A Painful Lesson for the Chiefs: It’s Onerous to Repeat as Champions

A Painful Lesson for the Chiefs: It’s Onerous to Repeat as Champions

If the Kansas Metropolis Chiefs wanted a reminder of how tough it’s to repeat as Tremendous Bowl champions, they wanted solely look throughout the sector at Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady.

Brady received a file seventh Tremendous Bowl on Sunday evening because the Buccaneers dominated Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs on their strategy to a 31-9 victory in Tampa, Fla.

He has appeared in 10 of the final 20 Tremendous Bowls. However he has received two in a row simply as soon as, within the 2003 and 2004 seasons. Just like the New England Patriots within the 2017 season and the Seattle Seahawks within the 2014 season, the 2020 Chiefs failed of their bid to win a second straight title.

“I believe what makes it such a problem is it’s exhausting to win one Tremendous Bowl,” Brady instructed reporters final week. “You can’t go purchase a soccer group. It’s important to develop gamers.”

The Buccaneers, coached by Bruce Arians, had lots of younger expertise, however their roster was largely constructed within the low season after they signed Brady, tight finish Rob Gronkowski, working again Leonard Fournette and others.

The Chiefs, although, appeared destined to repeat. They completed the common season with an N.F.L.-best 14-2 file and had been favorites heading into the Tremendous Bowl. Their offense seemed unstoppable with quarterback Mahomes, final 12 months’s Tremendous Bowl most useful participant, enjoying nicely.

However earlier than the sport, Mahomes acknowledged that parity within the N.F.L. made it tough for groups to repeat as champions.

“I imply, actually, you would be the worst group within the league one 12 months and work all the best way as much as the Tremendous Bowl the subsequent,” he mentioned.

The wage cap, which limits how a lot cash groups can spend on participant contracts, is a giant cause for that parity. That wasn’t the case a long time in the past. The Inexperienced Bay Packers received the primary two Tremendous Bowls within the Nineteen Sixties, and the Miami Dolphins and the Pittsburgh Steelers pulled repeat wins within the Seventies. (The Steelers did it twice.)

Quarterback Joe Montana led the San Francisco 49ers to consecutive titles within the Eighties, and the Dallas Cowboys had been repeat champions within the early Nineties. However because the N.F.L. launched a wage cap in 1994, solely the Patriots and John Elway’s Denver Broncos have repeated.

As is commonly the case within the N.F.L., accidents can derail groups right away. The Chiefs struggled on Sunday, partially, as a result of they had been lacking their two beginning offensive tackles, together with Eric Fisher, the most effective tackles within the sport, who missed the Tremendous Bowl after tearing an Achilles’ tendon two weeks in the past.

Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, an offensive guard who has a medical diploma, opted out of the 2020 season to work in his native Canada to assist fight the coronavirus. Deal with Mitchell Schwartz performed solely the primary six weeks of the season earlier than injuring his again.

The Chiefs additionally confronted a last-minute teaching change. Their exterior linebackers coach, Britt Reid — the son of the top coach, Andy Reid — missed Sunday’s sport after being concerned in a automobile crash in Kansas Metropolis, Mo., on Thursday evening.

The Buccaneers took benefit. They sacked Mahomes 3 times and pressured him on 29 of his 56 drop backs, based on ESPN Stats & Information, essentially the most in Tremendous Bowl historical past. Mahomes spent a lot of the sport scrambling from defenders behind the road of scrimmage. He threw two interceptions, no touchdowns, and wanted 49 passes to build up simply 270 yards, most of them late within the sport.

Retaining a roster that has made it to a few consecutive A.F.C. championship video games will likely be tough. The Chiefs are nearly $18 million over subsequent 12 months’s wage cap, based on Over the Cap, an impartial web site that tracks N.F.L. contracts and salaries. Plenty of key gamers are free brokers, amongst them receivers Sammy Watkins and Demarcus Robinson, heart Austin Reiter and defensive backs Daniel Sorensen and Bashaud Breeland.

The Chiefs will face one other hurdle: The wage cap, which is predicated on the league’s complete income, was about $198 million this season. It might fall to as little as $175 million subsequent season as a result of the league misplaced billions of {dollars} in ticket gross sales in the course of the pandemic.

For his or her half, the Buccaneers may have an estimated $28.9 million in cap house, which is able to give them room to re-sign gamers and appeal to free brokers.

The Chiefs will, nevertheless, retain Mahomes, a transcendent quarterback who signed a 10-year contract final summer time value as much as $500 million. At solely 25, he has a few years forward — barring harm — to match Brady, Elway, Montana, Troy Aikman, Terry Bradshaw, Bob Griese and Bart Starr as quarterbacks who’ve received back-to-back Tremendous Bowls.

After the sport, a downtrodden Mahomes acknowledged the problem of profitable within the N.F.L. “After we joined collectively we knew it wasn’t going to at all times achieve success and we weren’t going to have the ability to win a thousand championships in a row,” he mentioned. “We knew we’d undergo instances like this, by way of adversity.”

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