Even before they lifted the Vince Lombardi Trophy on Sunday night, there was talk about the Kansas City Chiefs establishing themselves as a new NFL dynasty — the first since the New England Patriots won six championships between 2001 and 2018. With their victory over the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LVII these debates are only intensifying.
So, are the Chiefs a dynasty now that they appeared in three of the last four title games with victories in 2019 and 2022? That depends on who you will ask, but the arguments are being made both on a national and a local level.
Sports Illustrated, for example, wrote that Patrick Mahomes Wanted a Dynasty; Now He Has One. KSHB41 in Kansas City, meanwhile, claimed that the quarterback and his team deliver Chiefs dynasty with 2nd Super Bowl in 4 years. And finally, the Boston Globe, argued that, Sorry Patriots fans, but these Chiefs are now a dynasty.
That third article in particular is a noteworthy one, because it directly adds the Patriots to the equation and debate over whether or not the Chiefs truly have established themselves as a dynastic presence. However, an argument can be made that the comparison between the two dominant clubs of their time are missing the point entirely — and, in fact, are a disservice to the accomplishments of both teams.
The Patriots’ achievements during the Tom Brady/Bill Belichick era are well documented. A record-tying six titles, nine total Super Bowl appearances, and 17 division titles. The franchise’s ability to sustain success over a two-decade span was unprecedented, and is used a benchmark for any team to come.
There is no arguing New England’s success. It was unprecedented, especially in the NFL’s salary cap era.
Being measured against that, a team can only lose. But why measure in the first place?
The Chiefs’ accomplishments, for example, have nothing to do with New England. While they may very well be on pace to one day match what the Patriots did under Brady and Belichick, it also is entirely likely they will not. But they are doing so independently of what the 2000s and 2010s Patriots did; one does not take away from the other.
Regardless of what happens in the future, after all, success speaks for itself. The Chiefs, for example, properly filled the vacuum in the AFC that was created when Tom Brady departed New England, effectively pulling the plug on the 20-year dynasty.
They have hosted five conference championship games and counting, starting their stretch in 2018 with a loss to these very same Patriots. The next two years, they advanced to the Super Bowl; they beat San Francisco in the first one, losing to the Brady-led Tampa Bay Buccaneers the following February. Two years after that, they were back on the game’s biggest stage and again earned a victory.
Is two wins in a four-year span worthy of dynasty considerations?
That is a subjective perspective, even though it is worth noting that virtually nobody is calling the 2005-2009 Pittsburgh Steelers — winners of two Super Bowls in a four-year span — a dynasty. It is also true that the term is being thrown around quite loosely these days (something that is also true when it comes to term “GOAT”).
For what it is worth, Patrick Mahomes himself would not talk about the “D” word after the game.
“We’ve got a long way to go to call ourselves a dynasty,” he said. “We’re going to keep fighting. We’ve got a lot of young dudes on this team. I like our chances next year as well.”
Nonetheless, what the Chiefs are doing is laying the foundation for what might one day be a dynasty; they are themselves making a strong case in favor of lofty projections. And if they were to reach that level no questions asked — i.e. by winning another championship within the next couple of years — that would not alter what the Patriots accomplished over the past two decades in any way, shape or form.
Comparing these two franchises’ dynastic(-ish) runs therefore leads nowhere. The Patriots dynasty is over, even with Bill Belichick still running the show (that does not mean they cannot rise from the ashes again). The Chiefs’ may or may not be only beginning.
The bottom line is this, though: Kansas City’s success is impressive and its status as the team of the 2020s legitimate. The same is true for New England, albeit in the two decades before.
Both teams found prolonged success in an era designed for parity. Both are led by Hall of Fame-caliber talent at key position. And both appear to just have that winning edge.
The Patriots were here to stay, and it looks like the Chiefs might just be as well. As far as comparisons are concerned, that is what the focus should be on. Not some arbitrarily-applied labeling.