Another season, another Lombardi Trophy for Kansas City.
The Chiefs won their third Super Bowl in five seasons, becoming the first back-to-back champions since the 2003-2004 New England Patriots, with a thrilling 25-22 overtime win over the San Francisco 49ers.
Sunday's epic performance cemented a certainty: With a game on the line, there is no one in football you want on your side more than Patrick Mahomes.
In a season in which his receivers struggled to catch the ball, the offense was wonky for long, long stretches (even Sunday), but Mahomes, Travis Kelce, and a stingy defense still found a way to hoist the Lombardi Trophy. Credit Andy Reid and his staff for milking every ounce of talent out of the roster, but it helps to have the best player on the planet.
The latest Lombardi lifting means we'll once again start another campaign at Arrowhead Stadium. It's never too early to consider who the Chiefs might face in that 2024 September opener.
The NFL Kickoff game traditionally occurs at the Super Bowl winner's house. For the 2024 season, K.C. is set to host the Baltimore Ravens, the Cincinnati Bengals, the Denver Broncos, the Houston Texans, the Las Vegas Raiders, the Los Angeles Chargers, the New Orleans Saints and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Let's take a look at our top four matchups to kick off the 2024 campaign:
The reigning MVP versus the back-to-back champs would provide months of storylines. Lamar Jackson saw his phenomenal season end at the hands of a spectacular Chiefs defense. Steve Spagnuolo's crew pestered Jackson into errors down the stretch in the AFC Championship Game. You can bet that Jackson's offseason focus will be on learning from those miscues. In this scenario, he can test the development off the bat. The Chiefs and Ravens are built to remain AFC powers for years to come. Kicking off the season with a burgeoning rivalry would be a heck of a start to 2024.
Joe Burrow's injury took some pizzazz out of the now-annual matchup in 2023; let's avoid that again by pitting the rivals against each other in the 2024 opener. The Bengals remain the only AFC club to have knocked off the Chiefs in the past five postseasons. The back-to-back champs kicking off the season at home against the Bengals could kickstart an offseason of "Burrowhead" chatter. We all remember how fun that was. Even with the inevitable offseason moves, the Bengals would bring star power in Burrow and Ja'Marr Chase to match Mahomes, Kelce and the dynastic Chiefs.
Los Angeles Chargers
The NFL likes to save division games for later in the season, but Jim Harbaugh's return to the league could change their minds. The Chargers opening the Harbaugh era at Arrowhead against Mahomes and the three-time Super Bowl Chiefs would be a delicious beginning for a coach who has designs on "multiple championships" of his own. L.A. will undergo additional roster changes this offseason, but this matchup provides enticing potential. Andy Reid versus Harbaugh. Mahomes against Justin Herbert. Let's go!!
This showdown comes with reasoning similar to the NFL's for putting the Detroit Lions in the kickoff game in 2023. The Texans are a young team on the rise. They boast stars in Offensive Rookie of the Year, C.J. Stroud, and Defensive Rookie of the Year, Will Anderson. Houston has an energetic coach in DeMeco Ryans in the early stages of building a dangerous AFC club. The Texans surprised by winning the AFC South with a rookie QB and first-year coach in 2023. Pitting Stroud versus Mahomes in the 2024 season opener would indicate the league believes the Texans won't regress and are a potential postseason rival for the Chiefs for years to come.