The NFL’s season is about to get underway, and while the Kansas City Chiefs have a stacked roster, one player in particular is facing some tough questions heading into the 2017 campaign.
The NFL season is rapidly approaching, and all 32 teams are in need of a strong receiving corps. But it’s not just the top receivers that teams are looking for, it’s the guys who sneak into the lineup to play on special teams and situations. One of the most unheralded players on the Chiefs roster quietly emerged as one of the best players on special teams in Kansas City, and he’s not going to be intimidated by the new young QBs in the AFC West.
Normally it is a challenge to face the mighty Kansas City Chiefs offense. But when the 2021 NFL season begins, opposing defenses may face an even greater challenge. Just ask star receiver Tyreek Hill.
In a recent interview with TMZ Sports, Hill confirmed that he hasn’t forgotten the humiliation of Super Bowl 55 and that he uses the loss as motivation. If the Chiefs return to the field in 2021 with more hunger, the rest of the NFL could be in for a long season.
Tyreek Hill became the subject of ridicule during the Kansas City Chiefs’ loss in Super Bowl 55. | Patrick Smith/Getty Images
Overall, going to the Super Bowl is a pretty positive experience. Losing can be painful, but overall, qualifying for the Big Game means the team had a great season, even if it wasn’t entirely successful. In February 2021, however, there weren’t many opportunities for moral victories for the Kansas City Chiefs team.
Facing Tom Brady in the deciding game is never easy, but the Chiefs had one of their worst Super Bowl experiences in recent memory. Thanks to an offensive line battered by injuries, Patrick Mahomes’ team couldn’t get going. After Kansas City’s failure, the hunt for big game situations began. When those passes failed, Tampa got the ball back and moved up the field, creating a nightmare scenario.
Tyreek Hill was the epitome of the Chiefs’ problems. The receiver had 13 catches for 269 yards and three touchdowns in the club’s regular-season victory over Tampa. On that fateful night in February, however, he caught seven passes for 73 yards and did not score. He was also tackled by Antoine Winfield Jr. who imitated Hill’s peace sign in the Week 12 game, adding to the offense.
For some players, the best course of action after an embarrassing loss is to move on and get on with their lives. However, Hill is taking a different approach ahead of the 2021 NFL campaign.
Since I lost, I’ve been wagging my tail, Hill told TMZ Sports. I take losses really hard, so I mean I’m me, and I know my teammates, Pat [Mahomes], [Travis] Kelce and the other guys, Tyrann [Mathieu], Chris [Jones], they want to get back on that podium. So I know they are trying as hard as I am, because I feel like we have made fools of ourselves, for example, on national television in the biggest game. … We certainly don’t want to go down that road again, you know? So we’ll be back.
Reiver also admitted that the embarrassing loss against Canas City is motivating him ahead of the new season.
Exactly, Hill added. It makes me hungrier.
As Hill noted, he’s not the only one from the Kansas City Chiefs pushing for another end to the 2021 season. Kelce made similar comments, and Mahomes said he was ready to win the Super Bowl again.
From a cynical perspective, it is easy to dismiss comments about motivation and inspiration as meaningless platitudes. Each team enters the campaign with the goal of winning the Super Bowl. It’s worth noting that Kansas City is already a talented team hoping to make the cut. This is not a team on the brink of the playoffs hoping that a flurry of inspiration will magically make them a title contender.
And the Chiefs won’t just rely on intangibles to win another AFC title. Instead, the club’s management has spent the spring correcting glaring weaknesses on the field.
As we all saw in Super Bowl 55, Kansas City’s explosive offense was slowed by a weak offensive line. General manager Brett Veach clearly understood the memo and spent the season rebuilding the unit. While things could change at game time, the acquisitions of Orlando Brown Jr, Joe Tooney and Kyle Long can only help the Chiefs this year. The club also acquired two other linebackers in the draft: Laurent DuVernay-Tardif and Lucas Niang returned to the squad after an absence for 2021.
While there are still some question marks – the Chiefs’ defense still isn’t the strongest in the league and Mecol Hardman might not be the ideal receiver to take the No. 2 spot on the depth chart – you can’t say Kansas City hasn’t improved on its 2020 weakness. Combine that with the natural talents already on the roster, and add some extra motivation after Super Bowl 55, and the rest of the AFC could be in for a long season.
Statistics provided by Pro-Football-Reference
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