Creating an expectation of greatness is one thing, but living up to it? That's something else.
After a 273 point MVP season from Patrick Mahomes in 2018 that vaulted the Burger Buddies from a 5-win team to AFC champions, the stage was set for the Buddies to become the YFFL's next great team. After the addition of Tyreek Hill in the offseason, they were the consensus favorites to bring home their first title since 2005.
A Week 1 injury to Hill put the Mahomes-Hill connection on hold, but the Buddies still managed to open the season 6-1. However, they struggled to create separation in the AFC West as the upstart Market Thugs matched them game-for-game, including handing the Buddies their first loss when the teams went head-to-head in Week 4.
When Hill returned in Week 6 with a 2 TD performance, it looked like the Buddies were ready to blast off, but a Week 7 injury to Mahomes followed by a loss to Bear Poop began to cast doubts on whether they could fulfill the promises of the preseason.
However, the injury to their MVP proved be minor: Mahomes returned in Week 10 and led the Buddies to four straight victories (including a revenge win over the Thugs in Week 11) to close out the season and easily wrap up the AFC West and a first round bye.
Another return engagement with the Thugs was on tap in the AFC Championship, which the Buddies easily captured 48-8.
That left a final showdown in Super Bowl XXVII with the Fightin' Mallards, the only team to score more points than the Buddies during the 2019 season.
Despite a 79-point outburst the week before, the Mallards came limping into the championship game with two of their star receivers on the shelf (Mike Evans and Chris Godwin) and starting QB Jameis Winston battling a hand injury along with the loss of his leading wideouts.
The Mallards got out to an inauspicious start on Saturday as Winston mustered a scant 10 points to go along with DeAndre Hopkins' zero. When Sunday's games kicked off, the Buddies erased that lead thanks to 2 TDs from TE Mark Andrews and a 10-point effort from RB Phillip Lindsay and held a slight advantage heading into a Sunday night game between the Bears and Chiefs. Mahomes increased the lead with a rushing TD and added 2 more scores to press the advantage and ultimately deliver a championship for the Buddies: 53-32.
In a 2019 season that delivered plenty of surprises, it ironically ended the way that many predicted: with Patrick Mahomes and the Burger Buddies on top. With plenty of young talent surrounding their superstar QB, is this the beginning of a new YFFL dynasty or will the Mallards follow the Buddies' path and nab the championship next year? As we transition into a new decade of YFFL action, it will certainly be a storyline to watch.
Congratulations to Mike Kinsman and the Burger Buddies, your Super Bowl XXVII champions!