According to ESPN Stats & Information, the Kansas City Chiefs are the first team since 1990 to win its division despite having a losing division record. Kansas City was 2-4 in the AFC West. Conversely, Oakland was 6-0 in the AFC West and finished in third place behind the Chiefs and Chargers. Since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger, 30 teams have gone undefeated in the division. The first 29 teams to accomplish the feat made the playoffs.
Kansas City finished 10-6 and Oakland finished 8-8. The 2010 AFC West season is living proof that there’s more to a season than just winning in the division. The Chiefs were 8-2 outside of the division while Oakland was 2-8 and 0-6 against the rest of the AFC.
The Chiefs fell to the No. 4 seed in the AFC playoffs with their loss to Oakland and the Colts’ win over the Titans on Sunday. While the Chiefs –- who host No. 5 seed Baltimore on Sunday in the wild-card round -- surely wanted the No. 3 seed, they know firsthand that the No. 4 seed doesn’t necessarily spell doom.
Five teams have advanced to the Super Bowl since 1990 as the No. 4 seed, ESPN Stats and Information found. The previous team to do it was the 2008 Arizona Cardinals. Their offensive coordinator? Kansas City head coach Todd Haley.
Haley has plenty of ammunition to get his team motivated to try to make a push out of the No. 4 hole. Plus, the Chiefs aren’t playing an AFC West opponent, so they might have a real shot.