It was tumultuous from the very beginning up until the bitter end.
The Chiefs posted an undefeated preseason record, something they hadn’t done since 1966. Jubilation followed, despite those games not technically counting.
Then, the season had a steep drop off into near oblivion. The 1-5 start left a sour taste in the fans’ mouths. Losing starting running back Jamaal Charles during that time frame didn’t help either.
But it wasn’t over.
Winning at home against the Pittsburgh Steelers ignited a fire. And that fire roared all the way through the regular season, giving the Chiefs a 10-game win streak for a new franchise record. But it wasn’t going to end at 10. This one went up to 11, cruising over the Houston Texans for the Chiefs’ first playoff win in 22 years.
“We’re a good team,” linebacker Dee Ford said. “We’re a good team that didn’t even have all the pieces, some of our best pieces. And we have guys who stepped up.”
But one week later, the New England Patriots with Tom Brady and company doused the flame, ending Kansas City’s miracle season. And the Chiefs felt the sting afterward.
“You don’t get these opportunities often to get this close, to taste it,” running back Knile Davis said. “It’s a hard thing to swallow.”
The Chiefs didn’t envision losing to the Patriots. Their postseason outlook contained accolades with more grandeur than only winning the wildcard game. They wanted Super Bowl 50.
“It’s greatly disappointing,” offensive tackle Jah Reid said. “We wanted to go all the way and just fell short. It’s tough but we’ll move on eventually.”
Bouncing back is already on the Chiefs’ mind. The roller coaster of a season they just went through gave them plenty of learning opportunities — including that 1-5 start.
“We know what we can do and we’ve learned that we can’t dig ourselves in a hole,” Ford said. “You exert so much energy to get yourself out of the hole that you have nothing left for the postseason.
“We have to play together and execute every game. Losing five in a row, that took a lot out of us, not physically, mentally, we can’t dig a hole. It’s hard when you do it that way. We learned that we can get through anything as a team but we never want to go through that again though.”
That lackluster start deeply resonates with all facets of the game, including kicker Cairo Santos. But he looks at the team’s camaraderie during that stretch rather than the numbers.
“We have tons of heart,” Santos said. “That’s maybe something that other teams don’t have in the way that we came back from the 1-5 to be here today. It’s just a remarkable season. I have no doubt that these guys are going to be hungry to come back next year and go even further.”
Rebounding and going even further isn’t just on Santos’ mind. It’s on Davis’ too.
“There’s always redemption,” Davis said. “There’s always another shot. There’s always another chance.”