KC Chiefs’ determination should not be questioned after Super Bowl loss
By Matt Conner
It was a fair question to ask two years ago at this time.
When the K.C. Chiefs were coming off of a heartbreaking loss to the ever-present New England Patriots in a closer-than-ever AFC Championship game, it was entirely fair to wonder about the state of the Chiefs going forward. After all, the Chiefs were led by a first-year starting quarterback and playing for a head coach who had never won the “big game.” Beyond any individual elements in play, the entire franchise history was also littered with postseason frustrations. It made sense to push back against any potential newfound success.
Now, however, it’s not fair to question the Chiefs. After the loss to the Pats in that pivotal AFC Championship, the Chiefs have rattled off consecutive Super Bowl appearances and their first championship win in a half-century. Andy Reid turned the corner and is now a lock for the Pro Football Hall of Fame as one of the single greatest head coaches in league history. Patrick Mahomes cemented himself as not only a franchise face but he’s a household name but the NFL’s best young player. Kansas City has become one of the most desirable places for any player to play, and they’re likely to be Super Bowl favorites for the next couple seasons, if not more.
Looking back, we all learned what the Chiefs were made of over the last two seasons by seeing how they responded to the mental concerns of getting over the playoff hump. We’ve also watched them reel off one close win after another, absorbing the absolute best punches of each and every team trying to knock them off their perch. In addition, the Chiefs weathered significant injuries—including occasional short-term injuries to Mahomes himself—and come out the other side victorious, save for a second consecutive Super Bowl.
No one should question the KC Chiefs’ makeup after a Super Bowl loss.
Perhaps that’s why it’s a bit odd to see CBS Sports’ Tyler Sullivan ask the question of how the Chiefs will respond to a Super Bowl loss. He writes:
"Kansas City doesn’t feel like one of these teams we’ve seen in recent years that takes a dip following a Super Bowl loss, but I also don’t think it should totally be ignored either."
To Sullivan’s credit, he does admit the Chiefs are in better position than other teams who have fallen off the championship route after making it to the big game. However, these Chiefs have been there twice in a row and were a penalty away from a third. They’ve clinched their division five straight seasons and might have their most complete roster yet in 2021. The coaching staff has experienced zero turnover despite their tremendous success, and the front office can say the same.
There are questions to be asked of the Chiefs, because you can ask them of any team. How will the offensive line come together in ’21? Who will step up in Sammy Watkins‘ absence? Is a young secondary good enough to make the leap and carry a team for 20 games? And what about a pass rush that lacks an obvious cornerstone opposite Frank Clark?
As for the Chiefs’ mental makeup, as if they are a rookie team unfamiliar with the work required to make another deep postseason run after a similarly grueling season, that question has been answered and then some. The Chiefs might be young in several places. NFL history might also say it’s difficult to do. But these Chiefs have proven that they are creating history as this roster continues to play together—not succumbing to it.