Unlike Mike: The Way the Chiefs' Dynasty Will Be Different than Michael Jordan's Bulls
The Kansas City Chiefs are going to win all of their games this season. I don’t know if I actually believe that, I just know confident declarative statements like that will spread further and faster than me saying I don’t know for sure how many games the Chiefs will win this season.
As the Chiefs’ little baby dynasty starts to grow into a big boy dynasty, the comparisons to other big boy dynasties will continue to appear. One of the more popular comparisons is Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs to Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls.
While the comparison has existed since pretty much the moment Mahomes revealed himself as an MJ-like alien with abilities no one had seen previous to his arrival, the likeness has been noted even more among Chiefs fans during the ESPN docuseries on the Bulls 1997-98 swan-song season The Last Dance. The docuseries has been a memory-jog for many, but it’s also been a first real glimpse for basically anyone born after 1995 into just how impossibly ubiquitous the 90s Bulls were and just how otherworldly MJ was.
The nature of social media and celebrity will never allow Mahomes and the Chiefs to reach the level of untouchable godlike icons Jordan and the 90s Bulls were. The comparisons do make a bit of sense, though, at least in the framework of a league being dominated by a once-in-an-eternity talent being surrounded by once-in-a-generation coaching and supporting cast.
People see the clips of the dawn of the Bulls dynasty and they can see some small part of it in the current Chiefs.
The biggest running thread through the entirety of The Last Dance so far has been that MJ was, and in all likelihood still is, a whole entire ass. I won’t waste time laying out the details — if you want them, the docuseries is available all over ESPN’s various appendages. All I will say is I’m certain that MJ has already read that I called him a whole entire ass, and he’s going to track me down, with my $12/hour job and 400 Twitter followers, and figure out a way to trick me into both playing him one-on-one and betting on it so he can take both my soul and my money.
What I’m saying is MJ is a noted prick. It didn’t matter how small or insignificant your perceived transgressions were, he’d eat you alive. That is where the comparison between him and Mahomes really breaks down. Maybe I’m wrong and he just puts on a really convincing mask outside of the practice field, but Mahomes seems like pretty much the exact opposite of an ass. If anything, he seems like the anti-MJ. He has the most talent anyone has ever seen with an unmatched competitiveness that drives him to do anything to win, but he pulls the best out of his teammates with positive reinforcement. That’s what we’ve seen, over and over, in mic’d up segments of the Chiefs’ various ludicrous comebacks.
Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe in 30 years, there will be a documentary about the 2020s Chiefs and 60-year-old Travis Kelce will be like, “If we didn’t run our routes exactly right in practice, Pat would make us eat all the scraps out of the cafeteria trash cans and call us dumb sloppy pig boys.” But, you know, I just don’t think I’m wrong here.
The whole “you gotta be a raging jackass to be the best” thing is a pretty major theme within The Last Dance. It’s also been a pretty major theme of the New England Patriots’ dynasty. That’s mostly a case of winners writing the history books. You don’t have to be an antagonistic, loud, aggressive bully to get the best out of a team, nor do you have to be a cold, callous, do-your-job general. Those are simply two methods that can work, but also, in the long-term, tend to be the most destructive.
How many times have we seen a documentary about a great coach or player that ostensibly boils down to “I was a whole entire ass, but that is what made me great. I don’t have any friends and I’m very lonely and depressed sometimes, but I was really great at a sport and that’s worth it.”
And we eat it up. Yeah, that’s totally the only way to be great. At no point do we, as an audience, think “Hey, maybe being a contemptible prick isn’t required for greatness in sport.”
Mahomes and the Chiefs are going to prove that. Other teams have proven that, too, but this team will be the highest-profile and most successful one. The documentary about the 2020s Chiefs won’t feature Mahomes ruling his underlings with an iron fist and using fear to pull the most out of them. It’ll feature Andy Reid Junk Food Fridays and long-lost clips from players’ Twitch streams of Madden or Fortnite or whatever.
The Chiefs are going to keep winning and keep building a towering legacy, and they’re going to do it while being the most annoyingly tight-knit group of best buds you’ve ever seen. The insufferably fun-loving bromance dynasty starts now.