Why Kansas City Chiefs Have History on Their Side to Win Back-to-back Super Bowls

Over the past two seasons, the Kansas City Chiefs has ended a 50-year wait for the Super Bowl, rewritten a host of records and are now the favourites to join one of the NFL's most illustrious clubs—that of teams who have successfully defended their Super Bowl titles.

Reaching the NFL title game is a difficult enough task—over the past 11 years, only four teams have made it to the Super Bowl more than once—let alone winning it. Hoisting the Vince Lombardi Trophy in back-to-back seasons is an even rarer feat, so much so that only seven teams have managed it in NFL history.

The Chiefs won Super Bowl LIV in February and are 13/4 favorites (+325 in moneyline terms) to repeat this year, according to data from bookmaker Unikrn. Kansas City began the season as a 9/2 joint-favorite but the odds have shortened after it jumped off to a 4-0 start—the Chiefs are the first team in NFL history to win their first four games of the season in four consecutive years—which included commanding wins over AFC rivals Baltimore Ravens and New England Patriots.

At 11/2, the Ravens are the bookmakers' second-favorite to win Super Bowl LV after falling in the Divisional Round over the past two seasons, while the Seattle Seahawks and Green Bay Packers, who like the Chiefs have started the season with four straight wins, are 8/1 and 10/1 outsiders respectively.

The Green Bay Packers won the first two Super Bowls, while the Miami Dolphins triumphed in 1972 and 1973. The Pittsburgh Steelers are the only team to win back-to-back titles on two separate occasions, winning in 1974 and 1975 and then again in 1978 and 1979, while the San Francisco 49ers won Super Bowl XXXIII and XXIV.

Two teams managed the feat in the 1990s, with the Dallas Cowboys triumphing in 1992 and in 1993 and the Denver Broncos winning consecutive titles in 1997 and 1998.

No franchise, however, has won back-to-back titles in the past 16 years since the New England Patriots triumphed in Super Bowl XXXVIII and XXXIX—the longest gap in NFL history.

In the intervening 16 years, only four teams began the campaign following their Super Bowl triumphs as the bookmakers' favorite—or joint-favorite in Kansas City's case—to win back-to-back titles. The Seattle Seahawks were 9/2 favourites in 2014, while the Patriots were 11/4 and 4/1 favorites at the beginning of the 2017 and 2019 seasons respectively.

Significantly, the Patriots in 2017 were the only defending champion who made it as far as the Super Bowl.

"Only one of those champions—the Patriots in Super Bowl LII—made it to the Super Bowl showing just how difficult it is for a team to sustain their dominance in the NFL," a Unikrn spokesperson told Newsweek.

If history spells out how difficult it is to win back-to-back Super Bowls, it also offers the Chiefs some reasons to be optimistic as each of the last back-to-back winners began the season among the bookmakers' top-two favorites.

Fresh from winning Super Bowl XXVII, the Cowboys began the 1993 season as the team to beat at 7/2 and duly delivered a second consecutive Lombardi Trophy, with a 30-13 win over the Buffalo Bills in Super Bowl XXVIII. Five years later, the Broncos began the season as 6/1 second-favorites to win back-to-back Super Bowls behind the Packers. Green Bay, however, never made it as far as Super Bowl XXXIII after losing in the wild-card game to the 49ers, while the Broncos and John Elway won back-to-back titles with a 34-19 win over the Atlanta Falcons.

In 2004, meanwhile, the Patriots began the season as 6/1 second-favorites behind the Philadelphia Eagles, whom they defeated 24-21 in Super Bowl XXXIX.

"The Chiefs will have to pull off something special to break the 16-year record, but history shows each of the last four back-to-back winners have been either the favourite or second favourite in the pre-season betting going into their title defence, which puts the Chiefs as the current market favourites in pole position to retain their title," the Unikrn spokesperson added.

In the past couple of seasons, Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs have made a habit of making history. Don't bet against them rewriting the history books again.

Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs
Patrick Mahomes #15 of the Kansas City Chiefs celebrates after defeating the San Francisco 49ers 31-20 in Super Bowl LIV at Hard Rock Stadium on February 2 in Miami, Florida. Jamie Squire/Getty