The Chiefs’ Pursuit of a Three-Peat Is Under Way

Their triumph at Las Vegas puts them in prime position to win three Super Bowl titles in a row.

AP Photo/John Locher
Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes celebrates after the Super Bowl against the San Francisco 49ers, February 11, 2024, at Las Vegas. AP Photo/John Locher

There is a parade to stage, rings to distribute, and an off-season of accolades to enjoy. Once all the confetti is picked up, though, the Kansas City Chiefs will begin the process of trying to do what no one else has done in the National Football League — win three consecutive Super Bowls.

The Chiefs became the eighth franchise to win back-to-back Super Bowls by defeating the San Francisco 49ers, 25-22, Sunday night in a thrilling overtime game at Allegiant Stadium at Las Vegas. Kansas City joins the New England Patriots (2003-04), the Niners (1988-89), the Green Bay Packers (1966-67), the Dallas Cowboys (1992-93), the Pittsburgh Steelers (1974-75, 1978-79), the Miami Dolphins (1972-73), and the Denver Broncos (1997-98) in winning consecutive Super Bowls.

The Chiefs quarterback, Patrick Mahomes, said: “I’m going to celebrate and then I’m going to do everything I can to be back to this game next year and try to go for that three-peat.” He passed for 333 yards and two touchdowns to beat the Niners with a walk-off scoring pass to wide receiver Mecole Hardman on Kansas City’s first possession of overtime.

By winning their third Super Bowl in five seasons, the Chiefs are fueling talk of a dynasty at Kansas City. A three-peat would solidify that notion, but plenty of obstacles stand in the way of the Chiefs reaching Super Bowl LIX at New Orleans.

Among the potential obstacles is the hiring of eight new coaches. Andy Reid has now won three Super Bowls in four trips since arriving at Kansas City in 2013, proving the impact the right head coach can have on a franchise.

New coaches Raheem Morris (Atlanta), Dave Canales (Carolina), Antonio Pierce (Las Vegas), Jim Harbaugh (Los Angeles Chargers), New England (Jerod Mayo), Mike Macdonald (Seattle), Brian Callahan (Tennessee), and Dan Quinn (Washington) are gunning to build their teams into championship contenders, with dethroning the Chiefs as their ultimate goal.

Mr. Harbaugh’s hiring by the Chiefs’ AFC West rival, the Chargers, could have the most immediate impact, considering he won the national championship at Michigan this year and has the talented Justin Herbert as his franchise quarterback.

While some teams aim to improve with coaching changes, others took major steps forward on the field this year, including the Houston Texans, Cleveland Browns, Buffalo Bills, Baltimore Ravens, and Miami Dolphins, all of which made the playoffs in the AFC. The Dallas Cowboys, the Philadelphia Eagles, the Detroit Lions, and the 49ers all figure to be serious contenders again next season. 

“The parity in this league is ridiculous,” Mr. Reid told reporters at Las Vegas, adding, “Back-to-back is rare air for this football team and this organization. I don’t know what a dynasty is, but this is a great win because I know how hard it is to do and how hard the season was.”

The NFL Combine on February 26 at Indianapolis, followed by the 2024 NFL Draft on April 25 at Detroit, officially inaugurate preparations for next season. Three quarterbacks — Caleb Williams (USC), Jayden Daniels (LSU), and Drake Maye (North Carolina) — could be selected with the top three picks. Those slots belong to the Chicago Bears, Washington Commanders, and New England Patriots. The Chargers have the fifth pick overall, the same spot where they drafted Junior Seau (1990) and LaDainian Tomlinson (2001), who became Hall of Famers.

The Chiefs, who as the champions will draft last, play a difficult non-division schedule next season, with games against the Cincinnati Bengals, New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Bucs, Falcons, Panthers, Browns, Steelers, Texans, Bills, Ravens, and Niners.

It will be difficult, though, to bet against the Chiefs. Mr. Mahomes, at 28 years of age, is just entering his prime. He is a three-time Super Bowl Most Valuable Player and a two-time NFL MVP with three wins in four trips to the Big Game. The Chiefs won their latest Lombardi with a lackluster group of wide receivers and the youngest defense in the NFL. They are masters at dealing with adversity and distractions.

The Chiefs recovered from a late-season slump where they lost four of six games. The team never flinched with all the attention surrounding Travis Kelce’s romance with pop star Taylor Swift.

Early odds have the Niners favored to win the championship next year, when the Super Bowl is scheduled for the Superdome at New Orleans. The Chiefs are second followed by the Ravens, Bills, Lions, Bengals, and Cowboys.

A three-peat will be difficult, but possible. The Packers were treble champions of the National Football League twice before the merger, winning in 1929-31 and 1965-67. There are teams among the four major North American professional sports teams that have won three straight titles, most recently the 2000-02 Los Angeles Lakers of the National Basketball Association, the 1998-2000 New York Yankees in baseball, and the 1997-2000 Houston Comets of the Women’s National Basketball Association.

Mr. Mahomes seems up for the challenge. “Once you win those championships and you get the parade and you get those rings, you’re not the champs anymore,” he said. “You have to come back with the same mentality. That’s my mindset.”

The New York Sun

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