What makes ok teams great, and great teams legendary?
Chiefs Focus @ChiefsFocus By: Keaton Huff @Keatonthekicker
Experience maybe, a little luck here or there, but understanding the fundamentals of building a roster paired with great coaching will always get the job done. In the not so distant past the Chiefs were in a predicament that the franchise had never been in before. That notorious 2011-2012 season that ended in the Chiefs receiving the first overall pick was one to forget. The team went from struggling at getting wide receivers in the end zone to a Super Bowl in less than a decade. That’s right, the Chiefs did something that the Lions, Browns, Jags and plenty of other franchise’s have only dreamt of. If I were to tell Chiefs fans a few years ago there would have been some laughter from everyone. A team that seemingly couldn’t get over the hump countless times ending in heartbreak more times than can be remembered became a great team that propelled themselves into football history.
Going back in time now over fifty years the same rules still apply. Great coaching, great players, and the general manager that brought them all together. Just after the American and National Football leauges came together, the Chiefs competed with the Green Bay packers in one of the first Super Bowls and came up short, then returned again a few years later and came out victorious against the Vikings. That team had something special, much like the Chiefs of new. Even though it never became a dynasty, it was a time that all Chiefs fans had been longing for.
In all of NFL history you can make an arguement for a few dynasties but none more so than the Patriots and Steelers. After the 2020 season the Chiefs seemingly were set for years to come and the word spreading of this new dynasty began. Now this admittedly was an overreaction at the time which is why I thought this article was important to write. Building a dynasty is so rare that it took 32 nfl teams almost 60 years to get two. What both of these teams have in common is that they had legendary head coaches paired with great defenses and quarterbacks. Looking at the present day Chiefs, the team checks two of those boxes. The last one is the real difference maker. Good defenses can make your team look much better than they are as well as cover up holes in the roster. Just ask Tom Brady who in multiple Super Bowls was carried by his defense. Now this is no diss article on Tom Brady even though I wish I could do that, instead it goes to show that great defenses will propel Super Bowl winning teams, to franchise’s that will sit on top of the league.
In the Patriots and Steelers examples both were true, neither team had to score every drive to succeed. Sure it’s fun to watch but a well balanced team is often more successful. To put this in present day terms, some have started to doubt management after the trade of Tyreek Hill. A great player that will forever hold a special place in the hearts of Chiefs Kingdom is hard to replace, but in reality it was the correct move. We never saw the Patriots pay players top money, even Tom Brady was a middle of the pack guy in terms of salary for a bulk of his career. Getting cheaper and younger with the right fits continues to be the model for the New England Patriots. This model continues to drive their franchise as they let J.C Jackson and Stephon Gilmore walk because they didn’t want to be on the hook for aging players when they can find undrafted and late round picks that are perfect for their team.
The Chiefs have fully embraced this model as of late, trading a player of Tyreek’s caliber for young defensive players that will contribute right away for a fraction of the cost. Along with that, the improved cap situation allowed Brett Veach to go and get two improvements at wide receiver compared to the starters last year. Building this defense is something that the team has never made an emphasis and after this years draft that can be said no more. The excuses of not investing in the defense also comes with the expectation of improvement. If this defense doesn’t improve it could become a real problem and one that could be met with the departure of Steve Spagnolo. The pressure builds but as the saying goes that’s how diamonds are made. The potential this team now has and the Super Bowl window just became a lot wider.
Dynasties are not built in a day, it may take time for some of these rookies to pan out and play to their full potential, however if they come in and fit the way they are supposed to, look out for your 2022-2023 Chiefs.