MIAMI — The fastest team in the NFL is not running from expectations.
No sooner had the Chiefs won their first Super Bowl in 50 years than players were hyping a possible repeat.
“This is the beginning of something,” Chris Jones said. “This is a dynasty.”
The Chiefs are the betting favorite to win Super Bowl 2021. How realistic is it?
The Patriots have been to nine Super Bowls and won six in the past 19 years — a stretch unmatched in NFL history.
There were four back-to-back champions in the first 14 Super Bowls — before free agency existed — and six in the first 28, but only the Broncos (1997-98) and Patriots (2003-04) have done it in the past 25 years. Four of the last five non-Patriots Super Bowl winners failed to make the playoffs the next season.
Here is a closer look at the factors that will figure into the making of a dynasty:
The Chiefs are No. 25 in salary-cap space ($18.9 million) in 2020. They only have a couple of pressing free-agent situations: Re-signing (or franchise tagging) Jones, who was the unofficial defensive MVP of the Super Bowl, and likely restructuring Sammy Watkins’ contract.
Most of the core is signed through 2022.
Time to break the bank for Patrick Mahomes. He is the No. 1 reason to think dynasty.
“Win another one,” Mahomes said of what’s next.
One of the key ingredients in the Patriots dynasty is Tom Brady’s willingness to be underpaid by market value because of other income sources.
Mahomes earned less than $2 million in 2019. The bargain price is a result of the rookie wage scale. This is why teams with young quarterbacks feel an urgency to win, not slowly build.
The Chiefs used the savings to build a star-studded roster because their quarterback’s salary-cap charge was about 15 percent of what Matt Stafford costs the Lions. That will change when Mahomes is extended and probably becomes the NFL’s first $40 million per year player, leaving less money to go around.
The Seahawks remain competitive while paying top dollar to Russell Wilson, so it can be done if Mahomes continues to elevate his teammates and others take less money to play with the 24-year-old phenom.
With apologies to wunderkinds Kyle Shanahan and Sean McVay, the Old Guard still rules.
Reid (221) no longer has the record for most regular-season wins without a Super Bowl victory. Next up for an active head coach is Ron Rivera, with just 79 career wins.
“I still enjoy doing what I’m doing,” Reid, 61, said. “I got this young quarterback that makes life easy.”
Offensive coordinator Eric Bienemy will eventually be a head coach, but defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo already failed as a head coach, so he could be in for the long haul. GM Brett Veach is only 40.
The quarterback landscape is overdue for change. Drew Brees, Tom Brady and Philip Rivers could all be out of the uniform each has worn since 2006, winning six Super Bowls in that span.
No matter where Brady lands, he will be a threat until retirement. Lamar Jackson and/or Deshaun Watson could be the foil that Peyton Manning was to Brady in his prime. Aaron Rodgers and Wilson could be waiting in a Super Bowl.
The Chiefs hold their own pick in each of the first five rounds of the 2020 NFL Draft and have not touched any of their capital for the 2021 draft. Selecting at the end of each round is an inherent disadvantage, but the Patriots have made a game (and won) of it by consistently trading back to accumulate quantity and cushion for risks. The Chiefs are comfortable gambling on character red flags for talent.
For more on Super Bowl 2020, listen to this episode of the “Gang’s All Here” podcast: