Now that we have had the chance to bask in the glory of the Kansas City Chiefs’ Super Bowl victory, it is a good time to reflect on precisely what the team has just accomplished — and wonder what might lie ahead.
I’ll be honest: even though I knew that the vast majority of fans (along with all the broadcast hosts) were picking the Philadelphia Eagles to win the championship game, I was much less apprehensive about the Super Bowl than I had been for the AFC Championship game. For some reason, this weird feeling had settled over me. I’ll do my best to explain it.
There are many reasons the NFL has become the most popular sport in the United States — and by a wide margin. The games are amazing. The players are the best in the world. From Week 1 to Week 18, nearly every single game is critically important. Finally, the league has done a fantastic job of creating actual parity; the schedule and salary structure gives every team the opportunity to compete.
But you may remember that about five years ago, people were beginning to wonder about the game’s future. Among the next generation of players, which ones could lead the NFL to its future? Which quarterbacks would be participating in the next great “Brady vs. Manning” rivalry? And which teams were going to begin new dynasties?
We saw the great ones do it, didn’t we?
As the Super Bowl era began in the late 60s, it was the Green Bay Packers — led by the great Vince Lombardi, whose name now graces each championship trophy. In the 70s, the Pittsburgh Steelers had the right coach and the right players (including a draft class with four eventual Hall of Fame inductees) to turn four decades of misery into a decade of dominance. In the 80s, head coach Bill Walsh and quarterback Joe Montana led the San Francisco 49ers to multiple championships. In the 90s, Jimmy Johnson and Troy Aikman piloted the Dallas Cowboys to three. Then in the new millennium, Bill Belichick, Tom Brady and the New England Patriots were in the big game 10 times over 20 years.
There are those who will contend that it is premature to apply the “D” word to Andy Reid, Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs. But there isn’t anyone who can argue the team isn’t well on its way.
As the Super Bowl approached, I came to realize that if Kansas City was truly becoming the league’s next dynasty, there was no way the team was going to lose the championship game. It had finally dawned on me: the Chiefs aren’t just making history. They are also repeating it.
In every one of these great dynasties, teams simply didn’t lose games like the matchup against the Eagles. Every one of those great squads had defining moments where they went from being great to being historic.
Let’s remember: the 2022 season was supposed to be about rebuilding a team that was now without its greatest receiver. Analysts weren’t picking other AFC West teams to win the division because they were so good. Instead, they believed there was no way that Kansas City could maintain its dominance over its closest rivals.
But no one thought the Chiefs could actually be better (and more dangerous) than ever — except them.
All of these dynasties have had similar characteristics. They didn’t just ascend to the top once. Instead, they stayed at (or near it) for at least a decade. And one way or another, they found ways to win games that no one believed they could.
So I cannot say that on Super Bowl Sunday, I was 100% certain that Kansas City was going to win. But I strongly felt that if history was going to repeat itself — giving us the beginning of yet another NFL dynasty — the Chiefs were going to win the game.
And they did.
At the end of Wednesday’s victory parade, Patrick Mahomes said it best: “This is only the beginning.”
I believe history is about to prove him right.