Let’s discuss Tyrann Mathieu’s chances at making the Chiefs Ring of Honor.
After just one season in Kansas City, it sounds silly to think Kansas City Chiefs safety Tyrann Mathieu has a shot at making the team’s Ring of Honor. Obviously it will be an uphill climb since he came to Kansas City so late in his career, but does he have a realistic shot? The possibility is there.
For starters, Tyrann Mathieu was a major catalyst for the complete 180 of the Chiefs defense. Yes, former defensive coordinator Bob Sutton leaving—addition by subtraction—helps and his replacement, Steve Spagnuolo, did a great job, but you could easily point to one player both pre-snap, during the play, and even off the field that seemingly embodied the change.
With Eric Berry and Justin Houston leaving, there was a massive void not just on the field but in the locker room in terms of leadership. The defense lost the identity that it had for a long time when Berry, Houston, Tamba Hali, and Derrick Johnson were running the show. When the Chiefs lost in the AFC Championship game without being able to stop Tom Brady from doing anything he wanted, something needed to happen. The Chiefs defense had hit the wall. A new identity and complete overhaul were in store, and it started with two players being brought in: Frank Clark and the Honey Badger.
While Clark deserves credit in his own right, especially for playing through some brutal injuries, Mathieu deserves our focus here, too. He was a vocal leader and someone who realized that he could start fresh and be a captain here. The Landlord was the answer to many lingering questions, and he became the guy that everyone looked to. From the turnaround of the secondary to the playmaking and versatility that we hadn’t seen since prime Eric Berry, he was the answer. Here was a man who wanted to be a part of the Kansas City fabric and who wasn’t scared to talk back to opponents or detractors. He completely bought in and, in turn, the defense did as well. Spags trusted him with being a secondary coordinator of sorts and this allowed him to really step into the leadership role.
Back to the question at hand: can Tyrann Mathieu make the Chiefs Ring of Honor some day? We all know one season of being “the guy” isn’t good enough. It comes down to not only the impact which I expect he will have for the next two seasons under contract, but he would need to decide he wants to build upon his legacy in Kansas City. If he signs another similar contract and sticks around until his career is over, say 5 more seasons total until he is 33, would he be able to put up enough stats to make it?
He currently has a 1st team All-Pro and a Super Bowl under his belt, which is a great start. If he got two more 1st team All-Pro honors and, being conservative in my estimation, one more Super Bowl, I believe that would be enough to get him up there. While I want the Ring of Honor to be a very exclusive list, would that not be enough to get Mathieu there? The leader on the defense for multiple Super Bowls coupled with some All-Pro nods would do it. While only six years in Kansas City during this hypothetical stay might not seem like enough time, Kansas City rewards high peaks over longevity at times when it comes to its Hall.
For me, if this hypothetical becomes real, it comes down to pointing to one player on defense who was the leader of such a successful period in franchise history. That player would seemingly be a shoe-in for the Ring of Honor and I believe that player would likely be the Honey Badger. We all assume guys like Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce will be up there one day, as well as in Canton, but this defense needs some love, too.
What do you think? Would three All-Pro mentions and a couple Super Bowls be enough to get in for Mathieu? I know that this seems like a long way off, but predicting this far out and (hopefully) being right makes it even sweeter.