Chiefs Highlight ESPN's All-Decade AFC West Team
ESPN.com released its All-Decade Team for the AFC West, and 11 Kansas City Chiefs highlighted the list, with a bit of a controversy at quarterback.
First, ESPN.com Chiefs reporter Adam Teicher proclaimed Patrick Mahomes the Chiefs' player of the decade.
"Mahomes played just three seasons for the Chiefs in the decade and was a starter for only two, but those seasons were spectacular enough to make him the pick here by a wide margin," Teicher wrote. "Mahomes' arrival in Kansas City transformed the franchise."
No argument from me. Teicher's honorable mention, Travis Kelce, also feels like the right choice for the runner-up spot.
For the full divisional team awards, Andy Reid was the clear choice for AFC West head coach of the decade, with or without his Lombardi trophy. Teicher notes that Reid took over the Chiefs after a 2-14 season and after the franchise had truly lost its way. Since then, the Chiefs have been a contender, then a champion.
Among the AFC West All-Decade Team, as voted on by ESPN's AFC West reporters, 11 Chiefs — including four active members — made the cut.
RB: Jamaal Charles (2008-16)
C: Rodney Hudson (Chiefs 2011-14, Raiders 2016-19)
RT: Mitchell Schwartz (2016-19)
TE: Travis Kelce (2013-19)
DT: Chris Jones (2016-19)
LB: Justin Houston (2011-18)
LB: Derrick Johnson (2005-17)
S: Eric Berry (2010-18)
KR: Knile Davis (2013-16)
PR: Tyreek Hill (2016-19)
P: Dustin Colquitt (2005-19)
Among the list, there are a few surprise exclusions and a couple of interesting choices.
At QB: Peyton Manning's time in Denver did include two All-Pro selections and three Pro Bowl selections, along with a Super Bowl in his final (and worst) season. Mahomes had just two seasons at QB in this decade, and though he did just about everything you could ask of him in those two years, I'm not bothered by the Manning edge.
Charles, Hudson, Schwartz, Kelce, Jones, Houston, Johnson, Berry and Colquitt all seem to be likely (no pun intended) stone-cold locks. At the very least, those spots feel accurate to me. Tamba Hali had an incredible first half of the decade as well, but Von Miller and Houston rightfully edge him out.
As far as snubs could go: Demaryius Thomas spent almost the full decade in Denver, and Keenan Allen was excellent when healthy, but both Thomas and Allen, and Emmanuel Sanders making the team over Tyreek Hill feels like an oversight. over 4,000 yards in four seasons, with 32 touchdowns and game-changing speed is difficult to ignore. Again, longevity matters in this exercise, but it's an argument I'd be willing to make.
On the other hand, Knile Davis and Hill as the decade's return specialists is a bit funny. Do you know how many punt return TDs Hill has for his career?
Four. Two in his rookie season, plus one kickoff taken to the house in his rookie year as well. None of this is to say that Hill isn't the game's most dynamic punt returner — he likely is, and is probably the correct pick for the position — but is to note that he just didn't do it all that much. Hill had 39 punt returns as a rookie, then a combined 45 returns in his next two seasons, plus one more (not returned) in 2019.
Do I have a point? Not really. It's just an odd quirk of the return game. If you're good enough at it, you usually end up also playing elsewhere. If you're good at that, you probably stop returning kicks.
It's a similar story for Davis. With one kickoff taken back for a touchdown in each of his first two seasons and another one in the playoffs of his third, he had some excellent moments. However, with his very short run at the position, he doesn't statistically qualify to be included in some lists of all-time returners.
Who do you think missed the cut but should have made the team? Did any Chiefs make the list but shouldn't have? Discuss the list in the comments section below!