The Kansas City Chiefs currently stand third among NFL teams since their last playoff victory, a span of 18 seasons. The franchise’s last triumph in the postseason came on January 16, 1994 against the Houston Oilers by the score of 28-20. (The Chiefs went on to lose to the Buffalo Bills in the AFC Championship Game the following week.)
The lack of postseason success has not been due to a void of opportunities, though. The Chiefs are tied for the longest losing streak in the playoffs at seven games with the Detroit Lions during that period.
While winning in the playoffs—and ultimately, the Super Bowl—is the definitive goal for every NFL franchise, the Chiefs have been able to sustain enough sporadic success in the regular season during this time to keep one of the best fanbases in all of sports content…for now.
General manager Scott Pioli was brought in prior to the 2009 season to do what the previous regime—led by team president Carl Peterson—couldn’t do, win when it really counts.
While Pioli has yet to rid the franchise of its dubious postseason distinctions, it doesn’t take an NFL diehard to recognize that the Chiefs have the tools to become one of the more prominent teams in the entire league.
Though most believed that the 2011 season could have been the year they finally broke through, the Chiefs fell victim to the lockout and an ill-prepared head coach (Todd Haley, now offensive coordinator with the Pittsburgh Steelers), and also a severe rash of injuries.
The returns of running back Jamaal Charles, safety Eric Berry, tight end Tony Moeaki and quarterback Matt Cassel will certainly help stabilize the backbone of this team. But the offseason acquisitions of right tackle Eric Winston, tight end Kevin Boss, running back Peyton Hillis, cornerback Stanford Routt and rookie nose tackle Dontari Poe will be the difference in years past for the Chiefs.
No longer lacking talent or depth, the Chiefs' plan is to run the football and play a solid brand of defense under new head coach Romeo Crennel, who the players have embraced with open arms since he took over for Haley prior to Week 15 of last season.
Not to limit themselves offensively, the Chiefs also feature one of the better groups of targets in the league for Cassel. Dwayne Bowe and Jon Baldwin headline a corps of wide receivers and tight ends that will allow new offensive coordinator Brian Daboll the luxury of spreading the field and keep the opposing defense on its heels.
While it is safe to say that the Chiefs are in even a much better position than their AFC West title-winning season of 2010, it is also apparent that anything and everything can happen between now and when the NFL playoffs arrive.
However, the Chiefs are a deep team with no glaring holes. They have star power, but are also humble enough to give everything it takes to quench their thirst for success. They have a head coach that is geared up to make the best of his second shot at leading an NFL team. And they have a general manager that is ready to separate himself from the “Patriot Way."
The NFL has showed us that being the paper champion means absolutely nothing and that a team like the Chiefs is very capable of making a sustained postseason run.