The Kansas City Chiefs are 9-0. This has prompted two things. First, they must be rated at #1 in your power rankings. Anything else would invite ridicule. Even if you note “It’s fair to debate just how good the Kansas City Chiefs really are. They have played a weak schedule (just one of their first nine opponents would be in the playoffs if the season ended today) and have wobbled the past three weeks against sub-.500 competition.” you must also then add “the Chiefs deserve their spot as the No. 1 team in this week’s ESPN Power Rankings.”
Second, in this good cop/bad cop world, you must then, while ranking them first, question whether this team is the worst 9-0 of all-time. That would then prompt responses from Kansas City utilizing things like their turnover rank to tell you how wrong you are to think they are fluky because they keep getting defensive touchdowns and not scoring.
It’s a tired debate. Obviously, they are not the worst 9-0 team of all-time. Plenty of high school teams have started 9-0. But let’s “seven minute ab” this conversation. Are the Chiefs the worst 9-0 NFL team on a bye week of all-time?
First of all, I think it’s a general sign of the softness and lack of character exhibited by teams these days that they even have to take a week of once they get to 9-0. Take the 1923 Canton Bulldogs, for example. They beat the Toledo Maroons on Thanksgiving to get to 9-0-1, then turned around three days later and beat the Buffalo All-Americans. That’s how a real 9-0 team does it, on three days rest, against the team that tied them 3-3 earlier in the year. I bet no one wrote any articles questioning the quality of play because of the quick turnaround, either.
Twenty-nine teams in football history have started 9-0. Of course, for most of football history, teams did not need a bye. The bye week did not become a thing until 1990. That excludes all but twelve of them, including this year’s Chiefs. I know what you are thinking now. The Chiefs are probably the only team to have a bye week after getting to 9-0.
You would be wrong. The 2007 New England Patriots also took a week off after getting to 9-0, and it eventually cost them. That team wasn’t good enough to win a championship, so I don’t think we can automatically determine that the Chiefs are worse than them. But maybe. I’m not ruling out that the Chiefs could be the worst team to start 9-0 and then take a week off in NFL history, and neither should you.