January 9, 2021

By Fred Liggett
FredL@lstribune.net

Entering the 2020 season as the defending Super Bowl Champions, the Kansas City Chiefs came out with theme “Run it back” which has become a popular hashtag used by Chiefs fans throughout the long 17 week season. Now that the regular season has come to an end it’s time for the playoffs and the Chiefs to continue their attempt at repeating as Super Bowl Champions.

Up to this point, the Chiefs run has been impressive as any defending champion before them. The Chiefs finished with an NFL best 14-2 record and secured the number one seed in the upcoming AFC playoffs. For the third straight season the Chiefs have a bye week entering the post season. During the off season the NFL changed the playoff format by adding two more teams, one each in each conference. This move has made it harder for teams to earn a bye as only one team, the top seed in each conference, now enjoys a week off.

During this record-breaking season the Chiefs enjoyed a ten-game winning streak, earning their fifth straight AFC West Division title, finishing the regular season with a franchise best 14 wins and watching the team end up with six players named to the All Pro team. While veterans like QB Patrick Mahomes throwing for 38 touchdowns and TE Travis Kelce again over 1,000 yards receiving entertained fans of all ages the team also enjoyed the debut seasons for rookies Cornerback L’Jarius Sneed and first round draft pick RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire. The team benefitted from the return of DB Bashaud Breeland who joined the team after serving a four game suspension. Breeland actually began his 2020 season serving as a volunteer assistant coach at Lincoln Prep High school in Kansas City.

As the case every year the defending Super Bowl Champions always have to overcome adversity, injuries and much more in order to return to the Super Bowl. Just ask the NFC Champions from a year ago how difficult it is as the San Francisco 49ers finished in last place in the NFC West Division this year with a 6-10 record. The Chiefs attempt at Run it Back started off a bit slow thanks to an off season severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Before training camp the team had lost starting OL Laurent Duvarney-Tardif and Super Bowl hero RB Damien Williams due to both players “opting out” of playing in 2020. Having players opting out is something no other defending champion have had to overcome when putting together a roster capable of winning back to back Super Bowls.

On Monday this past week the Chiefs talked about what they had accomplished up to this point. Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid said “I’m proud of the work the team has put in.” Several players talked about what’s ahead for the team. All Pro Safety Tyran Matthieu said it’s time for “the three R’s, rest, regroup and recharge.” The players were given Tuesday and Wednesday off with preparations for their first playoff opponent starting on Thursday. All the players still report every day to the Arrowhead training complex for COVID Testing.

When the bye week is over the Chiefs will take the field on either Saturday, Jan. 16 or Sunday, Jan. 17 to begin their post season journey towards Super Bowl 55 to be played in Tampa, Florida. The Chiefs hope to see a return to action from RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire and LB Willie Gay, Jr., two rookies who have missed time recently due to injury. Chiefs fans hope to see the team play twice at Arrowhead this month and use that home field advantage to run it back all the way to the Sunshine State. Till then Chiefs players and fans can sit back and watch an expanded NFL playoff format kickoff as they await to see who their next opponent will be. That’s What I REID Into It for this week.