Chiefs deserve more credit for overcoming shaky offseason to reach AFC title game

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Gaining Super Bowl access as a fringe contender has been more difficult in this era’s AFC than it has in either conference throughout NFL history. The AFC in the 1970s and NFC in the ‘80s and ‘90s may have featured better teams, but the long odds facing the AFC franchises that did not employ certain quarterbacks during almost the entire 21st century are unparalleled. It took a catastrophic misplay to send an AFC team not quarterbacked by Tom Brady, Peyton Manning or Ben Roethlisberger to a Super Bowl in the past 16 years. This is one of the most astounding patterns in the history of professional sports. With Manning retired and Roethlisberger's team reeling, Brady represents the old guard's last stand. The Chiefs have an excellent chance to close this chapter. NFL media have appropriately acknowledged Patrick Mahomes’ brilliance. He will likely be a wide-margin MVP and is the obvious difference between recent Chiefs teams that faltered in January and the one that has triggered the Patriots' ridiculous "every

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