Superbowl debate: the Chiefs

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Max Resnick, Sports Contributer

The score was 38-10. The Chiefs possessed a commanding third-quarter lead against the Indianapolis Colts in the 2013-14 wild-card game. The Kansas City faithful felt confident they were headed to the divisional round in no time. Yet somehow, due to the heroics of Andrew Luck and the collapse of the Chiefs’ defense, the KC team managed to find a way to lose that game 45-44, commencing a common theme of the next few years in KC: playoff collapses. The 2015-16 season featured a rejuvenated Chiefs team: winning ten straight, including a wild-card beatdown of the Houston Texans 30-0. This marked their first postseason victory since 1993. The Chiefs headed to New England to play for a trip to the AFC Championship Game, with a losing mentality. As a result of poor clock management and getting outplayed, they did lose. The next year, Kansas City’s regular-season looked even better, securing the second seed in the AFC and a first-round bye. They hosted the Pittsburgh Steelers in the ever-noisy Arrowhead Stadium, entering the game as huge favorites. But the offense failed to keep up in the loss.
While quarterback Alex Smith was above-average, he did not have what it took to lead the Chiefs all the way. Smith was given one more chance to quarterback the Chiefs to the promise land. In the regular season he delivered. The Chiefs offense was explosive, accumulating 5488 total yards. In the divisional round, they faced the Tennessee Titans at Arrowhead. At halftime, the Chiefs led 21-3, however, they allowed the Titans to come back. The front office had a change to make.
The Chiefs possessed the 27th pick in the 2017 NFL draft. t seemed unlikely they would obtain a franchise signal-caller at that slot. The Chiefs moved up seventeen spots to draft a franchise QB. Even with a cannon arm, most critics felt Mahomes was too raw to be an NFL star. Analyst Steven Ruiz wrote, “Calling Mahomes a project is a major understatement. He’s nowhere near ready to play in the NFL.” The Chiefs disagreed and selected him.
While the Chiefs knew their future was in the hands of Mahomes, they still viewed Smith as a competent starting QB. Mahomes spent his rookie year learning from Smith, however, the dramatic choke to the Titans made it clear that the quarterback for the Chiefs for the 2018-19 season was Mahomes, so Smith was traded. In his first game, Mahomes threw for four touchdowns against the Chargers. He followed that up with six against the Steelers. Mahomes sent the entire football world into a frenzy, creating highlight after highlight. The Chiefs finished the year 12-4, and by the season’s end, Mahomes had accumulated 5,097 passing yards and 50 passing touchdowns, putting him in the exclusive company of Tom Brady and Peyton Manning. The Chiefs secured the first seed, eventually hosting the same Indianapolis Colts that broke their hearts years before. However, this game was different, as the Chiefs jumped out to an early lead and never let go, winning 31-13 against the under matched Colts.
Next, the Chiefs hosted the Patriots in what was a match between the greatest of all time and the future. In the first half, Bill Belichick had Mahomes figured out, holding the Chiefs scoreless. The groans were audible, and Chiefs fans feared they were heading down an all-too-familiar road. However, the Chiefs had not lost faith, roaring back by putting up 24 points in the fourth quarter and 31 in the half. Mahomes dazzled once again, sending the game to overtime. However, the Pats won the coin toss, and Mahomes never touched the ball again. Tom Brady marched his team down the field and scored the game-winning touchdown. Although the season was over for the Chiefs, their star QB was awarded the NFL MVP shortly after.
To open the 2019-20 season, Mahomes and the Chiefs did not disappoint. They won their first four games and looked promising again. However, things took a turn for the worst, as they dropped games to the Colts and Texans. The next contest, Mahomes injured his knee and missed the next two weeks. Upon his return, the Chiefs offense improved, but didn’t look the same. The defense improved, so their offense played more of a ball-control style. Thanks to a Patriots collapse to the Dolphins in week 17, the Chiefs earned a first-round bye. In the Divisional Round, the Texans entered Arrowhead in the hands of DeShaun Watson, who was selected two picks after Mahomes. The Chiefs came out flat, finding themselves down 24-0 in the second quarter. Nonetheless, Mahomes assumed a superhero-like role and provided the Chiefs with a lead entering halftime. The Chiefs scored touchdowns on seven consecutive drives and pummelled the Texans after the first quarter. While they expected to face the Ravens in the next round, they had been upset by the Tennessee Titans. Once again, the Titans entered Arrowhead and gained an early lead of 10-0. but eventually won the game. The Chiefs were off to the Super Bowl and it remains to be seen what will happen. If Patrick Mahomes plays like himself, expect to see the Chiefs emerge victoriously.