I was responding to the post about how much good fortune the Chiefs have had this year, and I was thinking about what a great job the entire organization has done over the past 21 months with player development. When Pioli and Haley arrived in KC one of the things they said a team had to do in order to become an elite organization was develop the players they inherited from the previous regime. When fans were screaming for the signing of as many free agents as possible, Haley and company quietly went about the work of coaching up the guys they had and adding a remarkable group of players through this year's draft. The jump in the level of play from last year to this year with essentially the same group of players (especially on the defensive side of the ball) has been really remarkable. According to Pro Football Weekly, The Chiefs are the fifth youngest team in the NFL this year. So this question popped into my brain:
What if the jump in player development and player performance jumps at the same level in 2011 as it did from 2009 to 2010? What if the Chiefs are able to add another draft class with the same combination of talent and work ethic as this year's? (Realistically, this might not be possible as this year's draft was especially deep.) And with Pioli knowing exactly what he has and the main pieces to the puzzle are now in place, the Chiefs might be able to sign a couple of key free agents to fill some holes. As we all know, the 2010 Chiefs have several rookies who are contributing in major ways. As good as they are now, just imagine what they'll be like when they have some seasoning.
I may be really, really drunk on the Kool Aid. But it appears to me that this is not just a team on the rise, but an elite one, potential dynasty on the rise. Hell, if they continue to improve as the season goes along, it will be interesting to see how good they are at week 17. From reading a lot of the posts on AP, it seems to me that a lot of Chiefs fans have low expectations. KC hasn't seen a major professional sports championship since the Reagan administration. I think fans are happy just to see a team make the playoffs. I think your expectations are going to be radically invigorated this decade.
I grew up in KC and live on the West Coast now. I had a brief chat the other day with a tourist who was wearing a Royals hat. I told him I admired his guts -- it takes a lot of courage to wear Royals gear in public outside the area. The conversation shifted to the Chiefs and he sort of shrugged his shoulders and said, "Nobody cares about the Chiefs." Is this possible? My connection to Chiefs fandom is this site and it's safe to say that 100% of the guys on here care about the Chiefs. Is the rest of the town really apathetic about them? If true, that's going to change in a hurry. I can't imagine people being apathetic about attending a Superbowl parade.
Here's my question: will this be the decade of the Chiefs?