Lawrence: Are The Chiefs The Next Dynasty?

Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs seem primed for sustained success, but perhaps it's a little too early for the d-word

Amy Lawrence
February 05, 2020 - 9:54 am
Patrick Mahomes Chiefs

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Maybe, just maybe, it's a little too early to be flinging the "D" word around. You know the one. Football fans and media folk trot it out every February while riding the wave of Super Bowl euphoria: dynasty.

Of course, it's tempting after a special performance that certifies the Kansas City Chiefs as kings of the NFL kingdom. But it's TOUGH to succeed in the NFL from week to week, month to month, and year to year. Even with a consistent winner, the pressure to perform at the highest level on the game's grandest stages is immense. The postseason is littered with unmet expectations.

The Patriots have made it look easy for the better part of two decades. It's not. Think about the New Orleans Saints. Fantastic coach; future Hall of Fame quarterback; dynamic offensive weapons; improved, athletic defense stout that's against the run; division titles; homefield advantage--the Saints have seemingly had all the tools and perfect springboard to win a championship. But the last three years have produced excruciating exits, including a poor performance and Wild Card disappointment against the Vikings last month. It's anything but simple to reach the sport's promised land.

There's a laundry list of reasons to be high on the Chiefs. The temptation to talk dynasty is great with Patrick Mahomes. The Kansas City quarterback is the only player in NFL history to earn a regular season MVP and Super Bowl MVP before age 25. He does it all with a special kind of flair. Mahomes is bold and confident with a fearless determination that make his athleticism and powerful cannon arm even more lethal. The Super Bowl was far from his best performance; in fact, it may have been one of his worst as a pro. He took a pounding through three quarters as the 49ers made him look uncomfortable and out of sync. But with their backs against the wall and time running out, Mahomes delivered for Kansas City. Facing a deficit midway through the final quarter, he completed deep passes to Tyreek Hill and Sammy Watkins to set up touchdowns. For the third time in three playoff games, the Chiefs rallied from double-digits down to win.

Even as Mahomes was named Super Bowl MVP, running back Damien Williams could have nabbed the honor himself. His 135 total yard and two scores provided the counterpunch. Along with Williams, Watkins and Hill, Travis Kelce, rookie Mecole Hardman and wide receiver Demarcus Robinson all played key roles in the quick strike, high-powered offense this season. With most of the attention on a future blockbuster extension for Mahomes expected to top $200 million, the Chiefs will need to replenish their receiving corps if both Watkins and Robinson move on. LeSean McCoy is not likely to return either.

The Kansas City defense is the unsung hero of the championship run. After rebuilding the roster and switching to a 4-3 base with coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, that unit settled in and dominated during the nine-game win streak. But questions abound for the defense as free agency looms. The top priority must be lineman Chris Jones with his disruptive force and nine sacks. The Chiefs will need to offer a fat deal to keep him from hitting the open market. Linebackers Reggie Ragland and Darron Lee are free agents, and the secondary could look entirely different next fall. Cornerback Bashaud Breeland with his 66 total tackles, three interceptions and two fumble recoveries only had a one-year deal. Morris Claiborne's contract is expiring, too, while cornerback Kendall Fuller is a free agent.

At least we know Andy Reid isn't going anywhere. This star of this season's best redemption story laughs at the idea of retirement. Now? When he has a 24-year-old quarterback who's among the best in the league? Reid says coaching Mahomes is invigorating and gives him energy for the task at hand. He loves the current roster and wishes he could coach this same group forever. While that isn't possible, it's easy to understand why Reid isn't walking away now. He's just three years into Mahomes' career and finally on top of the football world. The leadership in Kansas City will remain the same. And Reid's 222 career victories over 21 seasons are the model of consistency. His track record is a clear indicator the franchise will remain relevant and contend again next fall.

The wisdom and experience of the past two years are invaluable for the champs as well. Hosting the AFC Championship in consecutive Januarys, losing in overtime at Arrowhead Stadium 12 months ago, needing a remarkable rally against the Texans to stay alive this winter--all beneficial training to prepare the Chiefs for the ultimate stage. Offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy even points to Mahomes' dislocated kneecap in the middle of October as a catalyst for the locker room. He says the loss of their star QB required that every other player step up and become more accountable. Bieniemy cites the growth and maturity through that adversity as a major factor in their Super Bowl run.

Even with roster changes in the works, the Chiefs will operate from a position of strength in 2020. It's tough to knock the king off the throne. But every other team will try, giving it their best shot. Kansas City is now wearing the crown which equals a bullseye. They will be a target in the NFL next season. Injuries always play a role; they are unavoidable. A million little things have to go the Chiefs' way for them to reach the Super Bowl in Tampa, much less for them to win it. And the rest of the league isn't standing pat. The Ravens, Patriots, Texans, Titans and Bills should all contend again in the AFC. In the NFC, the Niners, Packers, Saints, and Seahawks are likely sticking around plus surprises in each conference. Think about where San Francisco was this time last year.

It was an unforgettable ride for Kansas City, culminating with the team's first championship in 50 years. It was the stuff dreams are made of. But one season and one Super Bowl ring do not a dynasty make.

Let's reconvene this time next year!

A well-traveled veteran of sports radio and television, Amy is the passionate host of CBS Sports Radio’s late-night program, After Hours with Amy Lawrence, from 2-6am ET on the nation’s largest 24/7 major-market radio network. Listeners can tune in from Canada and overseas, thanks to SiriusXM, cbssportsradio.com and the CBS Sports app. Amy has also handled basketball play-by-play and color duties for various radio and TV outlets over the past 15 years. Amy graduated from Messiah College with bachelor’s degrees in Communications & Accounting before earning her master’s in TV & Radio from Syracuse University. She is a native of Concord, NH.