My first Chiefs game was in 1997, when I was 6. I started seriously following the team around 2000. All along, there has been one Chief above all others: Tony Gonzalez. I may be wrong, but I'm pretty sure he's the only Chief that's been on the team every year since then.
Whenever you turned on a Chiefs game, seeing 88 out there on the field was a given. You knew he would be out there, because he always was. Always. In the awesome seasons where we had a chance to win it all, and the seasons were we were barely able to cobble together a couple of wins. He was the Face of this Franchise. There is no denying that.
For us fans, it's awfully hard to see him leave. He was our guy. While all of those other teams had all of those stars, like Peyton Manning and Tom Brady and Brian Urlacher and LaDanian Tomlinson and Brett Favre, we had Tony. Oftentimes, he was our claim to fame. We could always lean back on Tony, the greatest tight end in history.
More than anything, that's what makes this trade suck. It doesn't suck, but it does. You know?
And still, that's why us fans would struggle to be a GM. You can't deal with a heart. With compassion. There is no "communism with a human face" possiblity, here. To really succeed in the NFL, you have to have a GM who isn't afraid to deal cold-hearted. If that involves trading your star, it involves trading your star. The city's favorite son.
I get all of that. I get the difficulty entrapped in losing an icon you've watched play football for 13 years. Trust me, I feel the same way. The same, exact way. But, it's still a good trade, football-wise.
Now, you could give some bogusness about the compensation. But that is just ridiculous. We got a 2nd rounder. Yes, it isn't in tomorrow's draft. So? If I told you that you could have $50 tomorrow, or you could wait a month and pick up $100, which would you pick? For me, I wouldn't much care about the time difference; give me the higher value. And that's exactly what Pioli got. Somehow, we managed to get a 2nd round pick for a 33-year old playing at a position where careers aren't known to extend too far into the 30's. It was more-than-fair.
So, everyone just settle down. It's OK to be sad, frustrated, angry, depressed, whatever about Tony leaving the Chiefs. I think we are all feeling those feelings. But, when looking at the trade, put those fan-based feelings aside, and look at it from a football-only perspective.
We got the better end of the deal. I promise.
P.S.: When I put in the tag for Tony Gonzalez, it reads (TE - ATL). That's when it really, truly hit me that he wasn't "our" guy anymore. And before I started to write this article, I kind of had to wait for a couple of minutes and drop all of my irrational fanhood. It sucks that he's gone. It will be the weirdest thing of all time, ever, seeing him line up in different colors coming up. But, it makes the most sense to be done. And it makes the most sense for Tony, so there's that. It still does suck a helluva lot, though.