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Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes sends message to doubters: 'In our rebuilding year we're world champs'

The theme, while it may include a bit of revisionist history, was clear on Wednesday: The Chiefs were out to prove the doubters wrong in 2022.

Kansas City did just that by winning the AFC West, earning the conference's top seed, and riding it all the way to its second Super Bowl triumph in four years.

Such an accomplishment is deserving of a massive celebration. The Chiefs reveled in their glory during Wednesday's parade in Kansas City, and didn't shy from acknowledging what motivated them on their journey to another Lombardi Trophy.

"Let me take you back to 2022 in the month of maybe April -- maybe," tight end Travis Kelce said during his celebratory speech. "Guys were getting signed left and right. The haters were saying that the Chiefs would never make the playoffs, the haters were saying the Chiefs were done. If you knew the Chiefs were going to win the division, let me hear you say, 'Hell yeah!' If you knew the Chiefs were going to get the No. 1 seed, let me hear you say, 'Hell yeah!'

"I knew it, you knew it, but they didn't know it. If you knew that Patrick Mahomes was going to win MVP, let me hear you say, 'Hell yeah!' If you knew the Kansas City Chiefs were going to have the best offense in the National Football League, let me hear you say, 'Uhhhhhh… na na nana.' That's a good one right there -- I like that one right there. If you knew Chris Jones was going to be the best defensive player in the nation, let me hear you say, 'Uhhhhhh… na na nana.' Alright, alright, alright!"

Kansas City has remained among the league's elite for much of the last half-decade, but the Chiefs did have at least somewhat of a reason to feel disrespected entering 2022. They'd lost explosive playmaker Tyreek Hill to Miami, retooled their receiving corps, and were forced to listen to the hype swell around their divisional counterparts, who loaded up in the offseason in a collective attempt to dethrone the Chiefs.

By the time the regular season's dust settled, only one of the other three AFC West members reached the playoffs. That team -- the Los Angeles Chargers -- exited the postseason after one game, thanks to a second-half meltdown in a loss to Jacksonville.

Kansas City, meanwhile, did nothing but take care of its business from start to finish, going 14-3 and taking down Jacksonville and a recent bogeyman, the Cincinnati Bengals, on its way to Super Bowl LVII. Once the Chiefs reached the greatest stage in sports, one task remained: Defeat the NFL's top seed (and slightly favored) Philadelphia Eagles.

It required a comeback, and a heroic performance on the part of Mahomes, who was happy to gloat Wednesday and promised more titles in the future.

"Before we started this season, the AFC West said we were rebuilding," Mahomes told the fans at the rally. "I'm going to be honest with you -- I don't know what rebuilding means! In our rebuilding year we're world champs. I just want to say we appreciate everybody here today. Arrowhead Stadium is one of a kind and we just want to say Chiefs Kingdom is one of a kind, so give a round of applause for everyone standing here today.

"This is just the beginning -- we ain't done yet!"

The achievement secured head coach Andy Reid his second Lombardi Trophy of his career, and considering it came against his former employer, it had to be especially sweet. So too, was the taste of a victory earned for the diehard Chiefs Kingdom.

"I'll tell you what, there's some great cities in America, but there's no place you'd rather be and no greater place to be than right here, baby," Reid said Wednesday.

"I'm very proud of these guys on the stage and very proud of our organization. Not very often are you able to say you are the greatest team in the world, have the greatest players in the world, have the greatest organization in the world and, most of all, the greatest fans in the world. We love you!"

Kelce closed with an emphatic statement that capped the most memorable year of his Hall of Fame career.

"In all reality, this was the best season of my life," Kelce said. "I owe it to you guys, I owe it to the guys on this stage, I owe it to everybody in Chiefs Kingdom and the organization we've been able to create. Everybody asking if this is a dynasty -- it's been a dynasty -- y'all just didn't know this s--- until now. Believe that s---, feel that s---, and it's Chiefs Kingdom forever, baby!"

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