The NFL has been around for a very long time. They are more than 100 years old. Yeah, that’s old. The NFL was founded in 1920 under the original name of the American Professional Football Association. In the acronym world, we would have called them the APFA. With its long and storied history, the NFL has become the #1 sport in the United States and is expanding into a worldwide phenomenon.
In the NFL, every game counts, and every loss can have devastating consequences. Especially, when one game can decide whether you are in the playoffs, or if you are a home or road team in the playoffs. The goal is to win the Super Bowl, but you must put yourself in the best possible position by first performing in the regular season. When teams accomplish this feat in the regular season, they significantly increase their chances of making a run to the NFL’s premier stage.
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
To date, there have been 57 Super Bowls played in NFL history. Remember, the first Super Bowl took place on January 15, 1967. That is 47 years after the inception of the league. With 57 Super Bowls being played and 32 NFL teams, there have only been eight NFL teams to win back-to-back Super Bowls (seven if you count the Steelers doing it twice).
They are the Green Bay Packers (Super Bowl I & II), Miami Dolphins (Super Bowl VII & VIII), Pittsburg Steelers (Super Bowl IX & X), Pittsburg Steelers (Super Bowl XIII & XIV), San Francisco 49ers (XXIII & XXIV), Dallas Cowboys (XXVII & XXVIII), Denver Broncos (Super Bowl XXXII & XXXIII), and the New England Patriots (XXXVIII & XXXIX).
For the fourth time in the franchise’s history, the Kansas City Chiefs are looking to become back-to-back Super Bowl champions. The NFL is the most balanced league in professional sports. This will not be an easy feat. With eight prior teams accomplishing back-to-back Super Bowl victories, the blueprint has been established. What are the details within these blueprints?
This is obvious, right? As with all sports, health is a major concern for every team. To perform at an optimal level, your best players must be in the mix. With the brutality of football and a 17-game regular season, injuries are inevitable, and you must game plan around them.
With that said, no matter how preventative you try to be, you need some luck. A great example of this was Patrick Mahomes’ ankle injury this past season. The Chiefs were lucky that it was only a severe sprain and not a broken bone. No matter how competent Chad Henne is as a backup, he ain’t Patrick Mahomes.
Have you ever heard that the NFL is a copycat league? If not, then you have now, and it is 100% true. Every play that a team will run during the previous season is broken down by the opposition, and a game plan is established to counter those plays. The most recent example of this is the Kansas City Chiefs from the 2018 season to the 2019 season. Kansas City’s offense demolished defenses throughout the 2018 season that lead to a Super Bowl LIV victory.
With NFL defensive coordinators reeling for answers, coincidentally, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers resorted to a past scheme. After Tyreek Hill torched the Buccaneers for 203 yards and two touchdowns in the first quarter of their 2019 match-up, Tampa Bay’s defense reverted to the vaunted Tampa 2 defense that was popularized by the Bucs in the late 90s and early 2000s. The Chiefs’ offense was stymied in the second half and barely pulled out a 27-24 victory.
Typically, the biggest opponent of every Super Bowl champion’s pursuit of back-to-back championships is the fight against complacency. You have already conquered the world and reached the ultimate height of your profession. Everyone is celebrating your achievements and complementing you everywhere you go. As you enjoy your accomplishments, the other 31 teams are checking their pantries and looking to add and make changes to take you down.
Also, it is difficult to stay focused on the present when you are thinking about repeating. The blueprint is to take on the season one game at a time. Looking ahead is hard to avoid and always has negative repercussions.
If you look at every championship-caliber team, they have chemistry. Defined as, “the complex emotional or psychological interaction between people,” chemistry is essential and takes time to build. The more time you spend together, the more familiar you become.
With free agency, it is difficult to build chemistry and let alone sustain it. The key is keeping your core players together. By signing Patrick Mahomes to a team-friendly deal, it has allowed Kansas City to keep its most important pieces. For example, Chris Jones is the most polarizing figure on the Chiefs’ defense and a top-three defensive lineman in the league. He is expected to sign an extension after the draft due to the flexibility created by Mahomes’ contract.
The second part of establishing chemistry is interjecting new players from free agency and the draft. Players leave and retire, but the game continues to move forward. The Chiefs have acquired several free agents that stand to only strengthen their roster.
Today is the most essential part of building and sustaining chemistry. The draft gives you the ability to fill holes and add depth. Both are necessities for a team that is preparing to accomplish a feat that has only been done eight times before in the previous 103 years of the National Football League.