An Ode To The Legion of Zoom:
WHEN A POWERFUL FORCE OF NATURE (Legion) IS AMPLIFIED BY MAGICAL SORCERY (Mahomes) =
What was captured perfectly on the Arrowhead Jumbotron during the 2019/2020 Divisional Game vs. the Texans that summed up that time: DUE TO YOUR SUPPORT AND THE CHIEFS CONTINUALLY FINDING THE ENDZONE, WE HAVE RUN OUT OF TOUCHDOWN FIREWORKS AKA "WE'RE GOING TO NEED MORE FIREWORKS."
How time flies. Looking at the pedestrian play AT BEST of the Chiefs current underachieving WR Corps, makes me pine for the Legion of Zoom. Their 4.3 yard 40 average speed across all 4 slots paired with the all-conquering Mahomes. It wasn't that long ago when Tyreek Hill in a Chiefs uniform could not only vertically embarrass DBs over the top, but also had such violent torque when route cutting and turning, you'd think it was a Formula 1 car with impressive downforce hitting a corner. The absolute visceral and violent rawness of his speed not just vertically (most track guys in the NFL have vertical top speed only) but the absolute downforce with maintaining his raw speed when torquing his body in change of directions absolute shocked defenses into fear. Adding to that when available, the beautiful and absolutely crisp and precise route-running abilities of Sammy Watkins. Not counting durability and work ethic, this side of Jerry Rice... Sammy Watkins ability to absolutely perfect a route on all the route tree options was a thing of beauty, something Jerry Rice and Larry Fitzgerald had only done with absolute expertise. The understanding of space, coverage and timing and when to break absolutely precisely by Sammy was beautiful, an above average career that was cut short on its potential due to injury and perhaps work ethic, but when he was on... he was on.
If Tyreek brought violent and raw speed on all three axes... vertically, diagonally and horizontally; Watkins when available added elegance despite his 4.3 speed, his technique was so precise and exact that it almost looked effortless like he wasn't playing fast at all. The move he put on HoF CB Richard Sherman in the Super Bowl, no superfluous extra shake movements, he knew when to feint a move, cut precisely and time his route with a beautiful fade ball from Mahomes..... elegance par excellence. With that, the vertical leaping ability and length of Demarcus Robinson who had two absolutely mind blowing games against the Ravens and Raiders in 2019 and rounding it off with the vertical speed and shiftiness of Mecole Hardman; with both receivers being high quality interchangeable 3rd and 4th options at WR. With so much speed at WR and the fast blitzkrieg nature of those legendary offenses, let Travis Kelce the king of destroying individual coverage with raw size and strength and the king of eating zone defenses alive, knowing the exact space to be in every.... single... time, when bracketed in double zone cover.
That being said, yes we did win a Super Bowl with the Legion of Zoom and won a Super Bowl without them still being first offensively last season. However, looking at the early production of this year's WR Corps should make us appreciate the absolute fire, visceral and high-octane force of nature those early Mahomes-Legion of Zoom campaigns of scorched earth were and how many pundits even declared at one point, that due to the Imperious Mahomes and his Praetorian Shock Troops at WR... that defense was dead in the NFL.Yes we will be fine this season all things given, and yes Mahomes is more tempered and conservative as he should be at the position as one would expect of a mature and elite QB.
But there was nothing quite like the absolute fire, magic and full spectrum offensive domination through sheer aggression of play calling, brutal speed and gravity defying throws like those early 2018-2021 campaigns were. An incomparable excitement of seeing the aggression of youth and rare talent overcome learning curves in those early Mahomes years reminiscent of young Mike Tyson from 84-90, the excitement of raw courage + confident youth who is also an absolute rare generational talent, a talent so rare, where it destroys the rules and orthodoxy that a sport thought it once knew, that such talents can only be deemed ordained by the gods. A combination of traits where one can scoff and laugh at time honored rules and old mentalities of defense wins championships, checkdowns and "proper mechanics." Not only a welcome relief to the absolutely uninspiring, snail's pace and boring style (albeit efficient) of Alex Smith; but thunder shocking the NFL into submission with the arrival of new conquerors hailing from the MidWest replacing the old regime from the Northeast with an entirely different ethos and style of winning.
The passionate explosive nail bitting high octane offensive play that revolutionized the NFL and broke every rule the NFL thought it knew...Those feelings are quite similar to the first moments of desire and being desired when one reaches the apex of young adulthood physically and aesthetically, like the feeling of being in an expensive leather motorcycle jacket, cologne ladened with a beautiful manual shift V8 car with an absolute beautiful girl who could be a model risking everything for the moment in the night. And while that man ages and becomes more successful, those moments of smelling the fresh leather off your jacket and new car seats, her perfume, both being mesmerized by the neon lights streaking through Autumn night sky, pheromones ablaze along with the whisky coming off her fire red lipstick knowing she actually desires you in amazement; those moments can never really be duplicated. The feelings, newness, the absolute joy of risk in youth with no thought or idea of what caution is... that was that Era in Chiefs Kingdom
So here's to you Old Legion: storming the plains and gates of the Old NFL burning it to the ground and leaving caution in the wind will never be quite as fun and majestic as it was with you.