2024 Super Bowl: A look at where these 2023 Chiefs rank among the franchise’s best teams, beating the 49ers again

Few NFL teams can match the rich history of the Kansas City Chiefs. That history keeps getting richer as the franchise earns its third Super Bowl win in five years with a 25-22 overtime victory over the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LVIII.

The Chiefs have had many great teams over the years. Some of those teams won championships, while others came up just short. This year’s team joins the teams of 1969, 2019 and 2022 as world champions. They are also the ninth team (and first in 20 years) to repeat as champions.

So, where do the 2023 Chiefs rank among the franchise’s best teams? Let’s just say they’re up there with the best of them, as you’ll see below.

Before we get to my rankings, it should be noted that comparing current teams to teams from 50 years ago is nearly impossible. The advent of free agency and the salary cap have completely changed how rosters are constructed. You also cannot ignore the evolution and physical changes compared to half a century ago.

With that in mind, when comparing teams from different eras, I mostly like to look at the talent that exists on each roster, with the understanding that today’s teams may no longer make such teams. Coaching, strength of opponents and lasting legacy are also taken into consideration while making the list

Without further ado, let’s see where the ’23 Chiefs stack up against the franchise’s other Super Bowl teams after their 25-22 win over the 49ers in Super Bowl LVIII.

6. 2020 Chiefs

Injuries on the offensive line were the biggest reason Kansas City fell short of successfully defending its title. Without a solid safety, Patrick Mahomes spent most of Super Bowl LV running away from Buccaneers defenders.

It was a completely different night for Mahomes’ counterpart Tom Brady, who surgically dissected Kansas City’s defense on 21-of-29 passing to the tune of three touchdowns.

5. 1966 Chiefs

  • Overall record: 12-3-1
  • AFL champions

Like the ’69 team, the ’66 Chiefs had a lot of talent. That talent allowed them to roll through the AFL during the regular season before stomping the Bills, 31-7, in the AFL Championship.

Kansas City put up a good fight against Vince Lombardi’s NFL champion Packers in the first half of Super Bowl I. The Chiefs actually outscored the Packers in the second quarter and faced a modest 14-10 halftime deficit.

The second half, however, was a different story. The turning point came early in the second half when Chiefs quarterback Lane Dawson (who was under heavy pressure) threw an interception to Willie Wood that was returned 50 yards to the Kansas City 5-yard line. The Packers scored a touchdown on the next play for a 35–10 victory.

In the loss, the Chiefs earned the respect of the Packers, including Hall of Fame defensive end Dave Robinson. Robinson said the Chiefs’ lack of consistent competition was probably the biggest reason why they couldn’t hang with the Packers in the second half.

“It wasn’t so much their fault as it was the rest of the AFL,” Robinson told CBS Sports in a 2020 interview. “The defenses weren’t as strong in the AFL, and so they never experienced the things we bring and the football. We had an advantage there, that was a big thing for us.

“After they played an inner league game, the Kansas City Chiefs and Oakland Raiders showed their true skills, and they became very good teams. They just needed an inner league game to give them experience playing against better defenses.”

4. 2022 Chiefs

There’s no flashy stat you can go by to define the greatness of the ’22 Chiefs. Rather, it’s the fact that they’ve proven they can be world champions even without the playmaking ability of Tyreek Hill, who was traded to the Dolphins the previous offseason.

The ’22 Chiefs showed their determination to get past Joe Burrow and the rest of the defending AFC champion Bengals to get back to the Super Bowl. They did so after receiving an impressive performance from Mahomes, who played that game and the Super Bowl with a nagging ankle injury.

Depth at a skill position was a big reason the Chiefs won last year’s Super Bowl. They had 11 different players catch touchdowns from Mahomes, who put together a season for the ages. He is now the only player in history to win the regular-season and Super Bowl MVP in the same year.

3. 2023 Chiefs

  • Overall record: 15-6
  • Defeated the AFC’s top-two seed on the road

Defense is a big reason the current Chiefs are ranked ahead of the ’20 team. Led by Chris Jones, George Karlaftis and Trent McDuffie, this year’s Chiefs finished the regular season with the second-ranked scoring defense. Defensive coordinator Steve Spagnolo’s group showed just how good it is the following season, when they held the Ravens to 10 points and 49ers to make a late field goal in Super Bowl LVIII.

The offense started making plays this postseason, especially a receiving corps that was heavily criticized during parts of the regular season. Rookie Rashee Rice followed with veteran Marquez Valdes-Scantling. McCall Hardman, who spent part of the season with the Jets, came up with the game-winning touchdown pass in Super Bowl LVIII.

The Chiefs offense continued to receive stellar play this season from the offensive line led by Mahomes, Travis Kelce, Isiah Pacheco and Pro Bowlers Creed Humphrey and Joe Thuney. Mahomes further added to his legend in Super Bowl LVIII by becoming the fifth starting quarterback with at least three Super Bowl wins.

2. 2019 Chiefs

  • Overall record: 15-4
  • First team to overcome a 10-point deficit in three straight playoff games

As noted above, the 2019 Chiefs made a habit of overcoming big deficits in the playoffs. They outscored the Texans 24-0 in the divisional round before Mahomes went on a run of 41 unanswered points. Mahomes threw five touchdowns in that game, including three to his favorite target, Kelsey.

After putting up 51 points on Houston, the Chiefs scored 35 against the Titans’ tough defense in the AFC Championship. Mahomes and Co. Scored 31 runs against the 49ers’ formidable defense in the Super Bowl, including three touchdowns in the game’s final seven minutes.

The ability to score in bunches was one of the things that made the ’19 Chiefs so good. But the team also had an underrated defense that held Derrick Henry — who destroyed the Patriots and Ravens in the previous two playoff rounds — to 69 yards on 19 carries in the AFC title game.

1. 1969 Chiefs

  • Overall record: 14-3
  • Boasting the AFL’s second-ranked scoring offense and top-ranked scoring defense

The Chiefs’ rich history includes being the last AFL team to beat the NFL and the second team in the Super Bowl. Kansas City’s 23–7 victory over the NFL champion Minnesota Vikings in Super Bowl IV was the final game played before the league merger.

The team featured eight Hall of Famers, not including the Gold Jackets head coach (Hank Stram) and owner (Lamar Hunt). Six of those Hall of Famers played defense, one more Hall of Famer than the Steelers had in their legendary defense of the 1970s.

Led by Hall of Fame linebacker Willie Lanier, the Chiefs defense allowed 6, 7 and 7 points in three playoff wins. With opponents stifling the defense, Hall of Fame quarterback Lane Dawson did more than enough to lead the Chiefs to their first Super Bowl victory. Dawson won Super Bowl MVP honors after throwing a game-clinching touchdown pass to Otis Taylor, whose career is also worthy of Hall of Fame consideration.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *