KANSAS CITY, Mo. — It's been said that losing in the Super Bowl is the toughest to take. After experiencing it last month in Super Bowl LV, Chiefs General Manager Brett Veach now agrees.
"Definitively," Veach said in an exclusive one-on-one interview with 41 Action News. "Certainly, in the fashion in which we did, it left a sour taste in our mouths."
The Chiefs lost 31-9 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Super Bowl LV, the only time in his career that a Patrick Mahomes-led offense was held to single-digit points.
"It's one of those things where you come back and you don't want to watch the NFL Network, you don't want to look at anything, because you don't want to see highlights of that game ever again," Veach said.
Instead, Veach said he's hit fast-forward on the offseason and that losing a Super Bowl has provided more motivation to get back to work than winning the Super Bowl — like the Chiefs did the previous season — did.
"I haven't gotten a lot of sleep since we got back from Tampa," Veach said. "All of your greatest victories come through a defeat or a loss, and this is another example of that."
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Just as the 2020 NFL season amid the COVID-19 pandemic was challenging and different, Veach expects the 2021 offseason to be a unique experience.
For instance, Veach and his staff would normally be in Indianapolis at the NFL Combine right now, but the annual gathering was canceled this year due to the pandemic.
"If you would have asked me a couple years ago if I miss the Combine, I would have said, 'No,'" Veach joked. "But, now you miss it."
Veach said the ability to meet the players is the most important thing during the offseason. But the Combine also was important for measuring athletic traits, like 40-yard dash times, in a controlled environment as opposed to coming in from dozens of college campuses.
"We always joke that there's five or six schools every year that our scouts swear they're only running 38 yards or 39 yards," Veach said.
Many pointed fingers at the Chiefs' banged-up offensive line as the culprit for that loss to Tampa Bay in the Super Bowl. Veach said the solutions for fixing that unit will come from in-house and elsewhere.
"The final blow was losing (starting left tackle Eric) Fisher in that Bills' game," Veach said of Fisher's injury late in the AFC Championship Game. "That was a daunting task to go up against that front in the Super Bowl."
He said the Chiefs have "a nice blend of some young players who continue to get better, but the (2021 NFL) Draft looks to be really talented on the offensive line."
Veach said the Chiefs' medical staff projects both starting tackles — including Mitchell Schwartz, who missed the final 10 games of the season and the playoffs with a back injury — to be ready by the start of training camp after both underwent offseason surgery.
Mahomes, of course, was banged up as well, suffering a painful turf-toe injury in the playoffs. He's had surgery Feb. 10 to repair his toe, an injury Veach said comes with a three-month recovery period.
"We're hopeful somewhere around that mandatory mini-camp that we have," Veach said when asked about Mahomes' offseason availability. "We certainly think by training camp he'll be good to go."