1. Andy Reid (Chiefs)
Season: 11th with KC, 24th as HC
Career record: 247-138-1 | Playoffs: 22-16 (2-2 in Super Bowls)
The gold standard. Whereas Belichick may own this spot on the all-time leaderboard, Reid is far and away the best at what he does in 2023. He’s not perfect (insert tired joke about clock management). But he and Patrick Mahomes are the modern-day equivalent of what Belichick and Brady were for the Patriots, except with much more explosive creativity. Like his naturally gifted QB, his biggest threat these days is probably boredom. His Chiefs have won at least 11 games in eight of his 10 seasons since he left the Eagles, and somehow the playoff record is even better: five straight AFC title-game appearances, with two Super Bowl trophies in the last four years. Anyone taking Reid or his guys lightly at any point in the season is doomed to suffer the consequences.
2. Richie James, Kansas City Chiefs
Fantasy Ranking: No. 100
The Kansas City Chiefs proved last year that they didn’t need an elite wideout to win the Super Bowl. They replaced Tyreek Hill in the 2022 offseason with JuJu Smith-Schuster, but Smith-Schuster’s production (78 catches, 933 yards, 3 TDs) paled in comparison to Hill’s.
Kansas City could be at it again after losing Smith-Schuster in free agency and signing Richie James away from the New York Giants. James could end up being one of the offseason most underrated signings.
While James hasn’t generated a ton of buzz since being a 2018 seventh-round draft pick, he’s a player whom the Chiefs were high on when he came out of college.
“(He’s) a versatile player, you can move him around a lot, (he’s) a Middle Tennessee State guy that we liked,” Chiefs general manager Brett Veach said, per Charles Goldman of Chiefs Wire.
James’ production in 2022 was quietly strong. He had 57 catches for 569 yards and four touchdowns in a Giants offense that ranked 25th in pass attempts. He was a top-50 player in yards per target (8.1) and he provided a tremendous 119.6 passer rating when targeted.
In a Kansas City offense that ranked fifth in pass attempts last season, and with Patrick Mahomes on the other end of his passes, James has legitimate 1,000-yard potential. He’s vastly underrated in fantasy and is being woefully overlooked heading into training camp.
Here is a list of repeat Super Bowl champions to date:
1966-67 Green Bay Packers
1972-73 Miami Dolphins
1974-75 Pittsburgh Steelers
1978-79 Pittsburgh Steelers
1988-89 San Francisco 49ers
1992-93 Dallas Cowboys
1997-98 Denver Broncos
2003-04 New England Patriots
While none of these teams should surprise you, the fact we haven’t had a repeat Super Bowl champion in almost two decades should. This has everything to do with competitive balance.
Let’s discuss the possibility and challenges that are ahead of the Chiefs this upcoming season.
Kansas City Chiefs are the latest team trying to end Super Bowl repeat drought
Frankly, if any organization is equipped to pull this off, it is Kansas City. The Andy Reid/Patrick Mahomes era of Chiefs football has been synonymous with AFC Championship games played at Arrowhead. Being consistently a top-four team in football is a great way to increase a franchise’s odds of pulling this off. Still, the Tom Brady/Bill Belichick Patriots only accomplished this once.
Rams Land Chiefs DT Chris Jones in Hypothetical NFL Redraft (fannation/ramsdigest)
“What if the NFL decided to do a league-wide reset, voiding existing contracts and holding a re-draft? Obviously, such a logistical nightmare would never happen in real life, but it’s still fun to think about. Hypothetical questions are running rampant with the offseason at a standstill, and as such, Touchdown Wire decided to take a stab at such a scenario.
The order for this redraft was entirely random, and the Los Angeles Rams received the No. 19 pick. They then use that pick to select a star defensive tackle, but not franchise icon Aaron Donald. Instead, the Rams take Kansas City Chiefs star Chris Jones in this hypothetical scenario.
“The Rams miss out on returning Aaron Donald to the fold but do land the next best thing with the selection of Chris Jones who has played close to the same level in the past few seasons,” Touchdown Wire writes.
Jones and Donald are arguably the two best defensive tackles in the game today. Donald is easily the more-accomplished player, being among the best defensive players in NFL history, but Jones is over three years younger. Additionally, Jones is coming off a career season in which he posted 44 tackles and 15.5 sacks, finishing third in Defensive Player of the Year voting.
As for Donald, he went one pick earlier to the Green Bay Packers at No. 18, preventing a “reunion” with the franchise he has spent his entire career with. Donald is also the only current Ram to appear in this re-draft, with not even star receiver Cooper Kupp making the top 32 picks.”
Around the NFL
Calvin Ridley has only been practicing with his new Jaguars teammates for a few weeks, but already they’re seeing the skills that made the wide receiver such an anticipated addition to the roster.
“Just the way he moves, you can see. His route running, he can run, catch anything you throw to him, he’s just different, man,” wide receiver Jamal Agnew told talkSPORT this week. “You just watch him out there, he’s a mismatch nightmare. In my opinion I don’t think anybody can guard him in the league.”
In case you missed it on Arrowhead Pride
This is another good bullet point along Reid’s timeline. With star quarterback Donovan McNabb sidelined with a torn ACL, Reid handed the reins of the offense over to three-time Pro Bowler Jeff Garcia.
Garcia was a natural fit for the Eagles, having spent four years playing for the San Francisco 49ers under head coach Steve Mariucci, who (like Reid) had been a Green Bay Packers assistant coach under Mike Holmgren.
In this game, the Eagles came out fast, running the majority of their first-half offense out of the shotgun. At halftime, they held a narrow 14-13 lead. Then Reid inexplicably abandoned what had been working in the first half, having Garcia almost exclusively run plays under center for the rest of the game.
The Saints rattled off 14 third-quarter points on the way to a close 27-24 win.
A tweet to make you think
3rd down conversion % on 3rd & over 5— Warren Sharp (@SharpFootball) July 2, 2023
44% - Patrick Mahomes
43% - Dak Prescott
40% - Tua Tagovailoa
38% - Jimmy Garoppolo
37% - Trevor Lawrence
35% - Jared Goff
34% - Joe Burrow
31% - Josh Allen, Jalen Hurts, Derek Carr
30% - Kenny Pickett
29% - Kirk…