In Super Bowl LVII, Chiefs prove that ‘slow and steady’ wins the race


The date was December 30, 2012. The Kansas City Chiefs had just suffered a blowout 38-3 loss to the Denver Broncos. 

KC plunged to the cellar of the NFL, with a 2-14 record (the worst in Chiefs history), now holding the 2013 NFL draft’s first overall selection. 

Kansas City, as expected, escorted head coach Romeo Crennel out of the building, putting an effective end to Romeo’s very minimal two-year stint as the Chiefs’ leader. 

Not even a week later, KC named former Philadelphia Eagles head coach Andy Reid as their next one. 

According to ESPN Stats & Information, Reid led the Eagles to nine playoff appearances out of 13 total seasons, notching 10 playoff wins, as well as 130 regular-season wins. 

In the same time frame, the Chiefs, in comparison, only made the postseason three times, earned zero playoff wins, and only 98 regular season victories (with five different head coaches, mind you).

Andy Reid was fired by Philly after a so-so 12-20 win-loss mark in the final two seasons Reid led the Eagles. During those years, Reid dealt with family hardship as his oldest son Garrett died during 2012 training camp after a lengthy bout with drug addiction. 

However, let’s not dwell on the negative. The positive offered lots of hope for Chiefs fans, as well as the Kansas City football franchise itself. 

Andy Reid inherited a 3-13 Eagles team in ‘99 and proceeded to win 11 games in 2001 and earn second place in the NFC East. 

For the next five years, Reid led Philly to at least 11 wins each season, with the capper being a Super Bowl XXXIX trip against young Tom Brady and the New England Patriots in the 2004 playoffs. 

With all of this success riding the wagon to KC, the Chiefs could only go up. And they did. Fast. 

Going from being the worst team in the NFL to a playoff squad in one year is a daunting task, but Andy Reid and the Chiefs did it. 

In one season. ELEVEN wins compared with a measly TWO. (Yes, you can now cue the “shocked face” memes you have on your electronic devices. Let’s give Kevin McCallister some love, shall we?) 

Any way you want to react to it, this was a blazing-quick transformation for a team that was JUST a year prior the poster-child of failure in the National Football League. 

It wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows the season after 2013, however, as KC went 9-7 and missed out on the playoffs. 

The next two seasons culminated in double-digit wins and divisional round playoff trips (unfortunately losing both). 

Then came the 2017 offseason. The Chiefs had an established quarterback in Alex Smith at the helm already, but it was Brett Veach, Kansas City’s GM, who said “Hey, I kind of like this Patrick Mahomes kid.”  

Veach kept showing Andy Reid as well as Chiefs CEO Clark Hunt highlights of Mahomes, and on April 27 of 2017, Kansas City traded up from the 27th pick to the 10th pick, sending the Buffalo Bills the aforementioned 27th pick, a third rounder, and a 2018 first rounder in order to draft Texas Tech’s Patrick Lavon Mahomes II. 

His rookie season, Mahomes sat behind Alex Smith as he took the Chiefs to the playoffs with a 10-6 record. 

(Before we move on, let’s backtrack a bit. Play the rewind tape!). 

Ok, now that I have brought us back, I want to talk about the 63rd overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft. 

You’re probably wondering, “What the heck does the 63rd pick in the ‘13 draft have to do with anything?” 

Well, this selection, 63rd overall in 2013, was none other than tight end Travis Kelce out of Cincinnati. 

Kelce, as you may know, was a key reason the Chiefs won the Super Bowl this year, as he possesses elite speed, strength, and the knack for running routes that make any defender’s head spin. 

In his career, Kelce has piled up 814 catches on 1,146 targets, 10,344 yards, and 69 touchdowns. That’s just the regular season. 

In the playoffs, Travis has brought in 133 catches on 165 targets, 1,548 yards, and 16 touchdowns. 

It’s an amazing sight to see, for sure. 

Kelce was the “No. 1 receiver” for KC this season and was a MAJOR factor in Kansas City being able to take home not just the Lamar Hunt trophy, but the Lombardi as well. 

(Now we fast-forward to the 2018-19 season!) 

The Chiefs, led by Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce, WR Tyreek Hill (drafted in 2016) and defensive tackle Chris Jones (I will get to him later), went 12-4, won the AFC West for the third straight year and made it all the way to the AFC Championship game before being sent home in a heartbreaker in overtime against the Patriots. 

KC Chiefs fans and NFL fans who *don’t* root for the Pats or Broncos were surely sad that Mahomes didn’t win, but he won the NFL MVP (so that is dandy). Winning was a constant in the NFL playoffs a year later for Kansas City. 

