In this inaugural edition of Chiefs Chatter, KT discusses negative side effects of our Super Bowl win and provides a breadth of other analysis.
In February, the Kansas City Chiefs earned the franchise’s first championship in 50 years by defeating the San Francisco 49ers 31-20 in Super Bowl LIV. In the days that followed, Chiefs Kingdom was abuzz with happiness, overjoyed that our team had finally captured the sports most coveted prize: the Lombardi Trophy.
Three months later, it seems that the luster has started to wear off of our shiny new piece of hardware, and Chiefs Kingdom has been reinvigorated with a vocal minority which seems intent on trouncing all over names of the past (and some present) in Chiefs lore. This is merely based on the fact that the 2019 team won the Super Bowl, while nearly all past iterations of the Kansas City football club failed to do so. More simply stated, it seems like many Chiefs fans have turned their backs on the players of yesteryear, deciding that if they were not good enough to win the Super Bowl, then they are not good enough to be remembered as Chiefs’ legends.
Folks, we have to stop this madness.
In the past month we have read visceral hate lobbed via social media at Chiefs all-time greats including: Albert Lewis, Derrick Thomas, Will Shields, Tony Gonzalez, Priest Holmes, Trent Green, Dwayne Bowe, Jamaal Charles, Derrick Johnson, Tamba Hali and Alex Smith, just to name a few of the biggest targets.
Sure, it is objectively true that no Chiefs player from 1970-2018 was “good enough” to lead the team to a Super Bowl title. But does that mean that these players are not legends in the history of the franchise? Absolutely not. The vast majority of players in NFL history never won a Super Bowl, but some are still legendary players.
Nonetheless, the arrogance emitting from pockets of Chiefs Kingdom after securing the championship has produced a toxic, flippant disregard for players of the past and what they did and were able to accomplish for Kansas City. Apparently, some former players feel similarly:
We can acknowledge that the 2019 Chiefs provided the best version of this team, the roster who had the best season in franchise history, without completely running roughshod over historically great Chiefs in the process. Was it disappointing that these all-time greats never led us to a Super Bowl? Of course it was, but that is very different from calling anyone a disappointment.
Stop the madness, Chiefs Kingdom. We should absolutely praise the 2019 team for what it accomplished, how those players helped to wash away feelings of despair which seeped through the kingdom for so long. That is, however, different than erasing Chiefs history because we’ve finally reached the pinnacle.
Choose love, not hate, Chiefs fans—in football, and in life.
Each week, we’ll answer a question or two from readers about our team. These can be about any topic related to the Chiefs, and should be sent via Direct Message (@kthomps58) on Twitter for consideration.
This week’s question comes from Justin Smith of Lenexa, Kansas:
“At least some games this year will likely be played without fans. Have we overestimated the home field experience at Arrowhead, or will this likely be a big disadvantage to the Chiefs compared to division rivals?”
Great question Justin, thank you. I think that the answer is that yes, we’ve overestimated the Chiefs home field advantage, which is not to say that it is not valuable. Of course crowd noise is valuable for the home team when it provides energy to make a big play or distracts the other team from being able to make a play call. Players feed off of that energy and it can fuel them through a tough game.
With this Chiefs team, however, it may not matter much. The Chiefs were 5-3 at home in 2019 while boasting a 7-1 road record. While some of that is the result of where the schedule fell relative to injuries and opponents, it should also compel us to believe is that this team is simply built different. It is unlikely that crowd energy is going to tip the scales significantly one way or the other. What we’ve learned about the Patrick Mahomes-led Chiefs is that it takes Herculean efforts and/or random luck for teams to beat the Super Bowl MVP.
Will it be uncomfortable and different to (possibly) watch home games in front of empty (now red) seats at Arrowhead? Yes, absolutely. But every player in the league will be adjusting to the same reality, and I do not believe that any team will be substantially advantaged or disadvantaged by that theoretical reality.
Except, of course, perhaps the Los Angeles Chargers, who have loads of experience playing in front of no fans and are subsequently at a distinct advantage.
