And not sure if you’ve heard, but he’s dating a certain notable pop star.
Also, Patrick Mahomes might end up the GOAT of football. A Kansas City Chiefs win on Feb. 11 would give him a third Super Bowl title, joining Tom Brady (7), Joe Montana (4), Terry Bradshaw (4), and Troy Aikman (3) as the only starting quarterbacks to win three or more titles. He’s only 28, with plenty of time to collect more hardware.
But Super Bowls are built on much more than a single QB/TE combo, no matter how excellent. Sure, Brady had Gronk (that would be Rob Gronkowski, pickleball enthusiast). But he also had solid wide receivers, a strong offensive line, and a defense—orchestrated by Bill Belichick’s innovative brain—to help along the way. Similarly, the Chiefs have a band of Pro Bowlers, and other talented players, fueling their success.
Here are seven Kansas City Chiefs, not named Kelce or Mahomes, who may make waves against the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LXIII in Las Vegas.
Chris Jones, defensive tackle
Jones has made five straight Pro Bowls, and for the second consecutive year, he’s AP First-Team All-Pro. The 2016 second-round draft pick from Mississippi State—Jones grew up in Houston, Miss., population 3,505—missed the first game of this season as he held out for a long-term deal with the team. The sides did not reach an agreement, so Jones signed a one-year, $19.5 million contract that also included a host of incentive targets, most of which he’s already hit. His teammates mobbed him when he recorded a sack against the Los Angeles Chargers, in the otherwise meaningless last game of the regular season. The sack earned him a $1.25 million bonus for recording at least 10 on the season. Jones should secure his multiyear riches this offseason—from the Chiefs or another team.
Harrison Butker, kicker
The unflappable Butker is perfect this postseason: he’s 7 for 7 on both field goals and extra points. He’s gone 95 for 97 on kicks this season, making 40 of 42 field goals and converting all 45 of his extra points. He’s emerged as a crucial, dependable weapon in the KC attack.
Butker grew up in Atlanta with soccer as his primary sport. He took up football his sophomore year in high school. Before that, he barely watched the game. He has the tuba to thank for his career. When he was a freshman in high school, a senior and fellow tuba player asked Butker, during their symphonic-band class, if he wanted to replace him as the team’s kicker the next season.
Isiah Pacheco, running back
While San Francisco QB Brock Purdy is famous for his “Mr. Irrelevant” status—he was taken with the last overall pick, No. 262, in the 2022 NFL Draft—another late-round selection from that year could star in the Super Bowl: Chiefs running back Isiah Pacheco, who went 251st overall, out of Rutgers. (Pacheco hails from South Jersey.) While KC’s receiving corps struggled at times to hold on to the football this season, Pacheco was a consistent force, running for 935 yards, and seven scores. His hard, almost violent running style has inspired a host of memes and comments. “Pacheco run like he bite people,” wrote Dallas Cowboys defensive back Jourdan Lewis on X.
Read More: The History of the Super Bowl
Marquez Valdes-Scantling, wide receiver
During the regular season, the Chiefs led the NFL in dropped passes, with 44. Fans took out plenty of frustration on Valdes-Scantling, who dropped a late go-ahead touchdown pass against the Philadelphia Eagles during a November loss—and other balls throughout the year. Despite making $11 million this season, Valdes-Scantling caught only 21 balls, for 315 yards and one TD. But he’s fixed his issues in the playoffs, having made two 30-plus-yard catches in second-half touchdown drives in KC’s 27-24 divisional-round win over the Buffalo Bills. His 32-yard grab, while falling backward, on third down late in the AFC championship game against the Baltimore Ravens iced the victory. “Sometimes that ball looks big, sometimes it looks small,” said his coach, Andy Reid, last week. “And he worked through that.”
Creed Humphrey, center
Is there a better name for an offensive lineman? You’d be hard-pressed to find one. Humphrey, who’s in his third year in the NFL out of the University of Oklahoma, anchors a line that did not allow a single quarterback pressure in KC’s postseason win over Buffalo. (Six Oklahoma alums, by the way, are playing in the Super Bowl, the most of any school.) Humphrey grew up in Shawnee, Okla., which honored its hometown hero after last year’s Super Bowl win with “Creed Humphrey Day.” At 6’4”, 302 lbs., Humphrey’s also been an imposing presence. "He's country-fed, corn-fed," a former OU teammate, Jonathan Alvarez, told the Tulsa World back in 2018. "I'm like, 'Wow, I wonder what he ate growing up?'"
Rashee Rice, wide receiver
Rice’s Kansas City neighbors threw the rookie a charming Super Bowl send-off, lining the streets and waving signs and flags as he drove away, en route to his plane ride to Vegas. He finished the regular season with rookie franchise records for receptions (79) and touchdowns (seven). He finished the Wild Card playoff round against Miami with 130 yards, a rookie playoff record for the Chiefs, and a touchdown on eight catches. “Rashee Rice out here looking like Jerry,” the NFL on CBS X account tweeted as Rice beat the Cincinnati Bengals defense for a long gain. (In case you were wondering, there’s no relation.)
Nick Bolton, linebacker
Bolton set a franchise tackles record in the 2022 season, with 180, and his return from a wrist injury in December bolstered the team’s defensive unit, one of the youngest in the league. During the Bills playoff game, the mics caught Bolton imploring KC’s special teams to be aware of a fake punt in the fourth quarter. “Hey, watch the fake! Watch the fake! Earmuffs! Earmuffs! Earmuffs!” (Earmuffs is an instruction not to listen to the play-call cadence, which can be used to draw the defense offsides.) Indeed, the Bills snapped the ball to Damar Hamlin in the punt formation. The Chiefs stuffed Hamlin short of the first down, and held on for the win.
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Write to Sean Gregory at firstname.lastname@example.org