The Kansas City Chiefs finally have a Super Bowl caliber roster

HOUSTON, TX - JANUARY 30: The Vince Lombardi Trophy is seen onstage during Super Bowl 51 Opening Night at Minute Maid Park on January 30, 2017 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - JANUARY 30: The Vince Lombardi Trophy is seen onstage during Super Bowl 51 Opening Night at Minute Maid Park on January 30, 2017 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images) /
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The Kansas City Chiefs debuted their 2019 53 man roster on Saturday and despite a couple of holes it may finally be a Super Bowl winning team.

I have been waiting for the Kansas City Chiefs to play in and win a Super Bowl for what feels like my entire life. In truth, it has only been since the late 1980’s.

I remember my first set of Chiefs football cards and how I kept Christian Okoye and Steve DeBerg‘s cards on top of the deck because they were my favorites that season. I remember getting Derrick Thomas‘ rookie card the next season and wondering if it might be worth something some day if he became a great player.

I remember using Okoye and Thomas over and over, stars who led the Chiefs to many a championship in Tecmo Bowl on my Nintendo. I had a set of cartoony-looking NFL mascot bed sheets that I slept on, and I had memorized and could point out where all the Chiefs mascots were. I’ve been dreaming of a Chiefs Super Bowl since I was a little kid sleeping on those NFL bed sheets.

It’s been over 30 years now and I’ve yet to see that dream come true. I know there are those of you  reading this that have been waiting much longer than that. Some of you were around to watch the team’s only Super Bowl win some 50 years ago. I don’t know if it makes it better that you got to watch a Super Bowl win or worse because you’ve had to suffer through so many more seasons where they didn’t win, but either way Chiefs Kingdom has been waiting for a very long time to see our team on top.

I don’t know what this season will bring. Every season I hope for the Chiefs to win the Super Bowl. I hoped that Marty Schottenheimer would win a Super Bowl with the Chiefs on the back of a fierce defense led by Derrick Thomas. I hoped that Dick Vermeil and his high-flying offense led by Trent Green, Tony Gonzalez, and Priest Holmes would bring the Chiefs a Lombardi Trophy. I hoped that Herm Edwards would add enough defense to the team he inherited from Vermeil to deliver a championship ring. I hoped that Scott Pioli would bring the winning ways of the Patriots with him to the Chiefs along with a new quarterback, Matt Cassel. I hoped that Andy Reid and Alex Smith would both find a fresh start in Kansas City and lead us to a Super Bowl.

I’ve done a lot of hoping in my 30 years as a fan of the Kansas City Chiefs—a LOT of hoping. Every season I find some bit of hope to cling onto that makes me believe that maybe, just maybe, this could be our year.

When I watched the Kansas City Royals win the World Series in 2015 I told myself “Look, it can happen! If the Royals can find a way to do it with the uneven landscape of baseball then the Chiefs will surely find a way to win some day.” My thought was that the Royals weren’t universally viewed as the most talented team in baseball. They beat the odds. They found a way to win despite that. They ran the bases well. They played great defense. They had an unbelievable bullpen. They rallied around each other.

Some year, I thought, the Chiefs will find a way to do the same. To beat the system. To shock the world. To win a Super Bowl.

You know what never even occurred to me?

That the Chiefs would have the most talented and amazing quarterback in all the NFL. That they would surround that phenomal quarterback with the greatest arsenal of offensive weapons and a good offensive line and enter a season as feared by opposing teams as any offense since the Rams Greatest Show on Turf teams that first came together 20 years ago. That the Chiefs would enter a season with a roster that fans and experts from all over the country would look at and go, “That’s the team I’m scared of this year.”

As a Chiefs fan I’m used to justifying my belief in a winning team to other fans. I’m used to their eye rolls and condescending chuckles when I say that I believe they could win it all. What I’m not used to is multiple experts picking my team to win. I’m not used to cheering for the team that people are buzzing about.

Teams cut their rosters down to 53 men on Saturday and, while the Chiefs certainly have a couple of holes, their roster is as good or better than any in the NFL. This time you don’t have to hear that from Chiefs fans. Just about anyone will tell you so.

Do I wish we had a better back up tight end? Sure, but I’ve already written about how Andy Reid doesn’t use his second tight end much and we’re so loaded everywhere else on offense that it won’t likely matter.

The more pressing issue for most Chiefs fans is “WHAT ABOUT CORNERBACK?! EVERYBODY PANIC ABOUT THE CORNERBACKS!”

Look, I’d love for them to make another addition at cornerback and I do think it’s the weakest spot on the roster but there isn’t a team in the NFL that doesn’t have a weak spot (or two, or three, or the whole damn roster if you’re the Dolphins). The point is, every team in the NFL is going to have to overcome a weakness or two. Nobody has All Pros at every position.

I believe the Chiefs will be fine with the group of Bashaud Breeland, Kendall Fuller, Charvarius Ward, Rashad Fenton, and Morris Claiborne when he returns from suspension. If they add someone else to that list after I’ve written this, that’s great. In my opinion, however, this group should be at very least as good as the group that was one offsides penalty away from going to the Super Bowl last season with the potential of being a step up from it.

What fans often forget is that the Chiefs worst coverage issues last season weren’t at cornerback. I did a piece earlier this offseason where I talked about why the Chiefs would be better in coverage in 2019. In it I gave the Pro Football Focus coverage grades for each of the three position groups in KC’s defense. Those were:

Linebackers: 55.7
Safeties: 64.2
Cornerbacks: 70.4

I also gave opposing quarterbacks QB ratings when they targeted those positions.

Linebackers: 113.8
Safeties: 107.9
Cornerbacks: 84.2

The corners may not be greatly improved this year, but I am extremely confident that the safety coverage will be thanks to the additions of Tyrann Mathieu and Juan Thornhill. The Chiefs also added a good coverage linebacker in Darron Lee to help in the linebacker department and the new scheme of defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo will hopefully simplify the linebackers responsibilities so they can play and react faster as well.

The run defense has looked MUCH better in camp and the preseason. The entire defensive front seven has looked much stronger overall. If that holds true the defense will be better on the front and back end. You combine that with what is poised to be one of the best offenses in the NFL again and its no wonder that people all over are talking about the Chiefs as a Super Bowl threat.

So don’t get too caught up in the few questions this team has. That doesn’t change the fact that the Chiefs have Patrick Lavon Mahomes II as their quarterback with one of the greatest offensive minds in the game drawing up plays for him and a collection of weapons that includes Tyreek Hill (the best deep threat in the league), Travis Kelce (the best tight end in the league), Sammy Watkins, Mecole Hardman, Demarcus Robinson, Damien Williams, Darwin Thompson, and now LeSean McCoy as well.

For the first time in my life as a Chiefs fan, I’m not hoping for the Chiefs to find a way to shock the NFL by winning a Super Bowl, because I don’t think anyone will be shocked if Andy Reid’s team takes it all. They are my pick to win it all this year and if you’re reading this on a Chiefs blog, I’m guessing they are your pick too. The difference this time around is that we aren’t the only ones. This timem we’re the juggernaut that less-talented teams have to plan for.

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The roster may not be perfect, but it is absolutely worthy of Super Bowl aspirations. This Sunday (weather permitting), the Chiefs will take the first steps to proving to the world that this time our hopes will finally be justified.