The docuseries “The Last Dance” premieres on Sunday, and I thought it might be fun to compare the 1990s Chicago Bulls to the 2020s Kansas City Chiefs.
I was a huge fan of Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls growing up. I was born in 1989, just before the rise of their dynasty and couldn’t get enough of the hype as a young kid. I’ve even memorized the entire opening scene of the documentary Air Time, and repeat it from time to time to the chagrin of my wife.
You may be asking yourself, what in the world does any of this have to do with the Kansas City Chiefs? This is, after all, a website covering the red and gold champions of Super Bowl LIV. The docuseries “The Last Dance” is premiering on Sunday, April 19th and it occurred to me that our very own Kansas City Chiefs resemble the 1990s Chicago Bulls in a number of ways.
In an offseason uncharacteristically devoid of sports, I thought it might be fun to compare the two squads. Especially, for those like me who are diehard Kansas City Chiefs fans and grew up idolizing “His Airness.” This is all in good fun and I made some stretches here and there, so don’t take it too seriously, but I hope by the end you’re even more excited for the coming decade of Kansas City Chiefs football.
From the bottom to the top
The Chicago Bulls are one of the most recognizable sports brands in the entire world. They’re recognized everywhere for a few reasons, but in the end the only reason that matters is winning. They were an incredibly dominant team, reigning over a professional sports league for the better part of a decade. To longtime fans of the Bulls franchise however, that wasn’t always the case.
The Bulls were an expansion team that entered the league in 1966. Between that time and the 1984 NBA Draft, in which they selected Michael Jordan number three overall, they were a fairly mediocre franchise averaging 39 wins to 43 losses. That’s a winning percentage of only 48 percent. They had a strong stretch in the middle of the 1970s, but were mostly an afterthought on the national stage. Seven seasons after drafting Michael Jordan they were world champions.
Does this sound familiar? This is incredibly similar to the stretch the Chiefs had between the Marty Schottenheimer and Andy Reid regimes. Schottenheimer’s tenure with the Chiefs ended after the 1998 season, Andy Reid‘s tenure began in 2013, and in those 14 seasons the Chiefs averaged seven wins and nine losses. That’s a winning percentage of only 44 percent. They had a strong stretch in the Vermeil tenure, but similarly to the Bulls they failed to make a top-flight brand of themselves.
Andy Reid brought a winning formula to the Kansas City Chiefs franchise. He not only made them a respectable franchise, he made them one of the most prominent teams in all of sports. Coincidentally, seven years into his tenure the Chiefs are world champions. Similarly to the Bulls, there’s no reason this shouldn’t continue because of the Bulls-like cast he and Brett Veach have assembled.