Kansas City Chiefs season is here. Here's what to know about your 2024 Super Bowl favorites
Expectations for Patrick Mahomes and the rest of the team are sky-high this season. Can the Chiefs be the first back-to-back NFL champions since the New England Patriots?
After winning the 2020 Super Bowl in Miami over the San Francisco 49ers, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers took the steam out of Kansas City’s “Run it Back” campaign in the 2021 Super Bowl.
But this year, after a more conventional championship celebration and an off-season largely free from COVID-19 restrictions, the Chiefs are poised to achieve something that has eluded Super Bowl champions since the New England Patriots in 2004 and ‘05: back-to-back league titles.
Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes hinted at why he thinks the Chiefs fell short in their last quest to win successive Super Bowls when he reported to this year’s training camp at Missouri Western State University in St. Joseph.
“You’re in that mode, especially when you’re winning a lot of games. I don’t want to say ‘coast,’ but you’re like: ‘This is what we do. Let’s just go out, practice this way, and win a game,’” he said.
Astute Chiefs fans will remember the lead-up to those 2021 playoffs — when the Chiefs won 10 in a row before dropping their last regular-season game at home against the Los Angeles Chargers, 38-21.
Patrick Mahomes certainly does.
“This time, I think I’m going to really push and motivate guys to continue to try to get better,” said last season's Super Bowl and NFL Most Valuable Player. “Even though we’re winning football games, let’s not be satisfied with just winning.”
On paper, the most formidable stretch of the Chiefs’ 2023 schedule appears to be on the back end, starting with a Monday night Super Bowl rematch against the Philadelphia Eagles on Nov. 20. They follow that with December matchups against Buffalo and Cincinnati, regarded as two of the biggest conference threats to the Chiefs’ Super Bowl chances.
After the hype and build-up to the regular season opener, the Chiefs travel to Jacksonville on Sept. 17 to face the Jaguars, a team whose quarterback, Trevor Lawrence, is rising, and a playoff opponent last season that didn’t easily fade at Arrowhead Stadium.
Two weeks later, the Chiefs head to The Big Apple to square off against the New York Jets, who’ve attracted the most off-season attention by adding quarterback Aaron Rodgers, fresh off his illustrious career with the Green Bay Packers.
The lengthiest road trip of the year is to Frankfurt, Germany, against Miami. It’s the first head-to-head matchup against former Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill since his trade to the Dolphins before the 2022 season.
How to watch
The Chiefs’ three-game exhibition season begins noon Sunday in New Orleans. On Aug. 19 they’ll travel to Arizona for a 7 p.m. game, before their only preseason home game against Cleveland at noon on Aug. 26. KSHB 41 will carry all three preseason games.
Almost two weeks later, the regular season begins. Here’s what the Chiefs’ schedule looks like, and where to watch the games. All kickoffs listed are Central time.
- Week 1: Sept. 7 vs. Detroit Lions, 7:20 PM, NBC
- Week 2: Sept. 17 at Jacksonville Jaguars, noon, CBS
- Week 3: Sept. 24 vs. Chicago Bears, 3:25 PM, FOX
- Week 4: Oct. 1 at New York Jets, 7:20 PM, NBC
- Week 5: Oct. 8 at Minnesota Vikings, 3:25 PM, CBS
- Week 6: Oct. 12 (Thursday) vs. Denver Broncos, 7:15 PM, Amazon Prime Video
- Week 7: Oct. 22 vs. Los Angeles Chargers, 3:25 PM, CBS
- Week 8: Oct. 29 at Denver Broncos, 3:25 PM, CBS
- Week 9: Nov. 5 vs. Miami Dolphins (Germany), 8:30 AM, NFL Network
- Week 10: Bye week
- Week 11: Nov. 20 (Monday) vs. Philadelphia Eagles, 7:15 PM, ESPN/ABC
- Week 12: Nov. 26 at Las Vegas Raiders, 3:25 PM, CBS
- Week 13: Dec. 3 at Green Bay Packers, 7:20 PM, NBC
- Week 14: Dec. 10 vs. Buffalo Bills, 3:25 PM, CBS
- Week 15: Dec. 18 (Monday) at New England Patriots, 7:15 PM, ESPN
- Week 16: Dec. 25 vs. Las Vegas Raiders, noon, CBS
- Week 17: Dec. 31 vs. Cincinnati Bengals, 3:25 PM, CBS
- Week 18: TBD at Los Angeles Chargers, TBD, TBD
The Chiefs tied a record for the most first-year starters with four rookies in the last Super Bowl (running back Isiah Pacheco, defensive end George Karlaftis, and cornerbacks Jaylen Watson and Trent McDuffie).
Throw in wide receiver Skyy Moore, thrust into the starting lineup this year after JuJu Smith-Schuster and Mecole Hardman signed contracts elsewhere, and it’s safe to believe last year’s rookies will be more settled-in this time around.
“I’m not new to the NFL, so I know how things are going to turn out,” said Moore. “I have gained experience. I feel like that experience makes me more comfortable.”
To protect Mahomes there are two new tackles on the offensive line,
Donovan Smith on the left side and Jawaan Taylor on the right. Both league veterans were acquired in the off-season after starters Orlando Brown and Andrew Wylie moved on to other teams.
Preseason is also the time of year the offensive line needs to establish their chemistry, according to third-year guard Trey Smith.
“It’s extremely important once it gets out of a controlled setting,” said Smith this week leading up to the first preseason game. “Really going out there on your own, figuring it out and building that chemistry against live opponents, against people we haven’t been going against.”
On the defensive side, the focus has been who’s missing from training camp. The glaring absence of Chris Jones, who’s entering his eighth year as one of the league’s best linemen, has been making headlines since July. Last year, Jones had 15 1/2 sacks, topped by only three other NFL players that season.
Though Jones is under contract this year, he’s seeking an extension and sitting out until a new deal is reached.
Motivated to win again
From attending the Met Gala in New York City to battling it out in a televised Las Vegas golf match with Travis Kelce against other high-profile athletes, Mahomes has soaked in the attention that comes with being a Super Bowl champion. It’s helped him appreciate the accomplishments twice-retired Tom Brady had with New England and Tampa Bay, he said.
“I understand why Tom won a lot of them, because it is an amazing process and you want to make sure you can enjoy that with your teammates,” said Mahomes. “I know a lot of guys who were bouncing around everywhere, as well. That gives you all the motivation you need to go out there and do it again.”
The 2024 Super Bowl figures to have plenty of glitz, with Las Vegas hosting it for the first time. The Chiefs hope to be a part of the party again.