The Chiefs will play the newly crowned Super Bowl Champion Los Angeles Rams next season at Arrowhead. The Chiefs also played the Rams the year after they won Super Bowl XXXIV in 2000 and blew them out 54-34. All-time in the Super Bowl era, the Chiefs are 15-17 against defending champs, counting both games against division teams the years they were the defending champs.
The Chiefs’ first game against a defending champion was during the Chiefs Super Bowl IV Championship season in 1969 when they defeated the Super Bowl III champion New York Jets 34-16. The Chiefs are currently riding a 7-game win streak over defending Super Bowl champs, with the last loss coming in 2007 against the Colts who won Super Bowl XLI the previous season. I’m going to review each of these games.
The streak began in 2009. The Pittsburgh Steelers had won Super Bowl XLIII over the Seahawks earlier that year. The Chiefs started the game hot when Jamaal Charles returned the opening kickoff back 97 yards for a touchdown. The Chiefs would then give up 17 unanswered points before scoring 10 unanswered points themselves. The game would go into overtime and the Chiefs would pick up the 27-24 victory.
In 2011, just 6 days after Todd Haley was fired, interim head coach Romeo Crennel led the Chiefs against the Green Bay Packers who had won Super Bowl XLV the previous year. The Packers came into the game with a 13-0 record. Kyle Orton helped lead the Chiefs to the 19-14 victory over the heavily favored Packers. The Chiefs held the 3rd ranked offense in the NFL to just 315 yards of total offense and 14 points.
The next game against the defending champs the Chiefs would play would be in 2014 against the Chiefs’ former division foe, the Seattle Seahawks. The Seahawks had just won their first Super Bowl in franchise history blowing out the Broncos in XLVII. Despite the Seahawks’ famed “Legion of Boom” defense holding the Chiefs to 298 yards of offense, the Chiefs still managed to win 24-20 thanks in part to two turnovers from the Chiefs defense and a 159 yard 2 touchdown performance from Jamaal Charles. Future star tight end Travis Kelce was the Chiefs leading receiver with only 37 yards.
In 2016, the Chiefs had their normal two-game schedule against the Broncos, who were coming off of their victory in Super Bowl 50. In the first game in the series that year, the Chief won 30-27 in overtime. Other than being a 3-point game in overtime, there wasn’t anything very remarkable about the game. Later that year on Christmas day, the Chiefs blew them out 33-10. This was the same game that featured defensive tackle Dontari Poe throwing a 2-yard touchdown to Demetrius Harris. The Chiefs dominated the Broncos in the game only giving up 246 yards and forcing 3 turnovers. Travis Kelce had what is still his 3rd most receiving yards in a game with 160 yards. These victories were #2 and #3 in the Chiefs’ current 13-game winning streak over the Broncos.
The Chiefs would then face the Patriots as the defending Champs twice in 3 seasons. The first time was in 2017 after the Patriots won Super LI. The Patriots controlled the game early gaining a 17-7 lead. The Chiefs would go on a 35-10 run after that to win the game 42-27. In his first career game, Kareem Hunt had 246 total yards and 2 touchdowns after fumbling on his very first career carry. Alex Smith threw for what is the 3rd most passing yards of his career with 368.
The Chiefs played in the defending champion Patriots again during the Chiefs’ Super Bowl LIV Championship season in 2019. The Patriots had won Super Bowl LIII the previous year. The Chiefs 23-16 victory was relatively unremarkable, other than a couple of controversial calls, including a no fumble call when Travis Kelce lost control of the ball and the official blew the whistle making it not reviewable when the Patriots could have returned the fumble for a touchdown.
Early in franchise history, the Chiefs struggled against defending champs with the majority of the losses coming in the late 70s and all of the 80s during a rough patch for the Chiefs. My personal favorite was the 2017 one against the Patriots. Can they win their 8th straight game over the defending champs? We’ll see, but this could definitely be an amazing game like the last time they played and could very easily be a primetime game.