It was just four years ago when the underdog Kansas City Chiefs, led by Patrick Mahomes, the second-year quarterback and the 2018 NFL MVP, were unfairly booted from the AFC title game thanks to the league’s unbalanced approach to overtime—especially in the postseason.
Instead, those evil New England Patriots, the team that always got all of the calls—especially that damn Tom Brady—were on to their third-straight Super Bowl after taking the opening kickoff of overtime and driving 75 yards for the winning touchdown. It was bad enough that New England got its share of controversial calls during regulation, but for the Chiefs’ offense to not even have a shot to tie the score in overtime? That was a real miscarriage of justice.
If any of that—at least the postseason overtime part—sounds familiar to you, it’s because that’s what happened to the Buffalo Bills in the divisional round of the 2021/2022 NFL playoffs.
The Chiefs, the two-time defending AFC Champions and the winners of Super Bowl LIV, were now the beneficiaries of the league’s unbalanced overtime rule; after remarkably tying the game following Buffalo’s go-ahead score with mere seconds left in regulation, Kansas City advanced to its fourth-straight conference title game after taking the opening kickoff of overtime and driving right down the field for the winning touchdown.
If only those poor Bills had a chance to touch the ball on offense one more time.
By that point, the Chiefs were the new Patriots, meaning they were evil and lousy and got all the calls.
Mahomes was the new Brady. Head coach Andy Reid may not have been the new Bill Belichick. Still, he certainly wasn’t the sympathetic figure that he was for many years before finally reaching the Promised Land and winning his first Lombardi following the 2019 season.
Mahomes’ now wife, then fiancée was certainly evil in the eyes of the public. As for Mahomes brother? Believe it or not, he was living rent-free in the heads of many non-Chiefs fans.
It was quite the turnaround from Cinderella Chiefs to Conquering Chiefs.
Fast-forward to today. The Chiefs are clearly seen as the league’s new evil empire following their controversial 38-35 victory over the Eagles in Super Bowl LVII.
Kansas City has now won its second Super Bowl in four years. It’s been to the Big Game three times since 2019. Mahomes just won his second NFL MVP.
Oh yeah, Mahomes also captured his second Super Bowl MVP after putting up impressive numbers against Philadelphia, as well as leading his team down the field to set up the game-winning field goal with seconds left.
By the way, did you hear about that controversial defensive holding penalty on cornerback James Bradberry that gave the Chiefs a fresh set of downs with less than two minutes left and allowed them to essentially run out the clock before kicking the winning points?
You know why that happened? Because the NFL wanted the Chiefs to win. Why? I don’t know, maybe the league loves marketing evil empires.
After being a feel-good story through the early part of the decade, the ‘70s Steelers turned into an evil empire and always seemed to get the benefit of the doubt on most pivotal moments and plays, especially in the Super Bowl. Maybe this was why they captured four Lombardi trophies in six years.
The 49ers were a Cinderella story when they took on the evil Cowboys in the 1981 NFC title game at old Candlestick Park. The Catch was the 49ers’ Immaculate Reception and sent them to their first Super Bowl. By the end of the 1980s, however, the 49ers were the league’s new evil empire, as they captured their fourth Super Bowl behind that damn Joe Montana. “Don’t dare touch Montana,” everyone said. “He always gets the calls.”
After spending many years as the league’s doormat—including a 1-15 campaign in 1989—the once-evil Cowboys were an inspirational story, as they took on the still-evil 49ers in the 1992 NFL Championship Game at old Candlestick Park.
Dallas found a way to knock off the 49ers and was on its way to its first Super Bowl in 14 years.
By 1995, however, the Cowboys had become the same smug and evil jerks they were in the 1970s. Someone had paid off Steelers quarterback Neil O’Donnell to throw multiple interceptions in Super Bowl XXX, and Dallas snuck away with its third Lombardi trophy in four seasons.
I think you see the pattern here.
Heavy is the head that wears the crown.
Actually, in the NFL’s case, the team wearing the crown (or hoisting the latest Lombardi) doesn’t seem to mind the heft so much.
It’s the rest of America that can’t seem to deal with the weight of a new sports dynasty.
Hail to the Chiefs!
(I may or may not have been forced to say that.)