It didn't always seem probable, but the Kansas City Chiefs completed their mission and are back-to-back Super Bowl champions.
Sunday's comeback win over the San Francisco 49ers was a near-perfect representation of the season. Kansas City dug itself into a hole early, struggled on the offensive side of the ball, had a defense that kept it in the game then eventually snapped out of a funk at the end to triumph in a major way. The overtime thriller gave the franchise its third title in a half-decade, making it a dynasty for all intents and purposes.
Now, the pressure is on to do what no NFL team has ever done: win three Super Bowls in a row. On Monday morning, quarterback Patrick Mahomes spoke to the media about a three-peat opportunity.
"It's legendary," Mahomes said. "No one's ever done it. We knew it's legendary to win back-to-back. I think eight other teams had done it. We heard it all week, we'd talked to the guys about it and we felt like we had the best opportunity we'd ever had to go out there and do that. All you can do is come back next year with a fresh mindset knowing it's going to be even harder. We've got to continue to play our best football. We'll celebrate these next few weeks, and then we'll get right back at it."
Mahomes's comment about things being harder is interesting. While it's undoubtedly difficult to string together multiple championship seasons in a row, the real challenge is finding a scenario that's much more trying than what the team just went through. Sitting at 9-6 at one point in the regular season, Kansas City had dropped five of eight games and was struggling to find a light at the end of the tunnel. The Chiefs then picked up the pieces in time for a grueling run through the AFC playoffs and into the Super Bowl against perhaps the best team in the NFL from the year.
This season taught Mahomes many things, with patience likely at or near the top of that list. Despite that, he maintains a sense of urgency at all times. Knowing the rest of the NFL is going to give the Chiefs their best shot moving forward, the face of the NFL is focused on improvement heading into the 2024-25 campaign.
"I think it's always a challenge whenever you win," Mahomes said. "What I've learned is... how can you get better? How can you continue to get better? Because that's what it takes. In this league, everybody gets better every single year. Whenever you win a championship, you celebrate and you're like 'Let's just go do it again.' I think that was something I learned from the first one we lost when we tried to get the back-to-back. Everybody was like, 'We're just going to run it back and do it again. That's just what we're going to do.' I felt like we fell short that way. So now, let's get better. Let's find a way, whatever that small thing is to get better at, every single person individually and then as a team. Let's just come with our best football and our best effort, and hopefully that's coming back and we're able to be — I think it's New Orleans — on this podium again."
As things currently stand, the Chiefs are already a force to be reckoned with. They've accomplished plenty and are going down in the history books as enjoying an all-time great run of play. They still have a lot of work to do if they're to match a New England Patriots-level dynasty, but all they can do right now is take things one season at a time. Checking that three-peat off their list would be a massive advantage, although that's still 12 months into the future.
Opening odds for Super Bowl LIX had someone other than the reigning champions atop the list. The losers of Sunday's game, San Francisco, occupied the top spot. This isn't new to the Chiefs — they played three consecutive contests with their opponents favored in the Divisional Round, AFC Championship Game and Super Bowl. Those odds can and likely will shift in the coming months, although Kansas City doesn't seem worried about it. Mahomes, like he did all season long, believes in the quest for a third championship in a row.
"As far as the underdog thing, man, it just gives you a little added motivation going into the offseason," Mahomes said. "Like I said, I never feel like we're underdogs. I feel like we can win every game we play in. We have to continue to prove that every single year."