The Kansas City Chiefs and Chiefs kingdom are still enjoying their Superbowl victory. Kansas City beat the Eagles and secured their second Superbowl trophy in the last four years. The NFL offseason is here, and the Chiefs have to defend their championship. Defending the championship starts with having a successful 2023 season. For the Kansas City Chiefs success means winning over 10 games. Success also means winning the AFC West.
Winning in the NFL is a tough task. Teams must manage injuries, be mentally prepared for each game, and run a marathon each season. Kansas City took an unorthodox approach to winning in 2022.
Kansas City Chiefs Unorthodox Approach
Kansas City’s unorthodox approach started last off-season. General Manager Brett Veach traded Tyreek Hill to Miami for draft capital. Many fans and sports analysts wondered how the Chiefs would fare without one of the best players in the NFL.
Veach and Head Coach Andy Reid decided to change the structure of their team. Veach and Reid acquired Juju Smith-Schuster, Justin Watson, and Marquez Valdes-Scantling. The acquisitions were made to address the wide receiver position. Smith-Schuster, Watson, and Valdes-Scantling made significant plays and helped the Chiefs win games.
Now you may be asking what do you mean by unorthodox. Instead of signing a big name, the Chiefs brought in players with different skill sets. In the past, the Chiefs were known for having a lot of speed at the receiver position. Tyreek Hill was a Swiss-army knife who could take the top off defenses.
The Chief’s offense was more balanced and every player had a specific role. Despite not having a true number-one receiver the Chiefs won the Superbowl. Many NFL teams like to have star receivers. Kansas City showed that you can win without one.
Defensively the Chiefs started multiple rookies. Kansas City’s rookie corners struggled early in the season. However, they improved during the season and made game-changing plays in the playoffs. Most NFL teams wouldn’t start four rookie corners in an AFC Championship game. George Karlaftis also made significant plays during his rookie campaign.
A Lesson to Other Teams
For the longest time, NFL teams and fans have thought you need star receivers and a top defense to win a Superbowl. Sports analysts constantly criticize teams that don’t have “star talent” or a “number one receiver.” The Kansas City Chiefs disproved those claims. I think you need a great head coach, a great quarterback, a good offensive and defensive line, a great tight end, and versatile wide receivers.
Having a great tight end helps because he acts as a security blanket. Additionally, great tight ends are mismatches. Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski won multiple Super Bowls together. Wide receivers are important, but they can be bracketed during games. Kansas City’s receivers were making plays every week. Defenses didn’t know who to cover and a different receiver would have a big game. Offenses are harder to defend when they have multiple weapons that can make plays.
Kansas City’s defense has been in the middle of the pack in recent years. Kansas City has never had a great defense with Andy Reid. Despite that, the Chief’s defense stepped up in the playoffs. The defense made big plays against the Jaguars and did a good job against a potent Bengal’s offense.
I realize not every team can be the Kansas City Chiefs. Different teams have different philosophies on what is required to win. However, the Chiefs have been the cream of the crop for over five years. They’ve hosted multiple AFC Championship games. won consecutive AFC West crowns, and have been hunted by teams trying to get over the hump. If the Chiefs keep winning on the biggest stages, a shift could occur for other NFL teams.