Mon, Feb 12, 2024 6:43 AM
By ROB MAADDI, AP Pro Football Writer
LAS VEGAS (AP) — The Kansas City Chiefs are a dynasty and already are looking to become the first team to three-peat in the Super Bowl era.
They’re underdogs to do it.
Getting to New Orleans to play for the Vince Lombardi Trophy next February will be difficult for Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs. There’s no guarantee Travis Kelce isn’t retiring, Chris Jones is set to become a free agent and even coach Andy Reid could ride off into the sunset.
Perhaps that’s why the Chiefs are not the betting favorite to win the Super Bowl next year. The San Francisco 49ers are plus-450 to win it all, according to FanDuel Sportsbook. The Chiefs have the second-best odds at plus-750, followed by Baltimore (plus-900). Detroit and Buffalo are tied at plus-1,200 to close out the top five.
The NFL wrapped up its 2023 season when Kansas City overcame another 10-point deficit in a Super Bowl and rallied to beat the 49ers 25-22 in overtime on Sunday to become the first repeat champions since the New England Patriots 19 years ago.
Now, it’s onto 2024 with the first Super Bowl in Las Vegas in the books.
One of the biggest offseason storylines will be how the Chiefs shape their roster. Kelce didn’t commit to returning, though he is excited about going for three in a row. There’s no word how his relationship with pop star Taylor Swift will affect his decision.
The league is certainly pulling for Kelce to stick around so Swift can keep showing up to Kansas City’s games.
“We’ll go ahead and enjoy this and everything that just happened,” Kelce said. “This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that I’ve been able to go through three times now, man, and so it gets sweeter every time.”
Jones, the All-Pro defensive tackle, is due for a new contract, and it’s unlikely the Chiefs will use the franchise tag on him, so they have to make a tough decision.
The 49ers had their best shot at a record-tying sixth Super Bowl but beat themselves. Still, oddsmakers favor them to finish the job next season. At least they won’t have a question mark at quarterback like they did last offseason when Brock Purdy was returning from major elbow surgery.
“If I’m going to lose with a group of guys, I’d do it with those guys any time, and we’ll get over this and come back next year ready to go,” Niners coach Kyle Shanahan said.
There’s no time off in the NFL, so vacations will be short.
The league’s annual scouting combine is only two weeks away and free agency follows on March 13. Jones, Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins, Jaguars edge rusher Josh Allen and Bengals receiver Tee Higgins headline the list of players who could be available.
The draft goes to Detroit on April 25 for three days, and there could be new rules in place by the time rookies show up for training camp.
The NFL plans to address the hip-drop tackle, but the players’ union adamantly opposes banning it.
“Hip-drop tackles cause injuries at 25 times the rate of any other tackle,” NFL executive Jeff Miller told The Associated Press. “There are major time loss injuries. We’re talking about high-ankle sprains. We’re talking about knee injuries. We’re talking about broken bones, so we know it’s a risk to the game. And we know that players are missing time as a result. And when you identify something like that, in the past we’ve gotten rid of blindside blocks because we saw it as unnecessarily risky behavior that we wanted to get rid of. That led to fewer injuries when we took that play out. Similarly with hip drop, this is something that we’ve identified as an issue.”
The first NFL regular-season game in Brazil is coming Week 1, with the Eagles hosting a yet-to-be-named opponent. In total, five regular-season games will be played internationally in 2024, including three in London and one in Germany.
It’s way too early to make any Super Bowl predictions, but the Chiefs love being underdogs and they have Mahomes.
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