Each week’s column will feature a trivia question related to the Kansas City Chiefs. Challenge yourself by coming up with the correct response without looking it up! Enter for a chance to win a Chiefs prize by following me on Twitter (@kthomps58), liking and retweeting the column, and commenting with the correct response by Saturday. The winner will be chosen at random from correct responses and notified via DM. (Only comments made on my Twitter thread of this article are eligible for the drawing. Winners must be following and must like and retweet the column.)
This week’s question trivia is:
While he never played as a “Chief”, who was the first quarterback in the team’s history when the franchise began AFL play in 1960 as the Dallas Texans?
A roster battle we have not spoken about much this offseason is the center position. This is an interesting position to monitor as the team gets back into the facility and begins its offseason practices.
The Chiefs have incumbent starter Austin Reiter on the roster, who secured the starting job early last year and played decently enough much of last season. The Chiefs also drafted Nick Allegretti in the 7th round of the 2019 draft, and thought enough of the former Illinois standout that they activated the rookie for seven games last year. Allegretti played both guard and center in college, but according to general manager Brett Veach shortly after the 2019 draft, “His center tape was really what kind of caught our eye.”
In addition to Reiter and Allegretti, Kansas City signed Mississippi State center Darryl Williams as an undrafted free agent this year. Williams has obtained much fanfare as a UDFA, and the Chiefs gave him big money ($107,000) to sign with the team.
The other element of this roster spot that is important to consider is that the Chiefs can save $3.4 million against the salary cap in 2020 by moving on from Reiter. The team may believe that the incumbent is the best of the three players vying for the position, but as a cash-strapped team that prefers to enter the season with some cap flexibility, Kansas City could make the difficult decision to move on from South Florida product.
AFC West Tidbits
In the AFC West we have recently learned that Denver Broncos All-Pro pass rusher Von Miller has already resigned himself to the fact that Patrick Mahomes is unstoppable, deferring all future wins and losses to the offensive side of the football for the Broncos. He is, of course, correct in his conclusion. However, it is still a baffling admission by a vaunted rival and fellow All-Pro caliber player.
We also learned that it will never matter what sort of offseason the Los Angeles Chargers have, or who may be starting at quarterback, someone in the mainstream media will attempt to turn them in to preseason darlings and anoint them as AFC West favorites. The 2020 offseason is no different. Despite being unclear who the starting quarterback will be, they’ve already been labeled the most-likely worst-to-first candidates for the upcoming season.
NFL Story of the Week
The Kansas City Chiefs got the ball rolling in terms of off-the-field, offseason interactions with law enforcement when starting cornerback Bashuad Breeland was arrested in April. However, looking back it could end up being one of the milder legal cases NFL players face this offseason. Recently, two NFL players were charged with and eventually arrested for armed robbery; and over the weekend Buffalo Bills defensive tackle Ed Oliver was arrested for driving under the influence and illegal possession of a firearm.
The old adage says that idle hands are the devil’s workshop, and perhaps the offseason has just been a little too long and unstructured for some NFL players. It is noteworthy that these arrests happened away from the city where these players play, at a time when they normally would have already returned back for work.
It is also important to note that this is a very small fraction of NFL players. The vast majority of NFL players continue to be model citizens who do good in their communities, so it would be foolish and inaccurate to label all of them criminals or bad role models.
Chiefs Fact of the Week
“The great benefit I think of sport being what it is, it’s able to then shift the narrative for the greater public have transparency of seeing how change can occur.” Lanier credits Lamar Hunt for the opportunity to pave the way for future players stating, “The great thing about that, as we are standing here in (the Chiefs’ practice) facility, I can look and see Lamar Hunt, the founder of this league, the founder of this team. Because he is who he is and they are who they were, is why I’m standing here.”
Chiefs Record of the Week
Since stats became an official, tracked record in 1980, Derrick Thomas has the most career sacks in Chiefs history with 126.5. He holds the record over the next closer Chief (Tamba Hali) by 37 sacks despite his career being shortened by his tragic death.
Random Fact of the Week
You can major in winemaking ( “Viticulture and Enology”) at Cornell University.
Sports Quote of the Week
“Never say never because limits, like fears, are often just an illusion.” – Michael Jordan
Oddball Sport of the Week
There used to be a sport called ‘Auto Polo’ and as the name suggests, it involved playing the game of polo, whilst driving/riding in an automobile. The sport was incredibly dangerous and subsequently banned, but here is an interesting short video about it: