The Kansas City Chiefs finished just short of their ultimate goal in 2018, falling to the eventual Super Bowl champion New England Patriots in overtime of the AFC title game, but as difficult as it was to see this season come to an end, it provided a glimpse into the future of the franchise.
Kansas City compiled the third-best scoring offense in NFL history, pulled off some unforgettable comebacks and featured the league MVP at quarterback in Patrick Mahomes, who became the first player in franchise history to garner the award on Saturday.
It was truly a special year, and what's perhaps most exciting is that the best may still be yet to come.
Mahomes just completed one of the best seasons ever in the history of the sport, and he's only 23 years old. He has a stable of young and dynamic playmakers at his disposal headed into next season, and with four picks in the top 100 selections of the upcoming NFL Draft, Kansas City is poised to land some potential impact reinforcements soon enough.
It's for those reasons that ESPN has the Chiefs as the top squad in the AFC and the No. 2 team in the NFL in their "Way-Too-Early Power Rankings" for the 2019 campaign, trailing only the Los Angeles Rams.
ESPN analyst Adam Teicher's breakdown of the ranking was simple enough:
"The Chiefs have a quarterback who can help keep them near the top of the division standings and the conference for the foreseeable future."
Kansas City is also already being cited as the favorite to win Super Bowl LIV next February, less than 24 hours after the completion of this year's championship. The country clearly believes in this team.
To continue what will likely become a worn-out phrase over the next several months, training camp can't get here soon enough.