In the 1970s, then-Oilers coach Bum Phillips famously declared that “the road to the Super Bowl goes through Pittsburgh.” The same can be said now about the Kansas City Chiefs, the defending Super Bowl champions who have hosted the last five AFC championship games.
On their way to winning two Super Bowls in four years, the Chiefs have owned the AFC West division. Andy Reid’s club has won the division seven years running after being runner-up behind Denver during each of Reid’s first three years in Kansas City. The Chiefs are once again expected to win the West, but the division may be tougher to win in 2023 than in recent years.
The Chargers, the division’s runner-up last year, have one of the league’s best young guns in Justin Herbert. The Broncos have a new coach in Super Bowl XLIV champion Sean Payton. The Raiders have a new quarterback and a talented receiving corps, led by perennial All-Pro Davante Adams. The Chiefs, however, still have the league’s best player in Patrick Mahomes, who last year became only the third player to win both league and Super Bowl MVP in multiple seasons.
With OTAs underway, here’a look at each AFC West’s burning question as we continue to inch closer to the start of the regular season.
Chiefs: Can they repeat as champions?
The iPhone was still three years away from existence the last time a team repeated as Super Bowl champion. If the Chiefs can end the drought by becoming the first team to repeat since the 2003-04 Patriots, it would be the exclamation point on what would be a slam-dunk dynasty.
Yes, “would” was used intentionally there. The Chiefs are not a dynasty just yet. Several teams have two multiple Super Bowls but are not considered dynasties. The ’70s Cowboys won two Super Bowls and played in three others, but they are not associated with the word dynasty. Ditto Bill Parcells’ Giants, the late ’90s Broncos and the 2000s Steelers….