This seems impossible to believe, but there was a time when the New England Patriots weren’t hated by everyone.
It was 2002, the Patriots had a huge Super Bowl upset over the St. Louis Rams, everyone loved them being introduced as a team and Robert Kraft’s “We are all Patriots” didn’t seem like trolling yet. Tom Brady hadn’t married any supermodels and wasn’t yet a villain outside of New England. He was a fun story, a sixth-round draft pick turned Super Bowl MVP.
Right now, it’s hard to hate the Kansas City Chiefs, who won Super Bowl LIV and begin their title defense Thursday night against the Houston Texans, a game that can be a game that can be live-streamed on the Yahoo Sports app. Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes might be the most easy-to-like superstar the NFL has had in a long time. Unlike most football coaches, Andy Reid is fairly normal and personable. Kansas City hadn’t won a title in 50 years and unless you live in Denver or Oakland, you probably haven’t had any ill will toward the Chiefs in decades.
But the Chiefs think they’re set up for a dynasty, and everyone turns on a dynasty after a while.
Patrick Mahomes is a great face of the NFL
Mahomes is pretty much the perfect superstar. He didn’t come from a college program that boils anyone’s blood and didn’t go to an NFL team anyone has bad feelings about. He amazes us with his ridiculous arm, has the fun backstory of being the son of a former Major League Baseball pitcher, has an engaging personality, signature look and can laugh at himself.
If you hate Mahomes, you just don’t enjoy sports very much.
At 24 years old, it seems the NFL world is his for the next decade or more. He’s off to perhaps the greatest start for a player in NFL history, already putting himself on the list of 13 players who have a regular-season MVP and Super Bowl MVP. Every other player who has done it is either in the Hall of Fame or a lock to get there.
If he continues to be this great, people will tire of him. That’s what happens, especially in the social media era. His $503 million contract will attract extra scrutiny. His game will be picked apart, because it gets old reliving how great a player is. The never-ending praise for Mahomes — it’s not like there is much to say that’s negative to this point — will wear on everyone. Think about Brett Favre’s career arc.
Everyone loves Mahomes now. If he continues to be this great and the Chiefs reel off seven championships, it’ll change. We all know it will.
Chiefs had a storybook season
The Chiefs were a great story. They fell painfully short after the 2018 season, losing to the hated Patriots in overtime of the AFC championship game. The defeat added to the misery of one of the NFL’s great fan bases. Then in 2019 they got some huge breaks, from Mahomes’ knee injury in Denver not being too serious to a gift win from the Miami Dolphins over the Patriots in Week 17 to back into a first-round bye. They had amazing comeback wins in all three playoff games, including the Super Bowl. The championship meant more to Kansas City than it would to just about any other NFL city.
The good feelings will continue Thursday. It will be strange for the Chiefs to celebrate their title in a mostly empty Arrowhead Stadium, but that’s 2020. They’ll have what should be a high-scoring game against the Texans, everyone who has Mahomes, Travis Kelce, Tyreek Hill or Clyde Edwards-Helaire on their fantasy teams will rejoice. Mahomes will make at least one play that’ll be viral on social media by the end of the night.
Maybe this is the franchise that will stay in everyone’s good graces forever, no matter how much they win. Mahomes could be that universally loved superstar whose legend stays strong long after he has retired, the NFL’s version of Michael Jordan. It seems unlikely, if they rule the NFL like they want to. Fans outside of Kansas City will turn on them eventually. Ask the Patriots.
More from Yahoo Sports: