Depending on the philosophy Andy Reid decides to approach the San Diego game with – sit his key starters or try to win the game – there is a chance the Chiefs are going to finish the regular season with a 2-5 record in their last seven games. This is going to bring up a lot of debate on the importance of momentum before the playoffs and what it all means for the Chiefs moving forward.
I’ll solve this question for you right now: Momentum, and defined by a team’s win-loss record, means nothing.
Below are the last eight Super Bowl winning teams and their records before entering the playoffs.
LAST EIGHT SUPER BOWL CHAMPIONS
2012 Baltimore Ravens: 1-4 in last five games
Hell, Baltimore’s Super Bowl opponent, San Francisco 49ers, had a 42-13 loss to the Seahawks in week 16 before the playoffs started.
2011 New York Giants: You can look at it two ways. Either they won three of their last four before the playoffs or they lost five of eight before the playoffs. Both are true.
2010 Green Bay Packers: 2-2 in their last four, 3-3 in the last six before the playoffs.
2009 New Orleans Saints: Lost three straight before the playoffs. Started the season 13-0.
2008 Pittsburgh Steelers: Won six of their last seven before the playoffs.
2007 New York Giants: 2-2 in their last four, 4-4 in their last eight before the playoffs.
2006 Indianapolis Colts: 2-3 in last five, 3-4 in last seven before the playoffs.
2005 Pittsburgh Steelers: 4-0 in last four games before the playoffs. Had lost three-straight before the 4-0 run.
It would have been great if the Chiefs had finished the season like the 2005 Steelers or 2011 Giants ended theirs, but December records don’t necessarily reflect January performance.
The two wild card teams from this group to win the Super Bowl – 2007 Giants and 2011 Packers – were each in a very mediocre spot before the playoffs began. The Giants had a win over a 7-9 team and losses to 9-7 Washington and 16-0 New England before the playoffs. Green Bay had a loss to a 6-10 Lions team and needed a 4th quarter rally in Chicago to even make the playoffs. Neither Green Bay or New England looked like a team on their way towards a championship.
Winning Sunday would have been great, no question. It would have kept pressure on the Broncos to win out to earn the AFC West and the number one seed, and it would have given the Chiefs a recent win over a playoff team for them to hang their hat on. It would have felt better as a fan.
If the Chiefs lose in the first round of the playoffs again, it won’t be because their momentum sucked. Further, if the Chiefs rip off four-straight wins in the playoffs and are champions it won’t be because of momentum. What does matter are the match-ups, health of the team, and quality of the coaching. Get those three things and KC will be fine.