Chiefs fans should appreciate the ability to watch the best wide receiver in team history during his prime.
Over the last four games, the numbers for Tyreek Hill read like some inflated Madden stat line that’s outrageous—really, laughable. In a quarter season of work, from Week 8 to Week 12 (with the Chiefs bye thrown in that same stretch), Hill has averaged 9 catches, 145 receiving yards, and 2 touchdowns per game. Yep, averaged.
But here’s the thing: if you’ve been along for this ride from the beginning, you’ve likely been laughing the whole time. At times, you’re laughing at the absurdity that one athlete can be so much faster than everyone else when the very ability to play in the NFL means you’re an elite athlete. Other times, you’re laughing at the ability of this small, speedy threat to high point a contested catch.
Early in his Kansas City career, we laughed at the electric return ability that flummoxed every special teams coordinator in the league and brought him his first Pro Bowl nod. From there, when others doubted Hill as nothing more than a speedy offensive gadget, we laughed as the Chiefs rightly predicted (and coached up) Hill could be an elite wideout. Over time, the NFL’s fastest player also showcased elite-level ball tracking and route running.
Before we knew it, we were laughing because we knew we were watching history unfold each and every week during a Chiefs broadcast.
At this point, Tyreek Hill already owns the single-season franchise record for most receiving yards in a single season: 1,479. By season’s end, he might own the single-season receiving touchdown record as well, currently owned by Dwayne Bowe. Hill was already on pace to break it before he hauled in a career-tying best 3 scores on Sunday against the Buccaneers. With 13 touchdowns and five games remaining, it would be an upset if he didn’t at least tie Dwayne Bowe’s mark of 15 set in 2010.
Between his 10 rushes and 68 catches, Hill is averaging 13.9 yards per touch in 2020. His career average is 10.2 yards/touch. That means that every single time Tyreek Hill has touched the ball in a game for the last five years, he has averaged a first down on his own.
Read that line again.
Yes, the Chiefs have been blessed with some wonderful wide receivers over the years, players we should continue to appreciate and celebrate, but none of them can beat the overall package that Hill brings to the field. Even if Hill decided to walk away from the game of football right now, the career numbers already give him decent standing in Chiefs franchise history and the legend would take care of the rest—the jaw-dropping highlights and the stories of “I remember when…” that would be passed down from one generation of fans to the next.
Fortunately, we’re still witnessing Chiefs history unfold week after week as fans of this present era. Hill is already No. 10 on the Chiefs all-time receiving yards list (5,136) and he’s only 26 years old. Undoubtedly by season’s end, Hill will be at least No. 9 (Eddie Kennison is likely leaped in the next two games at 5,230) and Chris Burford is next at No. 8 with 5,505.
Hill will be the franchise leader in receiving yards by a wideout in just two more average seasons from him if he can stay healthy. Then again, even his average numbers are lowered by a stretch of five games in 2019 in which he was injured with a fractured clavicle. Beyond Hill, only two of the greatest tight ends remain in his sights: Tony Gonzalez and his current teammate Travis Kelce.
Not only are we watching one of the NFL’s elite receivers enjoy what could be a career season in 2020, but we’re also watching team history unfold at the same time. With every passing All-Pro campaign, Hill is stacking up a resume that will be enshrined one day in Canton in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. And we are blessed with the ability to say we were there to appreciate it as it happened.