Kansas City Chiefs 2017 Season Recap
It's hard to believe that a labor point has had such a profound effect on the field of play in professional football. Due to the restrictions on padded full contact practice, many teams don't round into form until October. So what happens to those squads who make hay in September? Our upcoming case study may become the norm instead of the outlier if the league's collective bargaining agreement doesn't alter this particular facet.
Kansas City Chiefs
2017 Record: 10-6
2016 Record: 12-4
Win Differential: -2
What Happened: The Chiefs could not have started off hotter. After a convincing victory over the New England Patriots on Kickoff Thursday, who were prohibitive favorites to be in the Super Bowl and the eventual AFC champions, KC reeled off 4 consecutive wins for a 5-0 record with an offense that appeared to be the envy of the league. But after opposing teams picked up tape on the Chiefs, they cooled off, finishing 5-6 the rest of the way. Their hot start, along with general maladies plaguing their divisional rivals, assured the Chiefs of the AFC West crown. However, their season ended in ignominy at the hands of the Tennessee Titans, who in their first playoff appearance in a decade came back from an 18 point halftime deficit to shock the Arrowhead Stadium crowd. This, regrettably, has been KC's modus operandi for far too long: turn in a very good regular season, often winning the division to secure at least one postseason home game, then inexplicably lay the biggest egg of the year at the worst possible time. Chiefs brass decided to make a bold move for the sake of their future.
What To Expect: Veteran quarterback Alex Smith has played well in his time with the Chiefs. He shows that talented players need to be surrounded by good teammates and sound coaching to make a good impression. But entering 2018, Smith has two knocks, and both involve his age. As he will enter his 14th pro season, his potential has more than likely been reached, and his remaining time as a player is limited. Add to this KC spending a first round draft pick on Patrick Mahomes last year, and the table was set for this off-season. Smith was traded to the Washington Redskins, which means now the Chiefs enter the Mahomes era. Mahomes in limited action largely relegated to the preseason, showed the raw talent to be a solid player at this level. With an organizational structure in place, there is a belief that he could become a franchise cornerstone that would make the Chiefs perennial title contenders. But for now, with Mahomes getting on the job training and a defense that will oversaw veteran departures of their own, 2018 could be a down year. However, with Reid as the head coach and both a division and conference without a clear power hierarchy, Kansas City could feasibly win the AFC West yet again and host a playoff game with a new cast of marquee players. We'll find if the future of this franchise is sooner rather than later.