Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs are riding high, fresh off a Super Bowl win. They’ve paired one of the best quarterbacks in football with one of the best coaches. They also have plenty of offensive weapons and a talented defense. In short, there’s never been a better time to be a Chiefs fan.
But the NFL often stands for “Not For Long” — you’re only as good as your last victory. If the Chiefs thought winning a title was tough, they should see how hard it is to repeat. It hasn’t been easy for Super Bowl winners in their post-championship seasons, particularly in the last five years. Let’s look at the disastrous list Mahomes and the Chiefs are trying to avoid.
The Chiefs’ magical 2019-20 season
Mahomes assumed starting QB duties in 2018 and immediately lit the league on fire. The league MVP nearly got the Chiefs to the Super Bowl before they blew the AFC championship game to the eventual champion Patriots. Some feared Mahomes’ season was a fluke. In 2019, however, Mahomes had another fantastic year, returning the Chiefs to the playoffs.
The team got to the Super Bowl against the San Francisco 49ers and actually trailed late into the fourth quarter. Mahomes stepped up big when it counted, however. He led a fourth-quarter comeback that clinched the franchise’s first title in several decades. It was also the first Super Bowl win for Andy Reid, who’d struggled to win a title in many attempts with Kansas City and Philadelphia.
The dreaded ‘Super Bowl hangover’
If you’re an NFL fan in general, you’ve likely heard the term “Super Bowl hangover.” According to CBS Sports, that’s a reference to Super Bowl losers having trouble competing at a high level the year following an appearance in the NFL’s crown jewel game. Only eight teams have been able to return to the Super Bowl the season following a championship loss. Only three of those teams were able to actually win the game.
What’s the cause of this? It could be that simply getting to the Super Bowl takes a lot out of a team. Many times, players who contributed to a successful campaign can leave via free agency, leaving the Super Bowl losing team trying to fill gaps. Of course, the Chiefs didn’t lose the game, they won it. But do they have anything to worry about as far as a Super Bowl hangover?
The disastrous list the Chiefs are trying to avoid
The Chiefs obviously want to get back to the Super Bowl this year. But if history is any indicator, they may have trouble even winning their division.
According to Yahoo Sports, oddsmakers have made the Chiefs clear favorites to win the AFC West next year. But in the past five seasons alone, five teams that made the Super Bowl failed to win their division the following year. Those teams include:
- 2018 LA Rams
- 2017 Philadelphia Eagles
- 2016 Atlanta Falcons
- 2015 Carolina Panthers and Denver Broncos
So what’s the likelihood the Chiefs avoid this fate? Pretty high actually, based on the rest of the division. The Denver Broncos are still in something of a rebuilding phase with a young quarterback. The Las Vegas Raiders have a new stadium and some talent but still seem a ways away from competing.
The LA Chargers said goodbye to their franchise quarterback Philip Rivers and may also struggle to compete. Still, the Chiefs need to stay healthy and produce on the field. Otherwise, they could fall into the same trap as the aforementioned teams.