Chiefs Kingdom’s guide to situationally rooting for other NFL teams in 2022

Detroit Lions head coach Dan Campbell talks with reporters before practice Friday, July 29, 2022, at the Allen Park practice facility.Lions2
Detroit Lions head coach Dan Campbell talks with reporters before practice Friday, July 29, 2022, at the Allen Park practice facility.Lions2 /

Excitement is percolating everywhere you look among NFL fan bases, the feeling in Chiefs Kingdom is no different.

We’re now 15 days away from the opening night matchup between the Buffalo Bills and defending Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams and only 18 days away from the entire league kicking off on September 11. Each fan base is foaming at the mouth, ready for their team to kick off and start their respective journeys towards either a complete dumpster fire, all-out mediocrity, an overachieving season, or a disappointing ending.

Only one team and one fan base will come out on the other side of this thing feeling good about how their season ended: whoever hoists the Lombardi Trophy in Glendale, AZ at Super Bowl LVII.

How should a Chiefs fan situationally cheer for other teams around the NFL in 2022? Here’s a handy guide going forward.

Who is that going to be? Well, no one really knows for sure in August, but if I weren’t retired from gambling my (historically dumb, hence the retirement) money would be on the Chiefs at +750. But, alas, there have been disappointments before and will be disappointments again in Chiefs’ postseason history. Well-documented disappointments, along with absolutely astounding playoff triumphs, are part of the many reasons that we, as Chiefs Kingdom, root for the Kansas City Chiefs.

But let me introduce a little moral dilemma into your pre-weekend ritual, if I could: Do we, as Chiefs fans, have room in our lives for more than one franchise to root for? The easy answer is absolutely not. Why would I want to root for anyone other than the Chiefs? That’s blasphemous.

Well, that’s true. It is blasphemy and could result in your ejection from the Kingdom altogether. In some isolated circumstances that change from season to season, however, it actually helps the Chiefs when you root for other teams. Call it supernatural, call it superstition, call it what you want, but sometimes there are reasons to root for other teams. There just are. It has always been true and it will always be true.

You don’t have to travel very far back in time to recall the last time we as a fan base were pulling for another team, even during a fiercely contested Week 18 with numerous playoff spots and seeding changes on the line. The Houston Texans were the darlings of Kansas City for a few hours on the final Sunday of the regular season. The Chiefs had already wrapped a 12-5 record with a win over the trash donkeys (Denver Broncos) the night before, and if Houston beat the Tennessee Titans, the Chiefs would lock up the AFC’s 1 seed and clinch a first-round bye.

Not sure if you knew this or not, but that didn’t happen. But my point still stands! We can root for other teams, situationally. Now, if you tell me you’re a Chiefs fan and make it through my Chiefs fan vetting process and then show up to a game or my house wearing another team’s gear, you should be incarcerated. But situationally? Rub that rabbit’s foot and pull for someone else.

This thought process really started working through my brain when I watched the first episode of this season of Hard Knocks. If you’re not an NFC North fan outside of Detroit, can you really hate the Lions? Can anyone hate Dan Campbell? I contest that those two things are impossible.

Naturally, as these borderline romantic feelings for the 2022 Lions started bubbling up in my football-intoxicated brain, I began considering the following: What team can Chiefs fans root for this year that isn’t actually the Chiefs?

There are tiers to this, as is the case in most sports-related conversations in 2022. The first tier of “rootable non-Chiefs” teams through the third tier are franchises I have ranked according to various factors including conference affiliation, relative threat, overall talent or lack thereof, and pure personal preference. There is also a tier that I’ve classified as the “absolutely nots”. How do we find these teams? Well, some of these are obvious, and others are more deeply considered.

To get to that answer, we have to first remember who we absolutely cannot root for, under any circumstances. That list is substantial, and it begins with division opponents.


Las Vegas Raiders – I will never admit that they’re a legitimate franchise, let alone have a positive emotion surrounding anything they do outside of consistently getting annihilated by the Chiefs

Denver Broncos – Broncos country…let’s ride. Broncos COUNTRY…let’s RIDE. BRONCOS country…LET’s ride. Russell Wilson makes this insufferable franchise and fan base somehow even more insufferable.

Los Angeles Chargers – Always the bridesmaid, never the bride. Whether your hatred is rooted in Dan Fouts, Philip Rivers, or Justin Herbert, we can all agree that the Chargers suck and you don’t hang banners for preseason media polls.

Baltimore Ravens – Even though Lamar Jackson is technically Patrick Mahomes’s son, Baltimore stands a legitimate threat to win the AFC North and meet the Chiefs in the playoffs. We can make two exceptions for situationally cheering here: root for Baltimore each time they play Cincinnati.

Buffalo Bills – If you need an explanation, you should check out another blog.

Cincinnati Bengals – Please see above.

Indianapolis Colts  – Not a true contender for the AFC in my opinion, but the South is wide open this year and the Chiefs play the Colts in the regular season.

Miami Dolphins  – I’m not one of the Tyreek Hill bandwagon haters, but I’ll be interested to see if all of this Tua talk doesn’t backfire on him. Same rule here as with Baltimore, though: Miami > Buffalo.

Tennessee Titans  – Much like Indy, I think the Titans are too one-dimensional to pose much of a threat to the Chiefs’ chances of getting back to the Super Bowl, but again, we play them in the regular season. Can’t wish them success. I do love Nashville, though.

