As any New England Patriots fan who has seen the seminal Batman film “The Dark Knight” can tell you: You either stop winning, or you win long enough to see yourself become the villain.
The Kansas City Chiefs — ostensibly the current NFL team and franchise best equipped to replicate the historic 20-year winning stretch of former Patriots star Tom Brady and current coach Bill Belichick — have found themselves learning this lesson in real time after the outsized bellyaching coming from the team following its controversial 20-17 loss to the Buffalo Bills on Sunday afternoon.
In a back-and-forth game that saw Kansas City roar back from an early 14-0 deficit, the Chiefs erupted late in the fourth quarter when they thought that they had scored the go-ahead touchdown off of an incredibly slick lateral from Taylor Swift’s boyfriend.
TRAVIS KELCE LATERAL TO TONEY GETS CALLED BACK 😭
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) December 11, 2023
As that X post noted, the brilliant lateral from Chiefs star Travis Kelce to embattled receiver Kadarius Toney was negated because the latter player was (clearly) lined up offsides on the critical play:
This was at the moment the ball was snapped pic.twitter.com/LynhCj3lCU
— Jonathan Jones (@jjones9) December 11, 2023
It was an unequivocally correct — if perhaps mildly nitpicky — call that took away a potential Chiefs game-winning touchdown. (The team was losing 20-17, which would end up also being the final score, at the time of the revoked touchdown.)
Despite the inherent correctness of the call, that didn’t stop the Chiefs from utterly freaking out about the offside penalty during and after the game.
Everyone from Chiefs superstar quarterback Patrick Mahomes to head coach Andy Reid were livid that the referees didn’t follow some unspoken decorum on the critical play. (Typically, when a player checks in with a referee as an eligible receiver, a referee will gently let them know that they’re offsides when lining up. It’s not a hard rule, and it’s not clear whether Toney checked with the referees.)
Mahomes, in particular, was spotted on the sidelines throwing a massive tantrum:
Patrick Mahomes was NOT happy on the sideline pic.twitter.com/kFdVMF7PrM
— Ben Brown 🌻 (@BenBrownPL) December 11, 2023
Mahomes’ wife, Brittany Mahomes, appeared to take the cue from her husband and also went over-the-top with her complaining after the game.
Taking to Instagram Stories (which self-delete after a set amount of time), Mrs. Mahomes took a quick video of a referee from the game with the simple caption: “MVP.”
— Ari Meirov (@MySportsUpdate) December 11, 2023
The implication was clear, if not heavy-handed: Brittany Mahomes thinks that the most valuable players on the field during her husband’s second straight loss were the zebra crew members.
This complaining has drawn swift ire from fans who don’t want to hear this whining from a team that has benefited from calls in the past — sometimes with beneficial missed calls stretching over an entire game.
Who’s going to tell her that her Husband has gotten bailed out by the refs more than anyone in history
— 49ers & NFL News 24/7 (@49ersSportsTalk) December 11, 2023
The irony is CRAZY
— Santa Dom 🎅 (@itsdomyoutube) December 11, 2023
She is right, the referees are the MVPs. They have helped Mahomes win several games this year.
— Edwin🎙️ (@EdwinSphere) December 11, 2023
The Chiefs have won two of the last five Super Bowls and three of the last five AFC championships, while winning countless regular season games in-between. To suggest that referees are somehow against them would deny years of tangible results.
But not unlike the New England Patriots, whose scandals were more of the rule-breaking variety and less of the crybaby variety, this sort of endgame for the Chiefs may have been inevitable.
Winning cures a lot of ailments, but it also produces some symptoms, too: a bigger, more searing public microscope, a total lack of sympathy from the sports world, jealousy, and fatigue.
The Chiefs still have a ways to go on the football field before they can even sniff what Brady, Belichick and the Patriots have accomplished the last 20-plus years.
But when it comes to simply being Public Enemy No. 1 — outspoken sports wives included — among NFL fans … the Chiefs might be on pace to be even bigger villains than the Patriots ever were.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.