The sports world moves at such a furious pace, much like the rest of our lives, the confetti is barely on the ground before we start asking what's next. The Chiefs zoomed past the Niners Sunday to win their first Super Bowl in half a century, but all anyone can talk about is when it'll happen again. Sure, the Chiefs have a relatively young team, the Patriots machine is dead, and they may have the best quarterback in the league. But let Kansas City enjoy this one please, before we start penciling them in as a new dynasty.
There have been a number of squads that smelled like "the next great team" but never got there. Most recently the Seahawks checked all the boxes. In fact, I was a guest on the NFL Network immediately after Seattle destroyed the Broncos and was asked if they could be a budding dynasty.
"I think there's a really good comparison between this Seahawks team and the '92 Cowboys," I said at the time. "I realize there's a lot of work to do, but what you have is a college coach coming into the NFL, with a young team, built through the draft. With a very strong defense, you have all of your critical pieces in place at a very early age, and you win quick. Remember, the Cowboys basically win in Year 3... and you can kinda say the Seahawks did it in Year 2... The window is really wide open."
We all know how that ended, on a failed throw into the end zone the following year against the Patriots. The franchise never emotionally recovered. Resentment toward the QB's new contract festered. Frustration with the coaches boiled. Players left in free agency. Stars retired. The Seahawks strangled the best offense of the decade and yet haven't even been back to the NFC Title Game since '14.
There's been plenty of examples of would-be dynasties faltering after one title. The Bucs' historic defense won the Super Bowl in '02, but they never got back. The Colts' dynamic offense behind Hall of Famers Peyton Manning, Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne got their first in '06, but were defined by their bad playoff losses. The Packers and Saints had two of the greatest quarterbacks of all-time, Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees, but after their two Lombardi Trophies they never even made another Super Bowl.
The Chiefs didn't help matters by throwing gasoline on the fire. At the parade Andy Reid made reference to being back at City Hall next year. “Next year, we’re coming right back here,” Big Red said. “One more time, baby. One more time.” Tyreek Hill proclaimed the same. “You all go ahead and get your tickets because you all are going to be in this same spot next year.”
The history of championship rallies are littered with teams living in the moment and predicting the repeat, from the Showtime Lakers to the Jordan Bulls. But in the NFL teams don't collect titles in bunches like the NBA. The Patriots are the exception to the rule. While New England has enjoyed two dynasties woven together ('01-'04 and '14-'18), the last team to repeat before them was those early '90s Cowboys. That's nearly 30 years ago.
It's brutal trying to keep a nucleus together in the modern NFL, especially if you allocate monster cash to your QB. That's something the Chiefs will have to do with Patrick Mahomes. And while he appears to be the skeleton key to every question in the defense playbook, Mahomes can't carry an entire team to championships without help.
Chiefs Kingdom is one of the best fan bases in all of sports. They have packed Arrowhead every Sunday for three decades, making the Truman Sports Complex one of the best scenes in the NFL. Driving over the rolling hills, watching the BBQ smoke rise up in a cloud, the sea of red-and-white across acres of parking lot is a spiritual experience. I spent five glorious football seasons soaking it in in Kansas City, making lifelong friends with hard core Chiefs fans, and hosting players shows at sports bars across the city. It's a magical place to play. It's an even more magical place to win. But let the team and the city live in the moment. Because nothing is guaranteed in the NFL. Not even with Mahomes.