Kansas City Chiefs All-Pro safety Tyrann Mathieu knows what it takes to be a part of a championship defense. After all, the 28-year-old helped lead the Chiefs to to their first Super Bowl title in 50 years last season.
With a new season just weeks away, Mathieu is certainly looking to repeating history, but managing expectations at the same time. On Sunday, the former LSU Tiger gave an update about the team’s progress thus far as we inch closer to the September 10 home opener.
Via Chiefs.com: “We expect to pick up where we left off last season as one of the best defenses in the National Football League. No, it wasn’t pretty. No, we don’t have this extra amount of first-round draft picks. We just have a lot of guys who work hard and who fit our scheme really well. A lot of those guys are coming back, so the expectation is to be one of the best defenses in the National Football League. [We want] to start this season faster and to finish even stronger than we did this past season.”
Kansas City recently unveiled protocols for fans heading toward Arrowhead Stadium on game day this season. Mathieu acknowledged the emptier seats will be different, but praised the franchise for doing what’s right to ensure everyone’s safety.
“I think it’s going be an adjustment for all of us involved, including the fans. I think they’re so important to the game and especially here in Kansas City, they’re like that extra element that we feed off, so I think it’s a good deal that we are going to have some fans in some kind of capacity but also I truly believe the Chiefs and NFL would take the right steps to help those people stay safe.”
Mahomes Talks Playing in Front of Fans for the First Time
Mathieu isn’t the only Chiefs personnel who opened up about playing in front of fans. On Saturday, about 2,000 supporters flocked to Arrowhead Stadium to watch players train live for the first time. That seemed to delight quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who used their presence to improve his own game.
“Having the fans there, I think it gave us [another level] of energy. Being out there with the fans cheering, you just get to see the passion that they have, and Chiefs Kingdom is unmatched. It was awesome to be out there and to be a part of that,” the franchise playcaller explained. “You saw me hyped up and how it got me going…There were only 2,000 people there, but it was loud.”
Chiefs head coach Andy Reid had similar, positive sentiments.
“It was great to get back in our stadium and have some fans there,” Reid said. “The guys fed off of the energy, which was great.”
In addition to fans witnessing the reigning champions play live, another fun revelation from the weekend included kicker Harrison Butker sinking a 62-yard field goal on Saturday and nearly succeeding at another from 69 yards out, striking the inside of the goal post before falling short.