The Miami Dolphins' disappointing playoff exit at least came against the eventual Super Bowl champions.
That was one of the Dolphins angles after the Kansas City Chiefs' 25-22 overtime victory against the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LVIII at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas.
It marked the third time a Super Bowl champion's playoff path had included a victory against the Dolphin — and ironically all three times were repeats.
It also happened in 1998 when the Denver Broncos defeated the Dolphins, 38-3, at Mile High Stadium on their way to a second consecutive Super Bowl title and in 1979 when the Pittsburgh Steelers won 34-14 at old Three Rivers Stadium.
But, as fun as that fact might be, there were more significant Dolphins angles to this Kansas City repeat, starting with the obvious.
MAHOMES REMAINS A PROBLEM
It's Tom Brady all over again for the rest of the AFC, if not worse.
As long as Patrick Mahomes remains healthy, there isn't a season that's going to start without the Chiefs having to be considered the team to beat in the AFC because he's just that good.
Like, are the Chiefs ever really out of a game with that dude at quarterback?
Like, did anybody really think the Chiefs weren't going to tie the score in the final two minutes after the 49ers took a three-point lead? Or how about in overtime after San Francisco took the lead with a field goal? Did anybody think the 49ers were going to stop the Chiefs to secure the win?
Side note: If the Dolphins ever get to overtime in a playoff game and they win the coin toss, let's hope Mike McDaniel makes the right choice and kicks the ball. With each team being guaranteed a possession, it's always better than go second and know what you need to get accomplished.
Back to Mahomes, this actually wasn't a very good season for him if we go by the ever-popular (and vastly over-emphasized) passer rating because he ranked only 14th in the NFL in that category this season with a career-low 92.6.
But when the playoffs came, he delivered when he needed to deliver, starting with that game against the Dolphins, and his passer rating for those four games was 100.3.
THE CHIEFS CHALLENGE
Maybe the most frightening aspect of his Chiefs repeat — and, no, it's not Kelce or Mahomes talking about a "three-peat" because, I mean, what else are they going to say? — is that they were actually vulnerable this season.
In terms of their roster, their wide receivers were kind of a mess all season and their two free agent acquisitions to start at tackle (Jawaan Taylor and Donovan Smith) didn't exactly play at a Pro Bowl level.
For the first time in Mahomes' career, they had to play playoff games on the road — against the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds in the AFC — before facing the other No. 1 seed in the Super Bowl.
There's also this great nugget from Warren Sharp of Sharp Football Analysis: The Chiefs were forced to play six straight games at a rest disadvantage (weeks 12-17), the only time a team had to do that in NFL history.
And let's not forget they were tied for fourth-best record in the AFC after their dismal performance against the Las Vegas Raiders on Christmas Day when they looked nothing like a team headed for a second consecutive Super Bowl title.
So if AFC teams couldn't get the Chiefs this season, when?
Two members of the Dolphins coaching staff experienced each end of the emotional spectrum at the end of the game.
It was joy for assistant head coach/tight ends coach Jon Embree, whose son Connor is the wide receivers coach for the Chiefs.
On the other side was offensive assistant Max McCaffrey, the brother of 49ers star running back Christian McCaffrey.
And, even though he's no longer part of the Dolphins staff, we should mention Sam Madison, who was DB/cornerbacks coach with the Chiefs from 2019-21 before he came back to South Florida to join the Dolphins.
Like Tyreek Hill, Madison has watched the Chiefs win the Super Bowl in the two seasons since he left Kansas City.