Winning games in the National Football League is hard.
Winning games against arguably the greatest quarterback and head coaching duo, Tom Brady and Bill Belichick, is harder.
Winning games on the road in New England after the Patriots just raised their fifth Super Bowl banner is even harder.
Winning games in Foxborough when the scoreboard says you’re down in the fourth quarter is almost inconceivable.
Blowing out Brady on his home field was thought to be impossible.
Thursday night, with the entire country watching, the Kansas City Chiefs pulled off the impossible.
There’s a historic stat or career best total to go on and on about for each and every player, but at the end of the day, the Chiefs as a team, as a complete unit, simply played one of their best games since head coach Andy Reid arrived in 2013.
Coach speak is king and the win means nothing if the team doesn’t go take care of business against Philadelphia, Los Angeles and so on, but for fans, this is truly a win that should be celebrated.
For any sport, the modern-day knee jerk reaction mentality is that every win is a parade and every loss is a funeral. But for a franchise that lacks big wins over the last 22 years, Thursday night’s may rank near the top.
The game itself brought unprecedented national promotion, anticipation and fanfare, and with previous NFL season openers as a reference, would rank as one of the most watched NFL games of the year nationally.
Even optimistic fans and Chiefs players acknowledged the challenges opening in New England, but for Kansas City to not only win but do so in stunning fashion, is something almost no one saw coming.
Quarterback Alex Smith entered the 2017 season with more pressure and scrutiny on both a local and national scale than ever before, with fans ready to clamor for Patrick Mahomes at the first sign of trouble. All Smith did was turn in one of the greatest performances of his career and outduel the player many consider to be the greatest quarterback of all-time.
Running back Kareem Hunt had never played in a college game of great magnitude, let alone an NFL primetime season opener, and all he did was go out and have more yards from scrimmage for a player making their debut than anyone else in the history of the sport.
Wide receiver Tyreek Hill had all the pressure of avoiding the sophomore slump and sliding into the shoes of number one receiver expectations, and all he did was become the first player in the history of the game to score touchdowns of 60 yards or more in five straight regular-season games.
Linebacker Justin Houston has failed to live up to his record-setting contract since 2015, with this year serving as the last year he wouldn’t be cheaper to cut than keep, and all he did was kick off the season with two sacks and textbook run defense in key short yardage situations.
The Chiefs needed all the stars to come out and shine if they wanted a chance at winning, but the fact that the role players also played almost perfectly, is why the team emptied the stadium long before the clock hit double zeroes.
Chris Conley made an impact with two big catches. Travis Kelce was consistently double teamed and still churned out 44 yards. Albert Wilson continued to fly under the radar with five catches for 43 yards. Demetrius Harris started the season with a touchdown. Bennie Logan was a force up the middle. Brady rarely even looked Marcus Peters’ direction. Ron Parker filled in at a different position and still led the team in tackles.
Hunt will get a lot of the praise because it’s not every day you do something better than any player in the history of the game.
Smith will also receive praise because he did things most of the country didn’t think he could do.
Hill will join the list of praised Chiefs after he showed his rookie campaign was no fluke, and people love themselves some super speed.
But stepping back and analyzing the game as a whole, reading the history books, seeing that the Patriots were 105-0 at home when leading in the 4th quarter, you really can’t put this all on the back of any one person.
Reid prepared the team and led Kansas City into a hostile environment but it was the team as a whole who played better in Foxborough than anyone else in the last decade.
Now that Chiefs fans have seen the team at its peak, the bar has been set. If Kansas City wants to remain one of the winningest teams in all football, win back to back division crowns, win the trophy named after their founder, then this is a lesson of how to get it done.
Winning football games in the National Football League is hard. But if the Chiefs can consistently play as a complete team anywhere near this level, then fans in Kansas City may soon be enjoying a parade in the very near future.
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