In order for the Super Bowl LIV victory to happen, moves had to be made. Championship teams aren’t built in a year. Here are the moves that allowed the Kansas City Chiefs to become Super Bowl Champions.
For teams that want to repeat as champions, moves need to be made to keep said teams above the rest. The Kansas City Chiefs made big time moves not just this year, but in years past, that got them to Super Bowl LIV and helped them win the biggest game in sports.
Let’s take a look at those moves.
BRINGING REID TO KC
Time to start at the beginning of this story with how the man we call Big Red came to Kansas City. After a couple of really rough seasons both professionally and personally, the Eagles let Andy Reid go.
Rather than take a year off like Lovie Smith did, Reid wanted to get back into the saddle and continue to coach. Clark Hunt made a call to Reid after firing Romeo Crennel.
The two met in an airport in Philly and when everything was said and done, Andy Reid became the Head Coach of the Chiefs. Reid had two other interviews planned with the Cardinals and the Chargers, but he never got on the plane to Arizona and he canceled the Chargers interview. It was at that moment they rise to the top of the mountain began.
There were some doubts as to whether or not Reid was still a capable coach because of how things ended with the Eagles. It didn’t take long for Reid to prove that he still had it when he coached the Chiefs to a playoff berth in his first season as head coach of the team. The Chiefs were coming off of one of the worst seasons for any team, so for him to turn them into a playoff team in less than a year was impressive.
Since the hiring, the Chiefs have not had a losing season and have only won less than ten games once (2014). The Chiefs have also made the playoffs in all but one year and won four straight AFC West Championships. Not bad for a team that prior to 2015 hadn’t won a playoff game since 1993.
Without Reid, this Super Bowl doesn’t happen. Without Reid, my next point probably doesn’t happen. The fact is that Big Red may not be perfect, but he was the first step in the Chiefs achieving total victory. Reid shifted the culture of the Chiefs and made them a winning football team with long-term success for the first time since Marty Schottenheimer.
TRADING UP FOR MAHOMES
In what might have been the most eye-popping draft move the Chiefs have ever made, the Chiefs traded up 17 spots to take a kid out of Texas Tech by the name of Patrick Mahomes II. The Chiefs hadn’t taken a quarterback in the first round of the draft since 1983. To say that the Chiefs Kingdom was shocked and excited would be an understatement. Would decades of not having a true franchise QB be over?
The answer would be a resounding yes. This was a big gamble for the Chiefs, especially with what they gave up, but it paid off big time.
After sitting for most of his rookie year – a luxury he had thanks to Alex Smith playing extremely well – Mahomes learned the offense and wasn’t forced to start. While the Chiefs were a good to even great team with Smith at quarterback, Mahomes has taken them to the next level; Even as the tenth overall pick, Mahomes has been a steal.
Since Patrick Mahomes took over as the Chiefs quarterback, the Chiefs are 24-7 in the regular-season games with a 4-1 record during the postseason, which includes a Super Bowl win. He is only the second player in NFL history to win league MVP and Super Bowl MVP before turning 25 years of age (Emmitt Smith). He is also the youngest quarterback to ever win the Super Bowl MVP.
With no disrespect to Alex Smith, Patrick Mahomes took this team to another level. With Smith at quarterback, the ceiling was a playoff win or two and the teams still underperformed. Mahomes, on the other hand, finally took this team to a state that it hasn’t been in quite some time. He is extremely humble, has leadership beyond his years and has the ability to completely take a game over. Were it not for one of the worst defenses ever, he likely has two Super Bowl wins before his 25th birthday.
COMPLETE OVERHAUL OF DEFENSIVE STAFF
Speaking of defense, this was probably the biggest move in the offseason to improve the Chiefs’ chances at a Super Bowl. The Chiefs had one of the worst defenses in recent memory the previous season and despite that, were still one defensive stop away from going to Super Bowl 53.
Bob Sutton’s defensive scheme had finally caved in once key players left or were constantly hurt. The linebackers couldn’t tackle and the secondary was swiss cheese for the most part. Things had to change because a team shouldn’t need to require its young quarterback to constantly bail its defense out.
Fortunately, Sutton was fired and Andy Reid brought in his long-time defensive assistant Steve Spagnuolo to take over. Spags and his staff had some major work to do and while the results were mixed early on in the season, the defense improved to the 16th best defense in the NFL by season’s end.
With the offense regressing a little bit due to natural regression and injuries, the defense had to do its job. Without a massive change on the defensive side of the ball, this team doesn’t sniff a Super Bowl this year.
BRINGING IN CLARK AND HONEY BADGER
Two of the bigger moves last offseason were bringing in Tyrann Mathieu and Frank Clark. This wasn’t just from a pure playing standpoint but also from leadership as well, as the defense lacked fire and the duo of Clark and the Honey Badger provided it.
As I stated before training camp, Clark and Mathieu were the two of the best defensive players on the Chiefs and while Frank Clark was playing hurt, he turned it on in the playoffs. Mathieu was among or at the top among Safeties in stats.
Frank Clark finished the year with only eight sacks during the regular season, but made some key stops in all three of the Chiefs playoff games, including the game-ending sacks in all three. Both players really showed their worth, even if Mathieu was snubbed off of Pro Football Focus’ top 101 players list. Oh well, rings matter over some list.
The reason why the two are getting lumped together is that, from a player standpoint, these two were big for reasons stated earlier. It just didn’t feel right to list them separately.
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There you have it! The four moves that paved the way for the KC Chiefs to hoist the Lombardi Trophy for the 2019 season. What moves did I leave off?