FRISCO, Texas – Here we go again, predictably.
Seemingly happens every year for the past 20 years this time of year.
Those claiming: There is a dynasty out there in the making.
Like, how many times have we heard that following the Super Bowl? Oh, this team with that young quarterback is about to dominate the NFL. How the heck is anyone going to catch up with _that_ team, the one having just won the Super Bowl?
Or it's, _Better watch out for the Super Bowl loser_. Here is a team on the rise.
Am I right?
And we're hearing all that noise this week about Kansas City, the Chiefs, aside from the final, garbage-time touchdowns, narrowly – by two inches maybe on that go-ahead Damien Williams score – defeating San Francisco, 31-20, in Super Bowl LIV on Sunday.
The Chiefs, with wonderkid quarterback Patrick Mahomes, are here to stay. And those Niners, watch out for that dominating defense. They'll be back.
Well, if history means anything, better hold your horses.
Since the turn of the century, only two teams have appeared in consecutive Super Bowls. Of course, the Patriots, during the seasons of 2016-2018, winning two of those three, and then back in 2003-04 winning back-to back titles, only the second time that has occurred since the Cowboys went back-to-back in 1992-93.
Then there is the Seattle Seahawks, beating Denver in the 2013 season and then losing to New England in 2014.
But that's it over these past 20 seasons. And look, I get it. The Patriots are the exception, winning six of their nine Super Bowl appearances over those two decades. But since that 2000 season, of the 19 teams playing in those 20 Super Bowls, only three others appeared in more than two title games: Seattle 1-2, Giants 2-3 and Pittsburgh 2-3.
And on top of that, of the teams losing a Super Bowl, only one – New England, of course – returned to even play in the Super Bowl the next season.
If history means anything, them are some long shots for the Chiefs going back-to-back and for the 49ers to return in 2020.
- Exes With Rings: Not sure who everyone was pulling for, but the Chiefs winning Super Bowl LIV put rings on five former Cowboys players: Anthony Hitchens, Damien Wilson, Morris Claiborne, Mike Weber and backup quarterback Matt Moore, who went to training camp with Dallas in 2007, but when the Cowboys released him on the final cut, hoping he'd clear waivers so they could sign him to the practice squad, Carolina intercepted him. Here it is, 13 seasons later, and he's still playing football. "Hitch" and Wilson started at linebacker for the Chiefs, both finishing with four tackles against the 49ers. And as for "Mo," he played just eight games this season, mostly as a nickel corner, but a shoulder injury cost him the final few games of the regular season, and he was inactive for all three of the Chiefs postseason games. Oh, and let's not forget running back Mike Weber, who spent the 2019 season on the Cowboys practice squad, but was signed to the Chiefs practice squad for the playoffs.
- Cousin Steve: My good-natured nickname for Kansas City defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, who when first meeting him at a Super Bowl and introduced myself, told him, "Man, those folks at Ellis Island really messed up the spelling of your ancestors name when coming over from the old country." Well, someday I'm going to put what Chiefs head coach Andy Reid said of Spagnuolo on Monday morning in three-inch letters: "This is our first year with 'Spags.' He's as creative a mind as anybody." Right?
- Defense Matters: Yeah, I know with that final garbage time touchdown the Chiefs ended up scoring 31 points, the fifth time in five playoff games Mahomes has put up at least 30. But again, the Chiefs defense held San Francisco to 20 points in the Super Bowl, Tennessee to 24 points in the AFC title game and Houston to 24 points for nearly three quarters in the divisional playoff matchup before giving up a touchdown when up 41-24. And 10 times during the 2019 regular season opponents failed to score more than 23 points. As for the Cowboys, only three times in those eight losses did the team give up no more than 23 points. Sometimes you have to win a game scoring no more than 24 points. The Cowboys never did in 2019.
- Moore Details: When retained offensive coordinator Kellen Moore was asked how to account for the discrepancy between the amount of yards the Cowboys put up, the No. 1 offense in the NFL, and the lack of scoring in those eight losses – no more than 24 in any of them and less than 16 in four of them – his response was this: "I think it comes down to the beauty of football, can come down to three or four plays … couple of third down scenarios you don't get it, missed opportunities in the red zone – those are drastic things. So that's the beauty of this game. It's in the details, it's situational football. We've got to get better at that stuff, and certainly we will."
- What If: That was my question after the Super Bowl. Like, what if Williams' touchdown to give the Chiefs a 24-20 lead with 2:44 left in the game on that-third-and-goal from the 5-yard line had been reversed under review, leaving the ball at the 1-foot line? Would the Chiefs kicked to tie the game or are they going for it on fourth down? Said Reid during his Monday morning press conference, "We had a good one, we had a good play. There's a chance we would have done that," meaning gone for it.
- Super Shots: When asked what defense the Cowboys will play, 4-3 or 3-4, new defensive coordinator Mike Nolan said, "It's all about getting your best 11 on the field." … And this from new assistant head coach Rob Davis when asked about joining Mike McCarthy, who he was with in Green Bay: "Mike's tough people." … Also liked what Davis had to say about one of his priorities: "Make sure the locker room is operating at a high level." … Teams can begin to re-sign their own veterans with expiring contracts next Tuesday and tag franchise players starting on Feb. 25.
And if I can jump on my soapbox for one last shot – until like this summer – how do the Pro Football Hall of Fame voters select safety Steve Atwater and the likes of Drew Pearson and Everson Walls can't make the cut, along with not even considering Cornell Green? Mystifying. And time to begin a serious campaign for the late Clint Murchison in the contributor category. Again, he's only the original owner of the franchise with the highest winning percentage in NFL history. Go figure.