KU hoops coach Bill Self praises AFC-champion Kansas City Chiefs, including ‘No. 15.’
Kansas basketball coach Bill Self did not attend the AFC title game between the Kansas City Chiefs and Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday night at Arrowhead Stadium.
He did the next best thing.
“I watched every play (on TV),” Self, who has called himself a Chiefs fan in past interviews, said Monday, referring to KC’s 23-20 victory over Cincinnati. “It was obviously a great game and it was just how you’d envision a game of that magnitude coming down.
“I will say this, and not being a football expert, to throw for 350 yards (when you) don’t have any healthy No. 1 targets (at receiver), it’s pretty amazing. Those receivers did a great job and obviously you know (the) quarterback is pretty good.”
KU’s 20th-year coach was indeed complimentary of Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who completed 29 of 43 passes for 326 yards and two touchdowns.
Self indicated at his own Monday news conference he was “really happy for coach (Andy) Reid, which I think everybody in this area should be because you talk about a storyline going into the Super Bowl, ... this is going to be fun for media for a couple weeks. I just hope he can enjoy it. It’s pretty special to get there I’m sure.”
Reid is a former head coach of KC’s Super Bowl opponent, the Philadelphia Eagles.
Asked his Super Bowl pick on Monday’s Hawk Talk radio show, Self said to applause at Johnny’s Tavern West: “I’m going to go with the Chiefs. They’re the best team. To me they’ve got the best coach, the best quarterback, the best tight end, the best defensive tackle. They are so good across the board.
“That’s a special thing the Chiefs have going: five straight AFC championship games and three Super Bowls,” Self exclaimed. “I know that people here probably don’t take that for granted because I don’t think that’s happening with very many franchises out there. What they are doing over there is remarkable and he’s only what, 27? He’s still got a couple more good years probably.”
Self was referring to Mahomes, who if healthy obviously could play many, many more seasons.
“You’ve got that No. 15 throwing the ball, that’s a big advantage,” Self said.
He was impressed that the Chiefs’ Mahomes, hobbled by an ankle injury, was able to run for key yardage on a late play that, along with an unnecessary roughness penalty on the Bengals, led to a game-winning 45-yard field goal by Harrison Butker.
“It’s a prime example, late in the season in the most competitive games in whatever sport you are watching — NCAA Tournament, NBA playoffs, Major League Baseball, College World Series, NFL, which probably has the most parity of all the sports — all the games are one-possession games it seems like across the board,” Self said,
“It comes down to: Does a player make a play? Does a team execute in the last minute? There are so many things. It comes down to one possession, one play. I tell our team every year our season will come down to one possession. Somebody on the other team is going to have a breakdown or we’re going to make a great play. Go back and look at our seasons. How many games have come down to one possession in the last game of the season?
“Same with Cincinnati-Kansas City last night. The other game didn’t obviously with Philadelphia beating San Francisco,” Self noted. Philly routed the Niners 31-7.
KU freshman forward Ernest Udeh said the Jayhawks were rooting for the Chiefs on Sunday.
“We do (cheer for KC),” Udeh, who played high school basketball in Orlando, Florida, said. “Me going to the University of Kansas now, for sure you could say I root for them.”
“Growing up, Seattle was my team, I’m not going to lie,” Udeh said. “(But) we keep up with it (NFL).”