Tyreek Hill needed one more year to cement Chiefs legacy

What’s done is done at this point, right? We get it. Tyreek Hill is a member of the Miami Dolphins. The Kansas City Chiefs are continuing on without him. For some fans, the moment a player is no longer on the active roster is the moment that they lose interest.

That’s not the case here.

The reason we’re bringing up Hill once again here—and claiming that it’s too bad he didn’t have one more season in him in red and gold—is because those 12 months would have cemented his legacy with the franchise, even though he’s already known as a household name in the NFL for his elite talents and top speed.

It’s too bad that Tyreek Hill didn’t last one more year with the Kansas City Chiefs because that would have truly cemented his legacy.

The single most incredible thing about watching the Chiefs play week after week and year after year in this golden age of Chiefs football was the privilege of watching this offense go to work under Andy Reid’s leadership.

Each of us, if we’re fortunate, will be sharing stories with our grandkids about the stretch of time in which we were blessed to watch Patrick Mahomes throw the football. We’ll forever clink glasses in a toast to the sustained greatness of Travis Kelce as he defined the position for a generation. We’ll shake our heads and rewatch video clips for the 100th time explaining just how much of a mismatch Hill could be—even against elite athletes.

For all of his accomplishments, Hill could have cemented his place in Chiefs’ lore even further (and perhaps for much longer) with another season in K.C. He was just one more season away from resetting the record books.

If you look to statistical production in a player’s career at Arrowhead for just how good they were, then the Chiefs look pretty thin when it comes to actual receivers. The receiving categories are, in fact, dominated by tight ends—two of them—which bodes well for the team’s looks when it comes to that particular position. However, when it comes to historic wideouts, the Chiefs typically aren’t in the conversation at all.

Right now, Tony Gonzalez is the franchise’s all-time leader in receiving yards with 10,940. Next on the list is Kelce with 9,006, a man with a very real chance of owning that record in a couple of years if he can somehow stay as productive into his mid-thirties. After that, and after a pretty steep fall, we see the first wide receiver on the list in Otis Taylor.

Taylor’s greatness is another story for another time—one that deserves to be told—but for our purposes, here are the actual receiving numbers for receivers while with the Chiefs organization:

  1. Otis Taylor – 7,306 yards (130 games)
  2. Dwayne Bowe – 7,155 yards (125 games)
  3. Tyreek Hill – 6,630 yards (91 games)

Given that an average year for Hill is 1,105 yards (and that total is skewed by lower early-career numbers and doesn’t include a 17-game season), the Cheetah would have easily eclipsed those WR totals for a new franchise-high for someone at his position somewhere around November or early December.

Beyond that, a glimpse at the Chiefs’ all-time receptions record for a WR shows that Bowe owns the mark at 532. Hill only needed 54 catches to set that mark as well for a player who has averaged 80 receptions per season.  To put the cherry on top of all of these accomplishments, Hill only needed two receiving touchdowns to edge Taylor’s franchise-leading total of 57 receiving touchdowns for a wideout in Chiefs history. That’s it.

In short, if Hill could have just put up 54 catches for 677 yards and 2 touchdowns, he’d have owned every primary receiving record for the Chiefs until the next great WR stepped into Arrowhead and claimed them as his own.

At this point, it’s all a fruitless thought exercise—unless Hill has some odd career turn toward the end and he comes back to K.C.—but it sure would have been nice to have the numbers to point to as well as the highlights to say to some young member of Chiefs Kingdom down the road, “That guy right there was the greatest wide receiver in Chiefs history.”