The Kansas City Chiefs have been on the short list of NFL teams who figure to contend for a Super Bowl for the last several years. Heading into the 2022 campaign, the expectation was no different, but there were some variables at play which caused fans to predict that they would take a bit of a step back.
As it turned out, the Chiefs have overcome those hurdles to qualify for the big game once more.
We’ll take a look back at some of the memorable storylines and moments on Kansas City’s journey to Super Bowl LVII.
Losing An All-Pro Player
One of the main reasons why football fans predicted the Chiefs wouldn’t be as good this season was due to the franchise’s trade of superstar wide receiver Tyreek Hill. The front office was in a difficult position, as they knew how much of a difference he made on the field, but would also have a significant percentage of their salary cap tied to a couple of players on offense. Hill remains one of the best deep threats in the NFL, and Kansas City would have to figure out how they could manufacture big plays.
While their offense did change somewhat with Hill’s speed, they found other players who could contribute and keep their attack on schedule. The team brought in wide receivers JuJu Smith-Schuster and Marques Valdez-Scantling; neither of whom is as close to as good as Hill, but are solid NFL players. The Chiefs also received sizeable contributions from their versatile backfield tandem of Jerick McKinnon and Isiah Pacheco. The Chiefs throttled the Arizona Cardinals in Week 1, and there was no looking back.
Potential Playoff Trouble
The Chiefs did what they normally do each regular season; race out to a strong record in order to set themselves up for the postseason. However, there were a couple of bumps in the road which portended possible trouble for them later in the year.
One of those hurdles came against the Buffalo Bills early on in the season, who avenged a playoff loss last year by beating the Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium. Later in the campaign, Kansas City would fall in a tight game to the Cincinnati Bengals, who were the defending AFC champions. There was a good chance the Chiefs would play one or both of those teams in the playoffs, and losing to each raised some concern.
Allow Him To Reintroduce Himself
Mostly due to the loss of Hill, and the emergence of other quarterbacks in the AFC, Patrick Mahomes’ name wasn’t always immediately brought up in discussions about the game’s best signal callers. NFL fans were going to find out whether he actually was a transcendent player, or whether he needed someone like Hill to open up passing lanes for him.
Mahomes proved in 2022 that he is the gold standard at the position, and that it really doesn’t matter who is around him. He threw for a career high 5,250 yards, while putting up 41 touchdowns. He also gutted through an ankle injury during the AFC playoffs, delivering for his team when it mattered most.