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Arrowheadlines: With Patrick Mahomes, the Chiefs’ Super Bowl window is always open

Chiefs headlines for Saturday, July 15

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The latest

Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes on Road Game Atmosphere: ‘I Like Being the Villain Sometimes’ | Bleacher Report

Patrick Mahomes has ripped fans’ hearts out for the past five seasons no matter where he’s playing, but there’s a certain delight the Kansas City Chiefs superstar has about doing it in a hostile environment.

“I like being the villain sometimes,” the reigning NFL and Super Bowl MVP told Nate Burleson of CBS Mornings about the joy in beating AFC West opponents in their home stadiums.

You’d be hard pressed to find any team that Mahomes hasn’t had a good time playing against. The only one might be the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Super Bowl 55 when Kansas City’s offensive line was so decimated by injuries it was virtually impossible for the offense to get anything going in a 31-9 loss.

49ers and Eagles among 11 NFL teams with closing Super Bowl windows | Sports Illustrated

Probably only Burrow and Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes can get away with saying the window is always open, but Mahomes doesn’t need the public to believe him. Mahomes has results as a two-time Super Bowl champion and two-time MVP, and more important, the Chiefs have shown they can withstand yearly roster turnover due to a tight salary cap due to Mahomes’s lucrative nonrookie contract. The Chiefs won the Super Bowl after they traded star wide receiver Tyreek Hill to the Dolphins last season.

OU softball snubbed at ESPYs: Kansas City Chiefs may have won, but were they the best team? | Yahoo Sports

A fan vote decided that the Kansas City Chiefs were the best team of the last year, snubbing an award that should have very easily gone to the record-setting Oklahoma Sooners softball team.

Led by Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce, and former Sooners Creed Humphrey and Orlando Brown Jr. (now with Cincinnati), the Chiefs were great in 2022 on their way to a Super Bowl win over Jalen Hurts, Lane Johnson and the Philadelphia Eagles.

But the fan voting aspect of the award took away a chance to recognize the greatness that was Oklahoma softball in 2023.

The Sooners lost one game in their third straight national title run. In February, they lost a one-run affair, 4-3, to the Baylor Bears. They didn’t lose another game the rest of the season. Not in Big 12 play. Not in the regionals or super regionals. Not in the Women’s College World Series.

The Sooners ended the season on a record-setting 53-game winning streak to capture their third consecutive national title. Their three-peat is only the second time the feat has been accomplished. The last time was nearly 40 years ago in the infancy of the sport at the NCAA level.

NFL’s Most Underrated Players Since 2000 | The 33rd Team

Alex Smith

Alex Smith is not only underrated because of his last name — Smith. He is underrated because when people remember and talk about Smith, they talk about his life-threatening injury to his right leg that nearly resulted in amputation. They talk about and remember his incredible rehabilitation and commitment that allowed him to play in 2020.

I know what many of you are saying now. How could a player who was drafted No. 1 overall in his draft class be underrated? Smith was the first player picked in the 2005 draft by San Francisco. This meant that the Niners selected Smith over some local guy named Aaron Rodgers. Really, it became almost a national joke that Smith was taken so far ahead of Rodgers.

People remember Smith, but almost no one talks about how damn good a quarterback he was!

Smith played under so many different head coaches and offensive coordinators in his first three years that it took him time to get his footing in the league.

And he missed his fourth season — 2008 — on injured reserve due to a broken shoulder.

Ranking 2023 NFL contenders by tiers: AFC headlined by Chiefs, Bengals, Bills entering regular season | CBS Sports

Tier 1: Bona fide Super Bowl contenders (3)

Kansas City Chiefs, Cincinnati Bengals, Buffalo Bills

The Kansas City Chiefs might deserve a tier of their own as the defending champions. After all, they do boast the best coach-quarterback duo in the league with Patrick Mahomes and Andy Reid, which should continue to have them hunting for a championship in 2023 (and are currently the betting favorite to win it all again). Losing Orlando Brown Jr. is a notable loss along the offensive line, but they have since brought in Donovan Smith and Jawaan Taylor to man the tackle positions and protect Mahomes. They are also betting that Mahomes will be able to elevate the wide receiver room that’s headlined by Kadarius Toney, Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Skyy Moore. Of course, Travis Kelce continues to be one of the greatest mismatches in the NFL today and will be the go-to outlet in the passing attack.

One thing that I like that the Chiefs have done over the last couple of years is their under-the-radar youth movement on defense, particularly off the edge. The team drafted pass rushers George Karlaftis and Felix Anudike-Uzomah in the first round in each of the previous two drafts, and it seems like it will be getting some added opportunity as the club let Frank Clark and Carlos Dunlap go this offseason.

Patrick knows the game

Around the NFL

Joe Mixon restructures deal to stay with Cincinnati Bengals | ESPN

On Friday night, the Bengals agreed to restructure Mixon’s contract to keep him for the upcoming season, his agent Peter Schaeffer told ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Mixon had a $9.4 million non-guaranteed base salary for this season and represented a $12.8 million hit against the salary cap.

The six-year veteran has spent the entirety of his NFL career with the Bengals. In 14 games last season, Mixon rushed for 814 yards and seven touchdowns. He missed two games while he recovered from a concussion. Still, Mixon’s numbers dropped from what they were during his Pro Bowl season in 2021, when he had a career-high 1,205 rushing yards.

Former Broncos GM John Elway believes Sean Payton is ‘perfect fit’ for Denver |

Speaking to Lionel Bienvenu of ABC 7 Denver from the American Century Championship golf tournament in Lake Tahoe, Nevada, Elway glowed about the Broncos’ potential under new coach Sean Payton.

“I am excited. He’s a perfect fit for where we are right now, where the Broncos are right now. Obviously, he has a lot of skins on the wall,” Elway said on Thursday. “He won a Super Bowl before and won a ton of football games. I don’t think there could have been a better fit. I think he will be great.”

Denver hasn’t been to the playoffs since Peyton Manning’s final season in 2015 when the Broncos hoisted the franchise’s third Lombardi Trophy — Elway was part of all three. Payton became the Broncos’ fourth coach in seven seasons when he was hired this offseason.

“It’s going to take some time with a new system, new coaches, even though the spring was very good,” Elway noted. “The expectations are up there. But they have calmed the expectations compared to last year, which is good. We have to do better with injuries. Hopefully we can stay healthy.”

In case you missed it on Arrowhead Pride

Kansas City Chiefs 2023 season: Best and worst-case scenarios

Best case scenario: Super Bowl LVIII Champions

Shocking, I know. The best version of the Chiefs’ 2023 season would end with them hoisting the Lombardi Trophy at midfield of Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, Nevada, next February.

It wouldn’t be capping off a perfect season, however.

Even if the Chiefs were to add to their firepower and sign free-agent wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, the AFC has too many good teams for Kansas City to roll through unscathed. Teams like the Buffalo Bills, Cincinnati Bengals, and Los Angeles Chargers all get another shot at taking down the king — as ascending contenders like the Jacksonville Jaguars, New York Jets, and Miami Dolphins will have their best for that week. A vengeful Philadelphia Eagles team also awaits from the NFC.

But we know this team doesn’t need to win every important regular-season game to prove they’ll be ready for the playoffs. Even in the losses they take, the team’s balance is what will impress. Quarterback Patrick Mahomes will once again torch NFL defenses, but he’ll be doing it using as many different pass catchers as he ever has. Tight end Travis Kelce is still capable of the 110 catches, 1,338 yards and 12 touchdowns that made him first-team All-Pro in 2022 — but in 2023, he doesn’t reach those numbers, and it’s a good thing.

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