Are we ready to use the d-word with regard to Patrick Mahomes and the Super Bowl LVII champion Chiefs? Let’s consider their current standard of excellence and see just how much further they can go.
After winning their second Super Bowl championship in four seasons following their fifth consecutive AFC Championship appearance, the Kansas City Chiefs are still not a dynasty in the eyes of their franchise star. As quarterback Patrick Mahomes said quite simply after KC bested the Philadelphia Eagles 38-35 in Super Bowl LVII on Feb. 12, “We’re not done.”
Pat, two things can be true. It’s time to argue that a Chiefs dynasty is truly upon us.
Think about it: There’s a clear distinction between who Mahomes is and who the other QBs are up and down the league in a league filled with up-and-coming talent; Kansas City’s signal-caller now owns two NFL MVP awards and two Super Bowl MVP trophies in just five years as a starter. In that spirit, there’s a clear distinction between the Chiefs and every other team in the NFL — let’s not get that twisted up.
You think about guys like Josh Allen, Joe Burrow, Lamar Jackson, Justin Herbert, and the Eagles’ Jalen Hurts leading the pack of young QBs — and all are on their way to superstardom.
But none of those players has hoisted the Lombardi Trophy and none is Patrick Mahomes.
Playing with a high-ankle sprain suffered against the Jaguars in the AFC Divisional Round, Mahomes casually threw for three TDs while running (or hobbling) for 44 yards in Super Bowl LVII. The Eagles — who led the NFL in sacks this season — failed to reach Mahomes in the backfield as he single-handedly erased a 10-point deficit to propel Kansas City to Sunday’s thrilling victory.
With Tom Brady having just retired for good, Mahomes now has the most Super Bowl rings among active QBs with a tidy two. He’s 27, and his principal ring-blessed rivals — Matthew Stafford, Russell Wilson, and Aaron Rodgers — are all 34 years or older.
And not only has the dynasty in Kansas City just begun, but Mahomes’ long path toward potentially becoming the GOAT has received another major jolt. He did it on one leg. He did it without Tyreek Hill (or a true WR1). And he did it with the ninth-youngest team in the entire NFL.
Oh, and the Chiefs have won two championships and 75 games (including the playoffs) since 2018. Only the 2003-07 Patriots (77 wins) have won more games in a five-year span. Let’s see what’s gone right, why Kansas City’s dynasty has already begun, and how they sustain it.
Patrick Mahomes Is Him
There’s a reason why Mahomes was able to sign the largest contract in US sports history back in 2020. He became the youngest quarterback ever to be named a Super Bowl MVP at that time, and signed a 10-year, $450 million deal to remain decked out in red and yellow until he’s 37 in 2032. He’s several rings short of Tom Brady — we’re not ready to go there yet — but in terms of sheer talent and trajectory, he’s already up there among many of the greatest of all time.
The Mahomes GOAT Trajectory
- The QB joined Brady and Joe Montana as the only players with two league MVPs, two Super Bowl rings, and two Super Bowl MVP awards.
- He accomplished the above feat in half the amount of time it took either of them.
- He has the best win percentage when trailing by 10+ points in NFL history (58.4). For reference, Brady (37.8) and Montana (37.0) are second and third, respectively.
- He became the first player in history to win multiple championships and multiple league MVPs within his first six NFL seasons.
- During the 2022 season, Mahomes led the league in passing yards and TDs while winning both league and Super Bowl MVP. Brady, Peyton Manning, and Kurt Warner are the only others to accomplish this — once each — throughout their entire careers.
As Michael Jordan famously said, “I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”
“I appreciate it because of the failures,” Mahomes echoed after Super Bowl LVII. “I mean, the failure of losing a Super Bowl and losing the AFC Championship game gives you a greater appreciation to be standing here as a champion.”
You build a culture, identity, and ultimately a dynasty by finding and developing the right talent. When they blossom, you surround them with the right pieces. They lost Tyreek Hill to Miami, leaving Mahomes with JuJu Smith-Schuster as the WR1. Clyde Edwards-Helaire struggled early so rookie Isiah Pacheco and veteran Jerick McKinnon had to step up.
But the core of drafted Chiefs players ultimately propelled them up to this point — five of seven 2023 Pro Bowl selections were drafted by the team. Among the major homegrown names that made this year’s Super Bowl triumph possible:
- Mahomes: What more needs to be said?
- Travis Kelce: 16 career postseason receiving TDs, second-most in NFL history (Jerry Rice, 22).
- Isiah Pacheco: Became the first seventh-round draft pick ever to score a Super Bowl TD.
- Chris Jones: Finished tied for No. 2 in the NFL in sacks this season (15.5).
Pending Free Agents
The Chiefs spent $216.6 million this offseason, the ninth-lowest total across all 32 teams, and they have $11,046,422 in 2023 cap space as of this writing — 12th-most in the NFL. That’s good news for a team that needs to bring back some key names, which include:
WR JuJu Smith-Schuster
- Age: 26
- Expiring contract: 1 year, $3,760,000
- 2022 salary: $8,260,000
OT Orlando Brown Jr.
- Age: 26
- Expiring contract: 1 year, $16,662,000 (franchise tag)
- 2022 salary: $16,662,000
RB Jerick McKinnon
- Age: 30
- Expiring contract: 1 year, $1,272,500
- 2022 salary: $1,187,500
Check out the full list of Chiefs free agents here.
If there’s anything to be said about Patrick Mahomes, it’s that we might not have ever seen a player like him before. He lost Tyreek Hill and still had one of the best statistical seasons of his still-young career, not to mention that Travis Kelce is on the books through 2026 and head coach Andy Reid is under contract himself through the 2025 season.
Talk about continuity within a culture — this is the core that unlocks the sort of dynastic status in the years to come that’s undisputed. If Mahomes and the Chiefs have taught us anything, it’s that they’re not here just to be part of the conversation around a Chiefs dynasty — they can become the greatest there ever was. No. 15 is on the books for another nine years, and he’s already shown that he can execute the unthinkable at 27.
What should make us believe that he’s slowing down anytime soon, or that there’s a likely candidate to stop him?
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