KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Every NFL player will admit that earning a trip to play in the Super Bowl is an extremely difficult feat.
Ever since Kansas City drafted the generationally talented Patrick Mahomes, the organization has trended toward a dynasty. The team’s case has become clearer with eight-consecutive AFC West titles adding up, and winning two of the three recent Super Bowls they’ve played after a 50-year absence.
And while the offense has not been a Kansas City strength this season as it has been previously, the Steve Spagnuolo defense has carried them to Super Bowl LVIII.
The first three Patriots Super Bowls came in the early-to-mid-2000s. Brady and Belichick managed back-to-back Super Bowl wins in 2004 and 2005.
That is the only back-to-back champion of the 21st century and one of seven franchises to ever win two in a row dating back to 1967 (the beginning of the Super Bowl era).
The Chiefs have a chance to make their own history with a win in Las Vegas.
Many coined the Patriots a dynasty after winning their third Super Bowl in 2005. Of course, they made it unquestionable when they revitalized their championship DNA 10 years later to rattle off Super Bowl wins in 2015, 2017 and 2019.
There’s no algorithm for what it takes for a franchise to become a dynasty. It’s subjective, similar to the GOAT (greatest of all time) quarterback argument.
But not many argue against six Super Bowl rings, or Brady’s total of seven. Those are the milestones the Chiefs and Mahomes are chasing.
Four championship appearances within the last five years do well for the Chiefs dynasty conversation. They’re one of three teams to ever accomplish that. More on that in a second.
If they beat the San Francisco 49ers on Feb. 11, that would give them three Super Bowl wins within the last five years.
Dynasties produce those results.
They don’t necessarily need to win this Super Bowl to stay in the “dynasty” conversation, but it would certainly help. No one looks at the Jim Kelly led Buffalo Bills as a dynasty even though they went to four straight Super Bowls in the early 1990s.
Interestingly enough, that Bills team, the Patriots and now the Chiefs are the only franchises to ever reach four Super Bowls in a five-year span.
You have to win some along the way or the legacy just isn’t the same. Instead of the Bills dominating the entire league in the 90s, they dominated the AFC, only to give the glory to the NFC four straight years.
Two of those Super Bowl losses came at the hands of Dallas in 1992 and 1993. Those Troy Aikman led back-to-back championships and a third in 1995 solidified the Cowboys as a dynasty in many NFL fans’ minds.
Before the Patriots and the ’90s Cowboys, the 49ers dominated the 1980s. San Francisco won four Super Bowls in that decade with Joe Montana, and Steve Young under center and added a fifth in 1994.
Hall of Fame wide receiver Jerry Rice set post-season records that still stand to this day, although Travis Kelce just passed him for most playoff receptions in NFL history. The tight end has a chance to reach Rice’s postseason yardage records if the Chief plays for a couple more years.
The Niners back-to-back Super Bowl run came in the 1988 and 1989 seasons.
Before the 49ers, the 1970s were dominated by Pittsburgh. The Steelers snatched two back-to-back Super Bowl championships from 1974 to 1976 and 1978 to 1980. Two additional rings in 2006 and 2009 gave that franchise the most Super Bowl wins ever with six, a mark the Patriots would tie 10 years later.
Despite being an elite team, the 21st-century version of the Steelers led by Ben Roethlisberger wasn’t quite enough to crown the modern Steelers as a dynasty.
Pittsburgh probably needed that third Super Bowl they lost to Green Bay in 2011 for more people to designate Bill Cower and Mike Tomlin’s dominance around that time as dynasty material.
The closest franchise to put together two separate dynasty-level eras is probably Dallas. They reached five Super Bowls in the ’70s and went back-to-back two different times that decade.
However, the Steelers winning all four of their appearances in the early days of the Super Bowl era outshine the two Lombardi Trophies that the Cowboys took home back then.
It also outshined Miami’s three-straight Super Bowl appearances and back-to-back wins in the ’70s. Don Shula’s Dolphins were dominant, and fans likely claim them as a dynasty, but those results straddle the vague definition.
Before the Super Bowl era the Chiefs dominated the AFL while the Packers dominated the NFL.
In the 1960s the Packers won five NFL championships in six appearances including a three-straight championship-winning stretch. More modestly, Kansas City won two AFL championships, the first one in 1967 put them into Super Bowl I against Green Bay.
The Packers won that inaugural Super Bowl and added another a year later to cap off one of the most dominant dynasties ever. There’s a reason it’s dubbed the (Vince) Lombardi Trophy.
A few years later the Chiefs beat the Minnesota Vikings in Super Bowl IV. As elite as Hank Stram and Len Dawson were, they weren’t able to put together multiple titles to contend with the Packers, Cowboys or Steelers for dynasties of that time.
📲 Download the FOX4 News app to stay updated on the go.
📧 Sign up for FOX4 email alerts to have breaking news sent to your inbox.
💻 Find today’s top stories on fox4kc.com for Kansas City and all of Kansas and Missouri.
Years later, coach Andy Reid and Mahomes are monumentally changing the way people view the Kansas City franchise.
But there’s still work to do.
Despite sustained success over many years, if they don’t add to the two modern Super Bowl wins, the dynasty argument will diminish. The Steelers, 49ers, Cowboys and Patriots all got at least the three Lombardi trophies that separate their cases from any others considered.
However, not all is lost if they don’t win in Las Vegas. The Chiefs will likely remain in dynasty conversations for as long as Mahomes is slinging passes in red, white and gold, Reid is cooking up creative plays on offense and maintaining the team’s culture, and the front office continues its shrewd maneuvering in free agency and the NFL Draft.