Just because the Kansas City Chiefs are defending Super Bowl champions doesn't mean they're satisfied.
In fact, they're far from it. Whether it's Patrick Mahomes counting on his fingers or by his teammates taking to Twitter, the final week of the NFL season leaves plenty for the Chiefs to prove in their eyes.
"I mean we get a lot of respect, but at the same time, it's like this team wasn't winning by enough, I guess that's a stat," Mahomes told reporters Thursday. "So, we wanted to make sure everybody knew that we could still play good football when we wanted to."
Narratives have surrounded the Chiefs throughout the year. From failing to win games in blowout, Mahomes benefitting from talent surrounding him, or a defense incapable of winning games, Kansas City battled through everything to claim the AFC's crown.
Now, the narratives turn beyond the scope of this season for Chiefs and Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady. The Chiefs have a chance of being the first team to win back-to-back games since the early 2000s. Brady has the opportunity to beat Mahomes head-to-head in one of the biggest Super Bowl matchups in history.
"There's a lot of history to be made on both ends. Tom Brady is trying to get seven and the Chiefs are trying to go back-to-back which hasn't been done in a while," defensive tackle Chris Jones said. "We're both fighting for something.
"I feel like this year, we took it upon us as a team to not only preach to run it back but believe that we had the team to do it, to run it back and repeat what we did last year."
'Run it back' became a rally cry to repeat as Super Bowl champions. Hidden in the motto was also the construction of the team, making sure the re-sign key free agents and take care of the players in-house from Sammy Watkins to Patrick Mahomes II, even giving Jones a new deal.
Throughout the process, everyone realized that the other would be needed to make it happen in a season with challenges unlike any other.
"(General manager Brett) Veach and his team are remarkable for how they were able to manipulate the contract situation to keep us all together," Jones said. "Especially when Pat texted me saying he left money on the table. That still baffles me to this day.
"How in the hell did you leave money on the table when you got a half a billion-dollar contract?," Jones joked. "I still don't get it but some way they figured it out."
The culmination of an offseason of continuity and a season of battling through the metaphorical brick wall leaves Kansas City one step from joining rare air and taking a step toward becoming a true dynasty.