“The AFC is stacked!”
“Who is going to come out of the AFC alive?”
“Which team is going to dethrone Kansas City?”
Those three things have been said seemingly year in and year out from the end of an NFL season to the next one. The problem is while the AFC may be stacked, the same teams in recent years keep representing it in the AFC. In the last 13 Super Bowls, the AFC has been represented by a grand total of five teams. The New England Patriots (5), Kansas City Chiefs (4), Denver Broncos (2), Baltimore Ravens (1) and Cincinnati Bengals (1) are the only teams to appear in Super Bowls since 2012.
Outside of the two outliers (Ravens and Bengals) the AFC has been represented by three teams in 11 years.
In that same 13-year span, the NFC has been represented by eight different teams. Is that more to do with parity in the NFC or the sheer dominance of a couple of teams in the AFC? If it’s the latter, is the AFC as stacked as we always think it is? If the same couple of teams keep emerging out of it, is it as loaded as we believe it to be?
Before the Chiefs current run of the conference, it was Tom Brady and the Patriots running roughshod over the AFC to the point of people growing completely sick of them and openly rooting for anyone but them to get to the Super Bowl year in and year out. I feel like we’re quickly reaching that point with the Chiefs.
I like the Chiefs. I like Patrick Mahomes. I like Andy Reid. I like Travis Kelce. I don’t get bothered by shots of Taylor Swift that apparently drives others crazy. But despite all of that, I’m reaching Chiefs fatigue. I just needed a little bit of a break from them. It didn’t happen and we’ll have another two weeks of covering them and seeing if they can hold up the Vince Lombardi trophy yet again in the final game of an NFL season.
I think the fatigue comes more from jealousy than it does from any sort of actual hatred. This was supposed to be their “off year”. The wide receiver group stinks for the most part, they didn’t look as high-powered offensively as they had in years’ past and yet the playoffs arrive and there they are, and they dominate opponents once again. Patrick Mahomes is otherworldly and is already in discussion for best quarterback of all-time. But even he looked ordinary at times this season. He still threw for over 4,100 yards but his 27 touchdowns were his second-lowest total of his career, and his 14 interceptions was a career-high.
Yet here they are again in another Super Bowl. Again, it’s jealousy. Can the Colts or any other team for that matter get that kind of annual success? It all starts with the quarterback and Patrick Mahomes is 1-of-1 in that field. It’s him and then everybody else. Lamar Jackson, Joe Burrow, Justin Herbert, Josh Allen, etc. are now a tier below Mahomes. He doesn’t wilt in the playoffs, he flourishes. It shows that regardless of the roster around him, he can elevate a less than exceptional roster to championship caliber with relative ease.
The Colts can’t reach the Chiefs in that regard. I’m not sure if anyone can at this point. But if the AFC is as loaded as we think it is, there have to start being some teams that can get the best of the Chiefs when it’s nut cutting time in the postseason. Someone is going to have to step up and try to take hold of the stranglehold the Chiefs have on this conference.
I’m not sure I can take much more.
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