Despite what the analytics may say, several Chiefs players are incredibly clutch.
Recently, Pro Football Focus released its version of the 2019 All-Clutch team. However, due to an incredibly narrow focus, the roster ended up failing to have a single player from the Kansas City Chiefs on it.
Instead of defining “clutch” by only what happens late and in close ball games—”selecting the players who graded the best in the fourth quarter and overtime of one-score games (within eight points)”—we need a better definition for “clutch”. A player should be judged by what happens in the biggest moments of a given contest and/or the contests for which the stakes are the highest. Essentially, the question is: who shines brightest under the lights and when trophies are on the line?
In that light, the Chiefs should be all over any list defining the most clutch players in the NFL.
Of course, that should start at the top with quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who had one of the most incredible playoff runs in league history after leading Kansas City to three straight double-digit comebacks to capture the franchise’s first Super Bowl title in 50 years. From the run against the Tennessee Titans at the end of the first half, one of the greatest in NFL history, to WASP in the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl, Mahomes proved himself a clutch performer time and time again.
Tyreek Hill ran a perfect route on WASP as part of his nine reception, 105-yard Super Bowl performance. It is difficult to be more clutch than the performance that “Cheetah” had in Super Bowl LIV.
Travis Kelce scored the Chiefs first fourth quarter touchdown in Super Bowl LIV with 6:13 left in the game, down by 10, to spark a 21-point explosion and capture the Lombardi trophy. That feels pretty clutch. When considering his full body of work in the playoffs, he seems worthy of a mention in any clutch ranking.
Chris Jones‘ second halves in the AFC Championship and Super Bowl were among the greatest halves of football ever by an interior lineman. Despite being severely undervalued in the post-Super Bowl narrative, they were among the most clutch performances of all of the Chiefs players. This despite missing multiple weeks before that with an injury that was still hampering him against the Titans.
Frank Clark functionally ended all three postseason contests with late fourth quarter sacks for Kansas City—saving his biggest plays for the biggest moments of the biggest games.
We could talk about more players, too: Damien Williams easily could have won the Super Bowl MVP award after scoring two fourth quarter touchdowns in the LIV victory; Tyrann Mathieu was dominant throughout the season, making the NFL’s All-Pro roster at two positions; Daniel Sorensen was a machine in the playoffs for the Chiefs; and Kendall Fuller functionally ended the Super Bowl with his fourth quarter interception of San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.
It is never surprising when the Chiefs are undervalued by the analytics in the national narrative. But even in that light, the omission of every single player from the Super Bowl Champions severely limits the utility of such a list.
In our world, the Chiefs are the definition of “clutch” and should be recognized as such, regardless of what the analytics say.