No NFL team was been more successful over the last three seasons than the Kansas City Chiefs. The Chiefs racked up a 38-10 regular-season record between 2018 and 2020. They made the AFC title game in each of those three seasons, advanced to the Super Bowl twice and won it once.
Of course, this season has been a bit different. The Chiefs are just 3-4 after seven weeks, and they have yet to win consecutive games. The primary culprits in the team's struggles have been a propensity to commit copious turnovers, as well as a defense that has struggled to get stops. The Chiefs rank 28th in yards allowed per game, 27th in points allowed per game, and 31st in defensive efficiency, as measured by Football Outsiders' DVOA.
Frustration is boiling over within the fan base, and on Friday it spilled over into interaction with a couple of players on the defense. A Chiefs-focused Instagram account posed a question to fans on Friday, asking which of general manager Brett Veach's decisions was worst: trading for and then signing edge rusher Frank Clark to a five-year, $105 million contract, signing linebacker Anthony Hitchens to a five-year, $45 million contract, or passing on Jonathan Taylor, D'Andre Swift, Cam Akers, JK Dobbins, and Antonio Gibson to select Clyde Edwards-Helaire in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft.
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Hitchens somehow got wind of the post, and responded in kind.
"All we did was go to 3 AFC championship games and 2 Super Bowls and 1 SB win in my first 3 years here so far," Hitchens wrote in the comments section. "y'all fans will never be satisfied it's sad!"
Seemingly in support of both his teammates and the team's general manager, safety Tyrann Mathieu replied to Hitchens, "Big facts. This might be one of the most toxic fan bases in all of sports."
Some Chiefs fans in the comments did not take too kindly to the players' opinions, and several of them began going back and forth with Mathieu on the subjects of the team's relative struggles this season, the players' salaries and occupation as professional football players, and Mathieu's decision to engage with fans on Instagram.
Mathieu seemed to take that to heart, as he said on Saturday that his comments were "a mistake." Much like the fans, he has let his own and the team's poor start get to him a bit. "I haven't had the season I wanted to have," Mathieu said. "Frustration tends to build up."
Several other fans jumped to Mathieu's and Hitchens' defenses, calling those arguing with them "fake fans" and telling the players not to let those fans' actions and comments represent the entire fan base.
The Chiefs have a chance to get back on track Monday night against the struggling New York Giants, who are coming off their second win of the season but have seen their own defense take a massive step backward this season. The Giants' offense is getting a bit healthier, though, which could give the Chiefs some problems. If the team can start stacking wins, something tells me the fans will have less to say about the players' performance and respective salaries.