KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Arrowhead Stadium claims the Guinness World Record for loudest stadium in the world, but it’s been a postseason house of horrors for the Kansas City Chiefs, who have dropped six straight playoff games at home.
But quarterback Patrick Mahomes wasn’t part of that history, and he’s ready to break a 26-year run of frustration for a fan base rabid for postseason success.
“I know the history and stuff like that, but at the same time, we’re a different generation,” Mahomes said. “I’m ready to go out there and win football games at Arrowhead, and I’m excited for that opportunity of knowing with the guys in this locker room that we’re excited to go out there and play at Arrowhead and win games.”
The Chiefs clinched their third straight AFC West title on Sunday, also sealing home-field advantage for the postseason. But that’s rarely been a benefit for the Chiefs, who own a paltry 2-7 record in the postseason at Arrowhead Stadium.
Head coach Andy Reid hasn’t been able to shake the team’s postseason bad luck, dropping two playoff games at home the past couple of seasons. The Chiefs stand at 1-4 in the postseason since his arrival in Kansas City, but he’s comfortable with the spotlight on his team.
“That is the way you want it,” Reid said. “You’ve earned the right to be in this position and it is important how you handle it. I know I have a good locker room and they will handle it right and coaches will handle it the right way.”
Reid doesn’t believe in bad luck — it’s all about teams creating their own opportunities and playing their own game.
“We don’t worry about all that stuff,” Reid said. “Just go play. Get yourself ready, go through the process and get yourself ready to go. And then what happens on that field man against man, you are playing the game.”
The Chiefs have a week off before hosting the lowest remaining AFC seed in the Divisional Round on Jan. 12. That will mark the postseason debut for Mahomes, who says he understands the game speeds up in the postseason.
“There’s definitely an intensity that you don’t have during the regular season, but preparation-wise, you’re still doing the same things that has gotten you here,” Mahomes said. “You still prepare, watch the film, game plan and do those things that you’ve had success with during the season and try to maximize those.”
Reid believes his 23-year-old quarterback can handle the pressure cooker of postseason football despite the franchise’s lackluster playoff history at home.
“I don’t think he will have a problem with that,” Reid said. “I think he understands that. He’s wired the right way to handle all of it. The main thing is, let’s get in and get busy so you can allow yourself to perform at the level you have been and also continue to get better each and every week that you have that opportunity to.”
S Eric Berry sat out the season finale against Oakland after his chronic heel pain flared up late in the week. The club hopes that an additional week of rest will allow Berry to return for the Divisional Playoff game on Jan. 12.
WR Sammy Watkins hasn’t played since Week 11 against the Los Angeles Rams on Nov. 19, but the Chiefs have circled the postseason for his anticipated return. Watkins suffered a right foot injury in Week 9. He had been wearing a protective boot until last week, but head coach Andy Reid described his current status as day-to-day.
LG Laurent Duvernay-Tardif could return to the team from injured reserve as soon as next week. His recovery from a fractured fibula and ligament damage in his ankle remains ahead of schedule. The Chiefs have until Jan. 15 to return the offensive lineman to the active roster or leave him on injured reserve for the remainder of the season.
DT Derrick Nnadi sustained a concussion during Sunday’s win against Oakland. This year’s third-round draft pick has played an increasing role with the defense, particularly in run situations. He remains in the league’s concussion protocol.
S Jordan Lucas left Sunday’s game with a stinger. He started in place of injured Eric Berry alongside Daniel Sorensen in the team’s secondary. Lucas has started four games for the club this season and has seen his role expand during the last two weeks of the season as the team’s dime safety.