: “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.”
It’s time for us to apply those words of wisdom to the NFL. Specifically, the billionaire owners who run pro football and year after year show us that equality and merit are myths when it comes to people of color with head coaching aspirations.
Another hiring cycle complete, and the league — despite professions of commitment to diversity — remains stuck at three Black head coaches (Todd Bowles, Mike Tomlin and DeMeco Ryans), one who’s biracial (Mike McDaniel), one who’s Latino (Ron Rivera) and one who’s Lebanese-American (Robert Saleh).
Five teams — the Carolina Panthers, Denver Broncos, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts and Arizona Cardinals — entered the offseason with head coaching vacancies. The Panthers, Broncos, Colts and Cardinals again hired White head coaches, and the Texans hired their third Black head coach in three years.
Best of luck to Sean Payton (Broncos), Frank Reich (Panthers), Shane Steichen (Colts) and Jonathan Gannon (Cardinals) as they embark on their new ventures.
We’re praying for you, DeMeco Ryans, because given that the Texans hired David Culley in 2021 and fired him after one season, hired Lovie Smith in 2022 and fired him after that same season, who knows how long you’ll get to show what you’re capable of achieving.
Give us a rundown of a typical NFL season training block
During the season, we’re doing about eight to 10 hours of specialized training together [per week], in addition to the workouts and practice he has with the team. On a week where they’re playing on Sunday, we’re training Monday, Tuesday, and Friday. Of course that adjusts if they’re playing on a different day. Once he’s in the flow of the season, training shifts to a dynamic set of days where we can get him ready to hit performance peaks when he needs to—especially during the playoffs and even more so for the Super Bowl.
For that in-season training, we have a general three-day concept going. The first day is mainly mobility that can look like a gymnastics workout with a lot of stretching, yoga, and Pilates. We do lots of poses and positions like backbends. That’s where we’re grounding him, getting him more comfortable in his relationship with the ground—getting him out of cleats and getting his bare feet on the turf and grass. Everything movement-wise we want to cover is covered on this day, making sure his squat and form looks smooth before we introduce weight.
Around the NFL
Wednesday was the first day Ridley was eligible to apply for reinstatement. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell will review Ridley’s petition and make the determination whether to allow the former first-round pick back on the field.
The Jaguars traded for Ridley on Nov. 1 — sending the Atlanta Falcons a 2023 fifth-round pick and a conditional fourth-round pick in 2024 that could rise as high as a second-round pick if the Jaguars sign Ridley to an extension. Should he be reinstated, Ridley would be paid a guaranteed $11.116 million in 2023 as the fifth-year option from the rookie deal he signed with the Falcons after being drafted 26th overall in 2018.
Ridley hasn’t played in an NFL game since Oct. 24, 2021. Ridley left the Falcons seven days later and said in a statement that he “needed to step away from football at this time and focus on my mental wellbeing.”
Brian Flores was still in the mix for the Cardinals head coaching job when he spoke to the Vikings about their defensive coordinator vacancy a little more than a week ago, but that conversation ended with him out of the running in Arizona.
At a press conference in Minnesota on Wednesday, Flores said that he felt a “great kind of camaraderie” right away with Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell, General Manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, and offensive coordinator Wes Phillips. That meeting left him with a “gut feeling’ that the job was the right one for him and he shared another message that resonated when he thought about what direction to go.
Flores cited a sermon he heard from his pastor in Pittsburgh — he was a senior assistant and linebackers coach for the Steelers in 2022 — saying that you “can have control or you can have growth” and that he sees a “great opportunity for growth” as a coach in Minnesota. Later in the press conference, he said “we’ll see what happens in the future” when asked about interest in another head coaching job after the 2023 season.
In case you missed it on Arrowhead Pride
I’ve been writing about the Kansas City Chiefs since the 2019 offseason, and I’ve always felt like I had a decent sense of what to write in these posts. A lot of my work during the week and gameday is built around what I want to talk about during the week.
I’ve never had to write one of these film pieces after a Super Bowl win. In 2019, I hardly knew anything about the Chiefs’ scheme, and in 2020-21, it took me a long time to stomach watching film of those games. This was the first time I covered a Super Bowl win, and I needed time to reflect on what had occurred.
After re-watching the game from multiple angles, the most significant moment in the game came after halftime. The Chiefs were reeling, with their offense only running 21 plays and quarterback Patrick Mahomes reaggravating his ankle injury. On this drive, head coach Andy Reid came out of halftime with one of his best possessions ever, methodically working his way down the field on a 10-play, 75-yard touchdown drive.