PHOENIX — There have been 10 defensive players to win Super Bowl MVP.
If you had to pick one to be the 11th, Chiefs defensive lineman Chris Jones could be the one. Jones has been dominant this season for Kansas City. He showed that dominance in the AFC Championship game against the Bengals when he had five quarterback hits, three tackles for loss and two sacks, the second one coming on the Bengals’ final offensive play. That forced a Bengals punt and set up the game-winning field goal for the Chiefs that sent them to the Super Bowl for the third time in four years.
Defensive end Frank Clark told reporters after that game that Jones was the “most unstoppable player in football.”
On Wednesday, Jones was battling a cold but he said he’ll be ready for Sunday and he has been dreaming of big things.
“What’s crazy, honest to God, I had a crazy dream about the Super Bowl last night,” Jones said. “I don’t want to talk about it. I’m very superstitious.”
The 6-foot-6, 298-pounder could be a nightmare for the Eagles. Jones has become the most dominant interior defensive lineman in the league. He had 15.5 sacks in the regular season and two more in the playoffs.
“I’ve been very fortunate,” Jones said. “The Chiefs have been very, very patient with my growth as a player and my maturity in the game. I’m definitely a different player than I was not only from last year but the years I entered the league, just mentality, my work ethic, how I approach the game.”
The Eagles present a huge challenge for Jones and the Kansas City defense. Philadelphia had the No. 3 offense in the NFL this season and its offensive line is widely considered to be the best in the NFL. Jones will get double- and triple-teamed but he said he’s ready for it.
“We’ve got to attack them,” Jones said. “They’re probably one of the best offensive lines in the game today. They’ve done a hell of a job all year long and their quarterback is one of the best also. I think it’s going to be exciting for us as a defensive line to get after it.”
One of the things that makes Jones so tough to block is how many different roles he can play. He moves all around the defensive line, sometimes lining up inside, sometimes bouncing outside. Jones can be hard to keep track of.
Chiefs defensive line coach Joe Cullen said the coaches challenged Jones to have a career year. He pulled it off. His 15.5 sacks were the most by an interior lineman. He led the NFL with 16 hurries and was third in pressures (46).
Cullen said what is overlooked is how good Jones is against the run.
“He’s always been a really good pass rusher but he’s been dominant in the run game, making plays behind the line of scrimmage, really constricting running lanes, squeezing blocks, being dominant in terms of playing the blocks in front of him,” Cullen said.
Jones has one more year remaining on the four-year, $80 million contract he signed in 2020, but he may look to redo his deal this offseason. He is underpaid at $19.5 million this season.
“I never really worry about that,” Jones said. “I have agents for that. It will eventually work itself out.”
He was then asked if he deserves to be the highest-paid pass rusher in football.
“Do you think I deserve to be the highest paid pass rusher in football?” he asked the reporter.
“I do, but my opinion doesn’t matter,” the reporter said.
“Yeah, mine doesn’t either,” Jones said.
A Super Bowl MVP would surely help his case.