Green Bay Packers  – While I’m unclear on whether or not psychedelics actually help quarterbacks perform, I’d prefer not to find out in a Super Bowl matchup where Aaron Rodgers feels like he has something to prove.

Los Angeles Rams  – Plain and simple, Super Bowl 56 should have been the Chiefs’ game to lose. I will die on the hill of “had KC not protested playing actual offensive football in the second half against Cincy they would have won the whole thing in 2021,” so for that reason, I have a personal ax to grind with the Rams about that Mickey Mouse championship. The Chiefs will get to address this with them in Week 12 at Arrowhead. Bonus anti-rooting points to the Rams for having a scumbag owner like Stan Kroenke.

San Francisco 49ers  – Tossed this one around a while before landing on “absolutely not”. While I feel like the Chiefs have a karmic advantage over the 49ers for all eternity after Super Bowl 54, they are still technically loaded and talented and could be a Super Bowl 57 matchup nightmare for KC.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers  – “The Trifecta.” The Chiefs play them in the regular season, they are a threat to meet the Chiefs in the Super Bowl, and I’m still not over Super Bowl 55. You shouldn’t be either.

Cleveland Browns – I cannot endorse this pitiful franchise for obvious reasons.

Alright, so this is getting a little expansive, no? I’ll list below the other teams that we absolutely can’t root for this year. This one is easy – the Chiefs play these teams in 2022 :

Seattle Seahawks, Arizona Cardinals, Jacksonville Jaguars, Houston Texans

Now that we’ve covered who you can’t root for in 2022, let’s talk about who you potentially could hitch your secondary wagon onto.


I’m going to utilize the Costco method of writing about these few teams. This is a one size fits all: these teams are going to be bad. There is no question about that. If you choose to follow along or root for any of these teams, it’s going to be because either a player from your favorite college team is on the roster, you have one of their players in fantasy football, or you just want to be different. Those things are all fine.

New York Giants, Minnesota Vikings, Chicago Bears, Atlanta Falcons 


New England Patriots – Hear me out. I know we all historically hate New England. 2018, the coin flip, and Dee Ford still haunt my dreams. But the bad man (Tom Brady) is gone. Mac Jones is a decent player, but the Pats as they are constructed today are not a threat to the Chiefs in the AFC. While they do wield the threat of being the only franchise with two offensive coordinators, that doesn’t scare me. Plus they have the ability to beat Buffalo and Miami twice and beat both the Bengals and the Raiders. Just keep an open mind. They’re in tier 3 for a reason, but it’s still a possibility.

New York Jets – Absolutely no threat to be a playoff team. Check. A quarterback who appears to be a dog. Check. They play the Bengals, Ravens, Broncos, Bills twice, Dolphins twice, and Patriots twice. I’m convincing myself I should move these guys into Tier 1, but their conference affiliation leaves them as a 2.

Pittsburgh Steelers – The Chiefs own the Steelers, so even if they made a playoff push there would be zero concern with a Mason Rudolph, Mitch Trubisky, or Kenny Pickett-led Steelers team coming into Arrowhead and stealing a playoff game. They can wreck Baltimore or Cincinnati’s seasons as well. Keep your friends close but your enemies closer – consider considering Pittsburgh an ally in 2022.

Dallas Cowboys – Biggest stretch on the board without question. They’re only here because the likelihood that the Chiefs encounter them at all in 2022 is extremely low.

That brings us to Tier 1. “Who is there even left?” you might be asking. Good question. These will be a little more expansive explanations, so I whittled this down to just two clubs. Both NFC franchises. Both with endearing players and storylines coming into 2022. Here goes nothing.


New Orleans Saints – I’m a little biased on this one because my brother is a Saints fan. But let’s look at the evidence case for rooting for the Saints in 2022.

First, there are bits of Chiefs Kingdom scattered in New Orleans – specifically several former Chiefs defenders. Tanoh Kpassagnon joined the Saints in 2021, followed this offseason by former Chiefs legend Daniel Sorensen, and the honeybadger himself Tyrann Mathieu.

And who doesn’t love Jameis Winston? Sure, the dude is a little left of center, but he’s given us timeless hits like “eating a W“, spacing out on what his trainer told him before a big win against the Packers in 2021, and countless innovative workouts to mimic.

The Saints have an uncanny knack for consistently defeating Tom Brady and the Buccaneers, and they also run into some teams that the Chiefs have a vested interest in their demise: the Bengals, Raiders, Ravens, and Rams. If New Orleans shocks the world and makes a Super Bowl run, I could eat some crow, but they’re set up nicely to help Chiefs Kingdom out in a big way in 2022.

Detroit Lions – Detroit has been a long-suffering sports city outside of the Pistons’ run in the early 2000s. The Lions have also had such bad luck with star players – whether it be Barry Sanders and Calvin Johnson both retiring squarely in their prime, or Matthew Stafford taking off for greener (albeit smoggier) pastures in LA, Detriot has had atrocious luck keeping superstars in house.

This pick is a prime example of how my brain works. As I mentioned above, I wanted the first episode of this season of Hard Knocks on Wednesday night. So what does my brain do? Just automatically develop a football crush on Dan Campbell.

I mean, just watch these clips of Campbell and running back Jamaal Williams (warning: some mildly colorful language, but mostly edited).

Jamaal Williams’s speech had me ready to run through a wall, and everything about Dan Campbell screams loyalty, passion, and just general GDE (good dude energy). The Lions are my choice as my favorite non-Chiefs franchise in 2022.

Next. Ranking the Chiefs top 15 draft picks ever. dark