By Aly Trost
Sports Radio 810 WHB
There are only seven teams in the history of the National Football League that have won back-to-back Super Bowls. The Green Bay Packers (1966-67), Miami Dolphins (1972-73), Pittsburgh Steelers (1974-75 & 1978-79), San Francisco 49ers (1988-89), Dallas Cowboys (1992-93), Denver Broncos (1997-98) and New England Patriots (2003-04).
Now, the reigning Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs are hoping to become the eighth team to ever do it. After defeating the 49ers in Miami, FL in Super Bowl LIV, the Chiefs’ first Super Bowl championship in 50 years, the organization wasted no time in making sure their mission for next season was clear: get back to this exact same spot and win it again.
However, it won’t be an easy task. Nearly two decades have passed since a team has accomplished such a feat and as the list shows – not many teams have been able to do it. Quarterback Patrick Mahomes thinks he has an idea why.
“I think as a team, a lot of the time when you win that Super Bowl, you kind of relax because you feel like you’ve done it,” Mahomes said in a virtual press conference Friday. “You went out there and accomplished the goal and you relax a little bit that offseason.”
As for this Chiefs team? Well, they’re different.
“The little bit of difference that I think we have is, that it feels like every single guy on our team – once we won the Super Bowl – we definitely celebrated for about a week or two – it was that mindset of ‘we’re going to get back after it,” Mahomes said. “We want to do this again…I think that having that mindset will hopefully keep us from relaxing or anything like that, and I think that’s why teams don’t repeat. It’s such a hard league and there’s so much turnover that it’s hard to get that same spark and make that same run.”
And if there’s a coach out there who understands the challenge in successfully “running it back” like the Chiefs hope to do in 2020, head coach Andy Reid certainly makes the list.
“I’ve been on a back-to-back team going to the Super Bowl when I was an assistant, we ended up losing the second one (Green Bay Packers, 1997),” Reid said in a virtual press conference Friday. “I understand the intensity level that it takes to get there the first time. There’s a certain ‘climb the ladder’ attitude that takes place the first time. The second time that you go, some of those motivations, it’s not the same motivation that you had the first time. You really have to focus in on trying to be better, trying to challenge yourselves to be even greater than what you were that previous year.”
As Reid and the Chiefs now prepare for another Super Bowl run amidst a global pandemic, Reid says the obstacles and unusual circumstances they’re all working under aren’t going to stop them from getting to work — both mentally and physically.
“It’s a mindset, and it starts now,” Reid added. “So even though we’re doing this thing virtually, it starts now. There’s no time to waste. We’re not going to go, ‘Ok, we’ve got everybody coming back. We’re going to give you the same plays to run.’ No, we’re going to keep growing. I don’t think we came near to what we could be last year. Our defense was in their first year as a staff and with installations. Grow. Continue to grow. And want that, cherish that as a player. We’re giving you things to even be greater than what you are now. Likewise, on offense, we’re going to keep attacking that thing offensively and giving you things that you can really benefit from as a player and as a team.”
Wait, did Reid really say the team was not near to what they could’ve been last year? In a year that they won the Super Bowl? You read that right and, as it turns out, Reid isn’t alone in thinking that. Two of the team’s greatest leaders on both sides of the ball in Mahomes and safety Tryann Mathieu agreed with coach Reid’s assessment and also believe there is untapped potential, as well as plenty of room to grow in 2020.
“I mean it starts with me,” Mahomes said in response to hearing coach Reid’s statement. “There were times last year where I was kind of scrambling, trying to make the big play happen whenever the plays we needed weren’t there, and then as a unit, we saw a lot of different coverages than we saw the year before. We were trying to run the plays and hit those deep shots, but teams were playing a lot of deep coverage.”
Ahead of his third full season as a starter, Mahomes is ready to attack those challenges head-on and continue working with this offense in order to reach new heights.
“So, I think just trying to find that balance, kind of like I do at the quarterback position, of when to run the route this way or when to run the route this way, or if you can’t beat them over the top, find a way to get someone else open. Something that we’ll continue to work on,” Mahomes continued. “Defenses will continue to throw us different coverages and different things, but if we can progress and really become amazing at the fundamentals, then all the special talent that we have everywhere will really show when it needs to. And we’ll be able to take this offense and this team to the next level.”
On the defensive side, safety Tyrann Mathieu agreed.
“We could’ve been so much better, especially the production at the ball,” Mathieu said. “I think I dropped eight interceptions by myself. Just understanding that if you make certain plays, it would’ve completely changed how well we played. I thought we played well but it could’ve been great. So, I think that’s the motivation this year that we know we can really get better.”