KC got a week of rest in the wild card round, as the Chiefs held one of two first-round byes in the AFC. 

In the divisional round, Kansas City was set to face off against the Houston Texans after their crazy win over the Buffalo Bills. 

The Chiefs struggled early against H-Town. The Texans held a 21-0 lead after a quarter at Arrowhead Stadium, and Houston added a field goal to increase their advantage to 24-0 early in the second. 

Arrowhead was stunned. At the moment it was negative, but less than 20 minutes later it turned positive. 

The Chiefs piled up four touchdowns in the second quarter to take a 28-24 halftime lead, with these touchdowns coming late but mighty fast. 

KC scored their aforementioned four TD’s in 9 minutes, 11 seconds. The first touchdown was a dump-off to running back Damien Williams, and the fourth was a close-call diving score by Travis Kelce. 

After that touchdown, Kansas City never looked back, as they won in dominating fashion, 51-31, to advance to the AFC Championship for the second straight year. 

The Chiefs would battle the Titans (KC trailed by double digits again, but won). 

Patrick Mahomes would play in his first Super Bowl, in Miami, Florida, in two weeks time, after this amazing victory against Tennessee. 

Kansas City faced off against the San Francisco 49ers, and the Chiefs won to give KC their first Super Bowl title since 1969 (which was before the merger of the AFL and NFL). 

2020 for the Chiefs represented a flip of the coin, as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, in their first year being led by the current G.O.A.T. Tom Brady, won Super Bowl LV by a final of 31-9. 

Another AFC title game became a reality for Kansas City in 2021, but the Chiefs fell short to the Cincinnati Bengals in overtime. 

Then KC traded away Tyreek Hill. “Wait, what?” That was the question everyone in the NFL was asking. Why in the world would the Chiefs trade their number one receiver? 

I was even questioning the move. “The Chiefs will regret this! KC is dumb for trading Hill,” I said. 

I, and many others, were questioning, but the right answer didn’t come from us. It came from the stats. 

Kansas City earned a 12-5 record in 2021, the last season with Tyreek Hill. 

The Chiefs earned a 14-3 record in 2022, the first season *without* Tyreek Hill. 

Patrick Mahomes had a 66.3% completion rate, 4,839 pass yards, 37 passing touchdowns compared to 13 picks in 2021. 

Patrick Mahomes had a 67.1% completion rate, 5,250 passing yards, 41 passing scores compared to 12 picks in 2022. 

Wild, right? This just speaks to the offensive genius behind Andy Reid and the amazing adjustments he can make to his team so they can perform better, no matter who is putting on the pads. 

We now move to the AFC Championship Game of 2022-23. Bengals vs. Chiefs. Joe Burrow vs. Chris Jones. 

The latter won the battle, as he terrorized the entire Bengals o-line and Joe Burrow the duration of the title bout. 

Not surprising given that CJ was a finalist for the NFL Defensive Player of the Year award. 

Jones racked up 15.5 sacks and 46 pressures during 2022, which was the best among all NFL defensive tackles. 

Words/phrases used to describe Chris Jones are as follows: Elite, unblockable, best at the DT position. 

The stats back those claims up, as well as the clear nervousness offensive line coaches get when they hear the name “Chris Jones”. 

Anyway, Super Bowl LVII was the third in four years the Kansas City Chiefs were fortunate enough to participate in. An even-split record, at 1-1, was about to be broken, one way or another. 

KC gave that .500 record some juice. The Chiefs won a thrilling game 38-35, beating the seemingly unstoppable Philadelphia Eagles group led by second-year head coach Nick Sirianni, quarterback Jalen Hurts, wide-outs DeVonta Smith and A.J. Brown, and center Jason Kelce. 

That defense for Philly was even more scary, ranking number one in sacks (78 total from the regular season through the playoffs) and ranking top-ten in every other major defensive category. 

Hassan Reddick, Brandon Graham, Darius Slay, and James Bradberry helped lead the way to those great marks. 

These numbers were meaningless once the red and yellow confetti began to fall at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, however, as the Eagles’ defense completed being shattered the whole duration of the Super Bowl by the potent Kansas City Chiefs offensive attack. 

As the NFL looks forward to the 2023-24 season, and Super Bowl LVIII being played at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, Nevada, one thing is for certain: 

If the Chiefs and the rest of the NFL resembled the story of the tortoise and the hare, we would say the NFL thought they figured out a way to win in the race of beating the Chiefs’ style of play, just like the hare thought he would beat the tortoise after jumping out to a quick advantage. 

Later, the NFL took a nap, thinking the Chiefs would have no chance of coming back to fight (just like the hare), and the Chiefs slowly but surely made their way to the finish line, winning a title and being totally content with a rematch.