The Patriots are coming off their third championship in five seasons, and they should be competitive for another few years. If Bill Belichick stays on as head coach for another several years, with a franchise quarterback after Tom Brady retires (if he ever does), their championship window might not close for another decade-plus. However, these six playoff teams from the 2018 season look to have the biggest Super Bowl windows moving forward.
1. Kansas City Chiefs
League MVP Patrick Mahomes just threw 50 touchdown passes and is just 23 years old with plenty of young-but-experienced weapons to work with on offense, so it’s hard to see the Chiefs going anywhere anytime soon. If Kansas City ends up winning a Super Bowl, which could lead to Andy Reid deciding it might be time to call it a career after finally winning a title, then maybe the championship window won’t be quite as long considering he’s an elite coach; but if Mahomes and Reid remain together, the pairing should be legitimate Super Bowl contenders for the next 7-10+ years.
2. Los Angeles Rams
There was some consideration to putting the Rams in the No. 1 spot for biggest championship window, as it’s not crazy to think—as remarkable as it sounds—that 33-year-old head coach Sean McVay could be in this job for 30+ years. But a lot can happen over the decades, so not looking ahead too far ahead, Jared Goff and Todd Gurley are just 24, Brandin Cooks and Cooper Kupp are just 25, and Robert Woods is just 26. The offensive line will need to replace veteran players as early as this offseason, which should not be taken lightly, but the core pieces are there to keep this offense humming for the next decade. Defensively, Aaron Donald is a foundation piece that’ll help get players wanting to play in LA even as current players on the roster move on; and defensive coordinator Wade Phillips doesn’t sound ready to retire anytime soon.
3. Indianapolis Colts
Andrew Luck (29 years old) is the oldest starting quarterback among these teams with the biggest Super Bowl windows, but you have to love what GM Chris Ballard and the Colts are building. Frank Reich was a home-run hire that instantly got his inexperienced roster to play about as well as you could expect coming into the 2018 season, so the foundation is laid for the next several years as this culture builds up. Even with Luck under contract at a big number, Indy has well over $100 million in cap space, so they can improve the roster with smart signings during free agency the next few years. Darius Leonard and Malik Hooker are among the franchise players on defense, and the offense is led by Luck and an elite offensive line with just one player (left tackle Anthony Castonzo, who is 30) that’s over 26 years old.
4. Philadelphia Eagles
In middle of the NFL playoffs after the Eagles were eliminated, an interesting report from PhillyVoice stated that some “Eagles sources,” including players, think that franchise quarterback Carson Wentz is “selfish.” If there’s truth to the report, the team must nip it in the bud quickly to avoid similar yearly drama to what we’ve seen from teams like the Steelers, which would hurt their chances of winning more titles after winning a Super Bowl last year. However, if all is well in the locker room, there’s obviously a big Super Bowl window for a team that thrives on team culture. With Philadelphia hero Nick Foles likely gone, this season will be key, though, as pressure could really mount for Wentz and the entire roster if they struggle in 2019 after going 5-6 with Wentz under-center compared to 4-1 with Foles last season.
5. Chicago Bears
Bears Coach of the Year Matt Nagy says “the city of Chicago is lucky to have” Mitchell Trubisky at quarterback, and it sounds like completely genuine praise that has Nagy very optimistic about his team’s prospects moving forward. The former No. 2 pick showed tremendous flashes of upside in his second NFL season, and the Bears can go a long way in future years if he becomes more consistent. Also, it isn’t all on the quarterback to bring Chicago a championship, as the team’s defense is arguably the most talented unit in the NFL—with All-Pros or potential future All-Pros Khalil Mack, Eddie Jackson, Kyle Fuller, and Roquan Smith all under 28 years old.
6. Houston Texans
Like all these teams, the Texans have the quarterback-head coach combination for at least the next 5-7 years. Deshaun Watson runs around more than any of the quarterbacks of the top five teams listed here, which leads to a greater chance of injury, which could in turn hurt Houston’s championship window. But Bill O’Brien is one of the best quarterback teachers in the league, and he’ll help Watson develop in the pocket. J.J. Watt, who is still only 29, showing he can get back to full health and stay there for an entire season was a huge positive for the defense, but more pieces must be added to the secondary in a league with many high-octane passing attacks.