As we wind down the 2010 Kansas City Chiefs regular season, with a winning record and upcoming home playoff game, I look back as a Chiefs fan at the numerous things I learned from Todd Haley and his team this year.
1) A single game is just that..........a single game. How many of us felt pretty bad about our chances to win the division after the beatdown by the Chargers just 17 days ago? That goes to show you that a team that is well coached can forget about a bad loss and return to what they do best the very next game. I'm not entirely sure that I have seen that from the Chiefs for a while. In the past, some of that funk would carry over to the next game or so.
2) I actually believe the Chiefs have a chance to make some noise in the post-season, whether or not it actually is true or not. Even back in 1993, I had no true belief that the Chiefs would beat the Steelers and Oilers to meet up with the Bills in the AFC Championship game - even with Joe Montana at the healm. I was tickled to death when they did, but I had no expectations. This year, I don't have any real expectations either, but I do have belief that if the Chiefs play the type of game that they have been -- run the ball, allow Cassel to make smart throws at the right times, defend during a majority of the game, and avoid turnovers and bad mistakes -- that they have as good of a chance as anyone to win. This is so much better of a feeling that that 2006 back in to the playoffs game against the Colts, where we felt like we were glad to be there, and hoped for the best against our nemesis the Colts.
3) As Chiefs fans, this is how many of us felt around the same time the Chiefs were playing the Dolphins in the playoffs in 1991. Gitty with excitement, and a true feeling of something big coming in the team's future. Man it's been a long time since we could say that this team can be good, and can be good for the long haul. It might be like our run from 1990-1997, only with a more balanced team (between offense and defense). I want that for our Chiefs..........not just all defense like the 1990's, and not just all offense, like the 2000's.
4) The Pioli/Haley/Hunt team, along with the OC and DC, are about the best in the NFL. What I mean to say is that I probably wouldn't trade them for anyone else at this point. I know, I know, some will say "Yeah, but how about Belichick?" I would say, nope...........I like our guys right here.
5) Pundits say that this year has been in part because of our easy schedule. I say that is possible to a degree, but what better for a team to grow than on an easier schedule. Young players needs wins to gain confidence, to grow together as a team while they prepare for what is certain to be a tougher road next year and beyond. Plus, I have total trust in Pioli that he will add pieces to the team during the offseason that will more than compensate for the tougher 2011 schedule --> how about one of those Arizona recievers for starters???.
6) We are not just a one hit wonder, like perhaps some Dolphins fans are feeling their team was when they went from 1-15 in 2007 to 11-5 in 2008, only to follow that up with a 2009 record of 7-9 and 2010 record of 7-8 (so far). We could slip in 2011, but not without also growing as a team that could content in 2012-2016.
7) Haley actually knows what he is doing. You may not know if by way of his mannerisms, or his surfer dude persona, but this is an intelligent man. Plus, he knows how to interact with players, coaches, the media, and the fans. I give him a thumbs up. Pioli has lived up to the hype as well, and I trust in his plan for our team. He seems to have so much more class and so much more of a grasp of the bigger picture than Carl Peterson ever did. He is building a team that other players want to play on, and building a team that knows what the ultimate goal is.
8) I like everyone on this team. For the most part, everyone had a role, and you could tell that each tried to succeed individually and together. No distractions, one goal, not overconfident, realistic about our growing pains, but also certain we are heading in the right direction..........what's not to like, right?