"Super Bowl Window" is a phrase thrown around to describe when a NFL team has a collection of good players in their prime and how long they can keep them together at a high level.
The Seattle Seahawks won a Super Bowl through a very specific blueprint. They drafted a great quarterback and paid him peanuts, enabling the team to pay for great players around him, specifically on defense. Russell Wilson entered the NFL in 2012 on a 4-year contract.
This morning, thinking about this, I had 2 questions.
1. What did his First Contract Super Bowl Window look like?
2. Did he get/need playoff experience?
In 2012, they were good out of the gate. 11-5 record. They went to the playoffs and Wilson started 2 playoff games on the road, going 1-1.
In 2013, they were even better. 13-3 and 3-0 in the playoffs, winning the Super Bowl.
In 2014, 12-4, returned to the Super Bowl and really should have won it again.
In 2015, not as good, 10-6 and lost to the Panthers in the Super Bowl.
His contract extension became active in 2016, they still won 10 games and made the playoffs losing to the Falcons.
If my theory was perfect, you would have seen a larger drop off from 2015 to 2016. But the larger point stands, that drafting a Pro Bowl QB and not paying him much, is a great start to building a Super Bowl contender.
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The Chiefs drafted Patrick Mahomes this year and signed him to a 4-year contract for
(Teams have a fifth-year option, but because he was a top-10 pick, that option would be very expensive and no better financially than a contract extension.)
So there you go. The Chiefs best chance to win a Super Bowl in my lifetime is the next 4 years. In 2018, Alex Smith has to go and ideally would be replaced with immediate-impact players on the defense.
Of course, if Alex Smith goes and leads the 2017 Chiefs to a Super Bowl win, we'll take that too.