Several Kansas City Chiefs players could cross some major milestones this upcoming season.
In the consummate team sport of football, it is still fun to take a look at individual statistics. The Kansas City Chiefs are one of the most exciting teams in all of professional sports today, and it is verifiably true that we are in the midst of an era that Chiefs fans will gaze back upon fondly for decades.
Let’s look at some milestones that we might see happen in 2021.
The Chiefs’ beloved head coach enters his 23rd season leading an NFL team. The Chiefs have never been to the playoffs in 7 consecutive seasons, but that could happen in 2021, assuming K.C. doesn’t completely collapse. Marty Schottenheimer brought the Chiefs to the postseason in 6 consecutive years, from 1990-1995.
Reid currently ranks third in franchise history with 91 victories. He is behind only Hank Stram (124) and Schottenheimer (101). With 11 wins in 2021, Reid will pass Schottenheimer to become the Chiefs’ second all-time winningest head coach, and place him within striking distance of Stram in 2023.
Mahomes is currently on pace to pass Green in 2022, and Dawson in early 2024. It’s within reason that he could eclipse 30,000 yards and become the Chiefs’ all-time passing leader before his 30th birthday.
Kelce enters the 2021 season with 7,881 receiving yards. With exactly 100 yards, Kelce will pass two Hall of Fame tight ends: Jackie Smith and Ozzie Newsome. That will place him 8th all-time among tight ends. With what we have come to know as an “average” season from the annual All-Pro, Kelce can also pass Jimmy Graham, Rob Gronkowski, and Greg Olsen in 2021. When that happens, Kelce will be fifth all-time, behind only Tony Gonzalez, Jason Witten, Antonio Gates, and Shannon Sharpe.
Among leaders in team annals, Kelce already ranks second all-time (among all skill position players) behind Gonzalez in receptions and yardage. He can also move from 5th (currently at 48 receiving scores) to 2nd all time in receiving touchdowns in 2021 if he hits paydirt 10 times. This would move him past Stephone Paige, Chris Burford, and Otis Taylor in Chiefs’ history books.
Hill is just one receiving touchdown behind Kelce with 47, so that will be a fun statistic to track as the two players continue their careers in Kansas City.
With 1,155 yards receiving, Hill will eclipse several Chiefs receivers on the all-time team list: Burford, Paige, Carlos Carson, and Henry Marshall. That will place Hill at fifth on the team list, and third among wide receivers behind only Taylor and Dwayne Bowe.
Hill is on pace to shatter every team receiving record. The five-year pro has the most receptions (368) and receiving yards (5,391) among any player with fewer than 100 games played. Hill has 74 games under his belt. The question is how long Hill can remain among the NFL’s fastest, most elusive and explosive offensive weapons. History tells us that you can only be the NFL’s fastest man for about five years. Hill still holds the crown, but for how much longer?
More on Kelce and Hill
The two pass catchers can become the 6th and 7th players in team history to be named first-team All Pro in four seasons. Only Bobby Bell (6), Jim Tyrer (6), Johnny Robinson (6), Tony Gonzalez (5), and Buck Buchanan (4) have been named first-team All Pro more than Kelce and Hill.
Specifically looking at scoring, the tandem each eclipsed Chiefs such as Marcus Allen, Bowe, and Paige in 2020. This season they stand within striking distance of all-time legends Abner Haynes, Jamaal Charles, Larry Johnson and Otis Taylor.
With ten touchdowns, Kelce (currently at 308 points) will move into 10th all-time on the franchise points scored list, with 368 points. Hill needs only score eight touchdowns in order to surpass Cairo Santos as the team’s 8th all-time leading scorer. That would also make him third all-time in Chiefs’ touchdowns scored (with 66), behind only Priest Holmes (83) and Tony Gonzalez (76). And he would still be just 27 years old.
This is all to summarize the greatness we are witnessing with these players. The dominance and consistency we see from Kelce and Hill should never be taken for granted. They are one of the most explosive and unstoppable tandems in NFL history, and each is right in his prime.
Butker will begin the season as the franchise’s third all-time leading scorer, and he will end it that way. But, sometime around Week 8, the Chiefs esteemed kicker will make it to the halfway mark of reaching Jan Stenerud‘s second-ranked 1,231 points.
If he continues on his career trajectory, Butker will break Nick Lowery‘s all-time franchise scoring record in January of 2027, at just 31 years old.
One more fascinating bit about Butker:
The Chiefs’ second-year running back averaged a respectable 4.4 yards per carry in his rookie season, totaling 803 yards rushing in 13 games played. As Edwards-Helaire comes into 2021 as the team’s uncontested starter, he is within striking distance of a reputable achievement.
Kareem Hunt racked up 2,151 yards in his two seasons in Kansas City, and though his second season (and Chiefs career) ended abruptly after Week 12, he still leads the franchise with the best two-year total to begin his career. Edwards-Helaire can eclipse that mark if he can rush for 1,349 yards in 2021, a mark that is certainly achievable given the fact that the team will play 17 games in the regular season moving ahead. Eighty yards per game would put the LSU product over the top.
It’s a tall task for Edwards-Helaire, who will never be more than the team’s third option on offense as long as Kelce and Hill are around. But the Chiefs’ offensive line acquisitions (in particular the move to get offensive tackle Orlando Brown, Jr.) tend to indicate that the team’s direction on offense could be headed toward more power rushing tendencies. Given the opportunity, Edwards-Helaire could break out in 2021. Along the way, watch for him to become the most prolific second-year back in team history.
The Chiefs’ 2nd round pick in 2016 has become a bona fide superstar, particularly against the pass. Jones has racked up 40.5 sacks in his five-year career, which is good for eighth all-time in franchise history.
With 4.5 sacks in 2021, Jones will move up to fifth on that list, eclipsing Art Still, Jared Allen and Eric Hicks. At that point, the only players remaining for him to pursue in the team record books would be Derrick Thomas (126.5), Tamba Hali (89.5), Neil Smith (85.5), and Justin Houston (78.5). With a lot of gas left in the tank, Jones is well on track to go down as the greatest interior defensive lineman in Chiefs lore.
Patrick Mahomes set a lofty goal this week when he said he wants to lead the first team to ever go 20-0. That’s never been a goal a team could achieve before this season, but with 17 regular season games, it is now a possibility. We don’t think there’s anything else an NFL quarterback could say about it, especially one who leads a perennial contender. But it goes without saying that it would be an astonishing achievement in today’s NFL.
We’ll say this: if there’s a team capable of doing it in 2021, it would have to be Kansas City.