By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — The Kansas City Chiefs winning the Super Bowl this year was a pretty great thing. A tremendous football market that waited 50 years for a title was rewarded. A longtime likable coach finally exorcised his postseason demons. The brightest young star in the game ascended to his rightful place. Everyone in football had to have been touched in some way by the Chiefs’ championship.
That’s all well and good, of course. But as so often applies in the world of the NFL, it’s time for the immortal words of Taylor Swift to enter the conversation.
You need to calm down.
The “you” in this conversation would be the Kansas City Chiefs themselves. One might imagine that winning a Super Bowl — aka completing the ultimate quest of every football player — would be enough to make Chiefs players happy. Alas, mere moments after beating the 49ers, both Travis Kelce and Chris Jones declared that a Chiefs dynasty had begun.
Maybe you could chalk that one up to youthful exuberance, being caught up in a moment and feeling indestructible. They don’t call it cloud nine for nothing.
Yet here months later, the dynastic promises continue. Jones recently reiterated his stance, tweeting “The Dynasty Continues” after signing his new deal with the Chiefs. He added to that bold claim in a radio interview.
“This is only the beginning. We plan to have another parade and another parade and another parade. We’re going to make sure we bring not one, not two, not three, not four, but five-plus rings to Kansas City,” Jones said. “It’s been 50 years of waiting, but the wait is over now. It’s time to create a dynasty.”
This is … most likely not going to happen. And setting out plans to win four more championships — after learning exactly how difficult it is to win one championship — is a lesson in setting oneself up for disappointment.
On Thursday, Chiefs wideout Tyreek Hill expressed some disagreement with Jones’ proclamation. Good! Some levelheadedness will serve that locker room well. Leaders need to be comfortable speaking out so that teammates’ words don’t get — wait, what’s that? Hmm. OK, I’m getting word that Hill actually thinks Jones undershot his prediction.
“Well, I’m not gonna say he’s telling a fib, you know? But Chris Jones, he’s definitely a man of his word, and we’re definitely creating something special here in K.C.” Hill said on First Take on ESPN. “So I don’t see why not. Why say five? Why not go seven rings, you know what I’m saying? So right now we’re just chasing Jordan. You know what I’m saying? So that’s what we do. So I’m going over five and I’m going to say seven.”
We could get into why this won’t and can’t happen. We could point out that the Steelers and Patriots have the most Super Bowls ever with “just” six apiece, which makes winning seven within certain players’ individual careers to be quite unlikely. We could note that since the end of the Cowboys’ brief dynasty in 1996, there have been six teams to win a Super Bowl without winning another one. There have been four teams that have won twice. There’s been one team — Denver — to win three. And there’s of course been one team that has won six.
That is the interesting part of this mindset adopted by the Chiefs. Chris Jones and Tyreek Hill were both born in 1994. They were 7-year-olds when the Patriots won their first title. As they’ve gone — as kids, and teens, into adults — all they’ve known is a world where one team can reign over the entire NFL for the better part of two decades. (Make no mistake: reaching nine Super Bowls in an 18-year span while winning six of them is the mark of unmistakable and unmatched dominance.) Substitute the name “Jordan” with “Brady” in that statement, and it’s a bit more honest.
From that perspective, players like Jones and Hill might look at the Patriots and see all of their accomplishment while also seeing a group of human beings. For Jones and Hill to look across the field at the Patriots and see peers and not superiors is the hallmark of competitive sports. It follows, then, that players would seemingly say, “If they can’t do it, why can’t we? We’re just as good.”
On some level, the logic follows. The Chiefs are great and they do have the best young player at the most important position in sports locked up for a long time.
But … many teams have been great and in similar boats. The Seahawks were the next dynasty in 2013, right up until Pete Carroll, Darrell Bevell and Russell Wilson conspired to throw it all away. The ’99 Rams were “The Greatest Show On Earth,” feeling a whole lot like the current-day Chiefs feel; then Super Bowl XXXVI kicked off, and NFL history was changed forever. The Colts had 13 years of Peyton Manning — the most prolific passer in NFL history — and have exactly one Super Bowl to show for it. A dozen years of Aaron Rodgers starting in Green Bay; one singular title. A solid 16 years of Brett Favre in the same place; again, one single Super Bowl. Drew Brees is a surefire Hall of Famer, and his Saints have routinely been one of the best teams in the NFL; they’ve won the Super Bowl once in his 14 years, and they’ve only won four total playoff games in the 10 years since.
A lot of those teams had the makings of a dynasty. None even came close to taking a second step.
There’s also the aspect of the Patriots essentially creating two separate dynasties. The only commonalities between the 2001-04 Patriots and the 2014-18 Patriots are Bill Belichick and Tom Brady, plus a small handful of assistant coaches. An entirely new generation of players had arrived in time for the run of four Super Bowl appearances in five years, with three victories. The general nature of the sport of football is such that nobody except the man who legitimately earned the GOAT moniker over a 20-plus-year career can experience nine Super Bowl appearances and six Super Bowl wins.
Even though that clearly happened with Brady and the Patriots … it just does not happen. That was a comet across the NFL sky, never to be replicated again. Quite literally every other piece of NFL history dictates that.
(Andy Reid is also 62 years old. The Chiefs would probably need to rattle off seven straight to get it done during his tenure.)
Perhaps Jones and Hill are just having some fun, basking in the glow of what has to be the sweetest professional feeling in the world. Still, they might want to start focusing more on championship number two before talking about their fifth or seventh parade. Through injuries, salary caps, contract disputes, draft picks, and a number of other factors designed for a league ruled by parity, football has a way of delivering swift doses of humility. Grand proclamations, in almost every instance, end up merely being words lost to the wind.
Or, put in much simpler terms … they need to calm down.