It’s hard to believe that the team that was once 9-0, the Kansas City Chiefs, would be starting their playoff run as the fifth seed in the AFC and on the road against the Indianapolis Colts, but here we are. With Kansas City’s playoff run set to begin this weekend, it begs the question: can Alex Smith lead them to the Super Bowl?
Since being drafted first overall in the 2005 NFL Draft by the San Francisco 49ers, Smith has been a part of two playoff teams but hasn’t played in a playoff game since 2011. He was the starting quarterback of the 49ers last season before going down due to injury and watched as Colin Kaepernick took his job. Now, he is the starting quarterback of the Chiefs and is poised to stake his own claim in the NFL playoffs.
All season long, Smith has been a solid quarterback for Andy Reid and the Chiefs. He’s thrown for 3,313 yards, 23 touchdowns and seven interceptions. He’s proven to be a mobile quarterback by also rushing for 431 yards and a score. On the season, he has a QBR of 49.4 and a passer rating of 89.1. His numbers aren’t terrible, but they don’t scream NFL MVP either. To put it simply, he’s been a solid game manager for the Chiefs.
That “solid game manager” moniker is what people have been calling Smith all season long. Is it wrong? Absolutely not. He calls the play in the huddle, takes the snap from the center and runs the play that is called. He doesn’t venture too far out of his comfort zone and plays within himself. It’s not a bad trait to have in a quarterback. People tend to think of that label as sort of an insult when it’s really quite the opposite.
However, it certainly isn’t going to lead a team to a Super Bowl. While Smith isn’t going to cost your team a football game, you can’t rely on him to win you one, either. It will take a total team effort to pull off a come-from-behind victory or squeak out a close win in the waning minutes. For Kansas City however, that works just fine because they’ve put together a solid team around him.
The Chiefs boast arguably the best defense in the NFL, and their offense is loaded. Jamaal Charles, Dwayne Bowe, Donnie Avery and Dexter McCluster are all major playmakers for Kansas City. As a collective unit, they are one of the best teams in the NFL and should certainly be viewed as one of the favorites in the AFC.
So, having a “game manager” like Smith as your quarterback isn’t a bad thing at all. When you put talent around that player, much like what Kansas City has been able to do, good things will come of it. If your team is well rounded and above average across the depth chart, you’ve got a good recipe for a winning football team. In Kansas City, they’ve brewed that recipe up perfectly.
However, the question was can Smith lead the Chiefs to the Super Bowl? The answer is a resounding no. He’s not going cost them a football game, but he certainly can’t be relied on to win one either. Smith does what Smith feels comfortable doing, and that will work as long as they have put together a quality team around him. I’m not saying the Chiefs can’t get to the Super Bowl, but if they do, don’t expect Smith to take home MVP honors.