The NFL is a copy-cat league. Every few years a team figures out a strategy and it spreads like wildfire. The most recent notable strategy helped turn the Rams from Superbowl contenders to missing the playoffs almost overnight. The Rams were figured out by who else but Bill Belicheck. He used a unique 6-1 formation to help match the play of the Rams in the Superbowl. From then on, every team in the league had the Rams figured out. This is just one of many examples of teams copying each other and progressing the sport as a whole.
Teams try new ways to win every year, but I think the Chiefs are unique in the way that they have helped modify the game. They had an unconventional amount of speed across the board. Realizing that at some point all coverages become man coverage, the Chiefs turned every game into a track meet that they would always win. Add in their pass-heavy modified air raid system, and they where one of the hardest to beat teams in the NFL. What makes the Chiefs so different is they can beat almost any team in any way. They are so versatile. It doesn’t matter if they are going up against a smash mouth team like the titans, or a team like the Texans that plays more similar to themselves. No matter what the score is, they are still in the game.
NFL GMs are starting to catch onto this way of team building. Two teams this year look like replica Chiefs teams: the Eagles and the Broncos. There are other teams that have adapted, but these two are the most obvious copy-cats. Let’s take a look at these two teams and how they resemble the Chiefs so much.
First, the team is lead by a strong-armed, raw talent quarterback. Carson Wentz and Drew Lock are the most close to Patrick Mahomes as you’ll get. These teams also have drafted a ton of boom or bust wide receivers and now have a whole track team as their receiving corp. Look at the Eagles. They got have Desean Jackson returning from injury, Marquise Goodwin coming from the 49ers, Jalen Reagor from the first round, and two late round speedsters in Quez Watkins and John Hightower. The Broncos have Courtland Sutton and Desean Hamilton returning, Jerry Jeudy from the first round, and KJ Hamler from the second. Tell me these wide receiving rooms don’t look so much like the Chiefs. This isn’t a coincidence.
Making a team like the Chiefs isn’t just about having strong-armed quarterbacks and speedy receivers. You need a guy like Travis Kelce to keep the defense honest in the short and intermediate passing game. Look no further than Philadelphia’s Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert and Denver’s Noah Fant. There are similarities that go deeper than just the playmakers. These teams have good offensive line, crazy good defensive lines, and terrific safeties to control the back end.
I think the Chiefs have created a recipe for success in today’s NFL, and it couldn’t have come at a better time. With air raid systems now coming into the NFL more and more, incredible receivers being drafted, and new do-it-all quarterbacks, the NFL has changed forever. Well, at least until somebody changes it again.