- Without the Chiefs, the 2018 NFL season would be significantly less entertaining, leaving fans wondering if the game actually was in a downward spiral.
With 12:55 to go in a primetime blowout, the Chiefs, already leading by four touchdowns, called a play action pass.
Patrick Mahomes dropped the ball before any mesh action could take place with Kareem Hunt, picked it back up, took six steps to his left and buzzed a touchdown pass to Tyreek Hill in the corner of the end zone to make the score 45–10. Hill flopped on the ground pretending to be in need of resuscitation. Eric Fisher ran over and gave him CPR. Hill rose stiffly like a newly-sentient Frankenstein creature.
It was fantastic, even if the opponent was thoroughly beaten. It would take Kansas City another four minutes to start cycling out some of their starters, like a five-possession game was somehow too close for Andy Reid and the Chiefs. Just to be sure, they went for a fourth-and-four later on in the quarter.
Maybe Kansas City doesn’t realize that not every team can score points in Costco-sized bundles like they can. Or maybe they do realize the undeniable truth about the 2018 season: The NFL needs the Kansas City Chiefs. They are the greatest show in town for myriad reasons, and without them, we would still be wondering aloud if football was in a downward spiral. Watching them produces the same kind of visceral reaction one has to pummeling an opponent in Madden on rookie mode. The game is stretched to its outer limits merely for our entertainment. Most anything is possible.
Think about all the morose naval gazing their season has saved us from so far in 2018. Through seven games and six 300-yard performances, Patrick Mahomes has quieted the conversation about a drought at the quarterback position. Reid and his immediate coaching tree, sprinkled now in Philadelphia and Chicago, have quieted conversations about obsolete, dying offenses. Hill has regenerated the idea that a coach can regularly feature his most prolific athlete despite decades of coaches shrugging their shoulders and complaining about double-coverage.
It is now both accepted and expected that an NFL head coach look at the best offenses happening throughout all levels of football and find a way to incorporate them, instead of explaining away why it wouldn’t work in our league.
While the health of the game has been steadily improving, the Chiefs represented the monumental shove. The star power. The panache. The ingenuity. The thing that forces long-checked out channel flippers to become obsessed again.
Their prime-time game against the Patriots a week prior was one of the best regular season games of the past decade. They have at least three more featured night contests before the start of the postseason.
Think about all the space and time that will be devoted to a matchup against the undefeated Los Angeles Rams a month from now, even if the Rams manage to lose a game between now and then. Think about another season over the past five years with two night games worth sacrificing a night’s sleep for.
It’s easy now to talk about where the game is going and the limitless possibilities, but think about what it would have been like if Sunday night was another plodding snoozefest. Think about some other middling Chiefs quarterback firing quick slants in search of makeable field goals. Think about Mahomes being passed over because he was an air-raid passer, or worse—think about him being forced into an offense with no understanding of his potential or skill set.
In so many ways, Hill represented the league as he rose from the ground at the end of that choreographed bit Sunday night. Overnight, the NFL was reanimated. It was brought back to life.