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Dynasty Not Guaranteed: Savor the Present Without Predicting the Future

Nothing is guaranteed in the NFL, so savor what the Chiefs are doing without predicting the future.
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Special things are going on in Kansas City right now. You have exciting futures in baseball with a great generation of players coming in soon for the Kansas City Royals and a downtown stadium for the team being proposed. The soccer scene is in an exciting place as the city waits to find out if Arrowhead Stadium will host World Cup games in 2026. Still, the city's crown jewel remains the Kansas City Chiefs.

The Chiefs are not exactly the most historic or successful franchise in football history when looking beyond the current times. Prior to Andy Reid, the Chiefs had six division titles in the 44 years since their Super Bowl victory in 1969, including a two-decade-long drought from winning their division from 1972 to 1992. They also went two decades without a playoff win, spanning from 1993 (following their AFC Championship Game loss to the Buffalo Bills) to 2015 (prior to their 30-0 victory against the Houston Texans). The Alex Smith era brought the Chiefs some of their greatest success stories since Len Dawson and Hank Stram were running the team back in the day, so that is certainly a major indication of how rough some of the Chiefs' history can be. That, however, was before Patrick Mahomes came to town.

We are witnessing a golden era of Chiefs football. Sunday's game against the Cincinnati Bengals will be the fourth consecutive AFC Championship Game held at Arrowhead, the first time a team has hosted four consecutive conference championship games in NFL history. It is the seventh AFC Championship appearance in Chiefs' history, with the previous three coming in 1966, 1969 and 1993. The fact that this franchise now has more conference title game appearances in the last four years than the previous 55 years really shows both the height of Chiefs football now and the depths of how it played out for much of the team's history. Patrick Mahomes has been, of course, the main catalyst for this success. The Chiefs' regular season record with Mahomes starting is 50-13, and the Chiefs' postseason record with Mahomes is 8-2 with one or two more games coming in the next couple of weeks. 

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) celebrates with the Vince Lombardi Trophy after Super Bowl LIV win over the 49ers at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Feb. 2, 2020. [ALLEN EYESTONE/The Palm Beach Post] Super Bowl Kansas City Chiefs Vs San Francisco 49ers © Allen Eyestone via Imagn Content Services, LLC

This type of success can make just about every Chiefs fan feel like Kansas City is about to host 15 years of nothing but Super Bowls and MVPs. Just keep in mind that this incredible prominence can end in a split-second, even with the most important pieces staying together and performing at an elite level.

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Sure, we've seen the six-time Super Bowl-winning New England Patriots and the seven-time Super Bowl-winner Tom Brady pull off a two-decade-long dynasty, and perhaps the Chiefs are set to take that torch. On the other hand, there's Peyton Manning, who only won two Super Bowls and made just three. Drew Brees made and won only one Super Bowl while paired with Sean Payton for 15 years in New Orleans. Aaron Rodgers has not played in a Super Bowl in 11 years, despite making it to four NFC Championships with five first-round byes and three NFC one-seeds, including each of the last two seasons. Russell Wilson made the Super Bowl in his second and third seasons in the league, winning one and coming just a couple of yards short of another, and he has yet to make another in the seven years since then with no signs of that changing soon.

Then there's the famous historic example of Dan Marino, one of the best quarterbacks in the history of football, who made a Super Bowl in his second season after throwing for a record-shattering 5,084 yards (breaking the previous record by over 200 yards) and 48 touchdowns (breaking the previous record by 12 touchdowns) and never making the Super Bowl again over his remaining 15 years. A superstar quarterback can still suffer underachieving team results.

Jan 19, 2020; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid celebrates with the Lamar Hunt Trophy after beating the Tennessee Titans in the AFC Championship Game at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

It's easy to take this all for granted with historic success and an incredible young quarterback leading the way. Just be sure to remember these other stories and recognize that elite quarterback play can still come up short. Expectations should be high, but you never know when things could start going downhill. Perhaps the Chiefs become the next super-dynasty in the footsteps of the '70s Steelers, '80s 49ers, or 2000s-'10s Patriots. Or perhaps this is the last time we see this group competing for a championship, going the path of Manning, Brees, Rodgers, Wilson and Marino.

The Chiefs are not going to be a football superpower forever. They will not have Patrick Mahomes and Andy Reid forever. And, in a way, that's okay. What's important is to savor what you are seeing right now just a little bit more and enjoy it to the fullest.