The Kansas City Chiefs are running short on time. If they are to prove out what the pundits (and a lot of fans) had to say about them at the start of the season, they had better get with it. Winning games in December will NOT get that accomplished. This is the time of year to appear hapless. That kind of thing gets excused by the masses because, well, it is December. Time to roll in the awnings and winterize the house in hopes that we can make another go next spring. Rotten teams like the Chiefs are supposed to lose in December. December wins are only for the elite, class of the division teams to win. This is the mark of a champion. It is decidedly not the mark of some group of rag tag wannabes, that wouldn't know success if it bit them in the arse.
The Raiders at 6-6 are doing a little better than the Chiefs, but technically they slipped up yesterday by beating San Diego in San Diego. That's the kind of thing that could start changing some opinions and you don't want that happening at this time of year. No self respecting but inept football team wants to go around winning December football games. It makes the fans think that you might not be a loser. That puts a lot of pressure on players and coaches who were already looking forward to that late January-early February cruise to South America. This game is supposed to be fun. Playing well enough to energize your fan base into believing that you can win (and God forbid vie for a playoff spot) takes the fun right out of it. Suddenly it becomes real. Suddenly the phrase "making the playoffs" becomes the fodder of nightmares.
Hey, I understand. The KC media and the fans have been extremely consistent in pointing out the team's shortcomings. Somebody's gotta do it, right? Afterall, when the Chiefs wind up in the gutter again and miss the playoffs, you can feel comforted in the knowledge that you were right there beside all of those who said the Chiefs suck. You can hide behind the sheepish smile that you show all your buddies and work mates that constantly razz you for supporting a football team that has only won three playoff games in 40 years. Defense mechanisms are important.
It's all about "me". Remember, there is no "I" in team, but there is a "me". If Mr. Football misses the playoffs (and it sure looks like that could happen) then why not the Chiefs? There is no embarassment to worry about and no razzing to endure for a January loss if you miss the playoffs, right? I wonder if Matty can emmulate the Pouting Peyton?
Poutin' Manning - peyton colts lose loss loser looser face fail cry baby pout sad patriots (via
Now, however, the Chiefs are not playing fair. They are about to screw up your plans. Winning football games in December? Now you gotta tell those same buddies and work mates that you are truly surprised by how well this team is playing this deep in the season. Surprised? Why would a fan be surprised? The writing has been on the wall now for 28 games but there are many who refused to read it. Yes my friends, the reversal of a trend is just as real and viable as the trend that preceeded it, no? Pioli and Haley have been in country for nearly two years. What did you think they were doing all that time, ordering pizzas and playing canasta?
It is quite apparent to me that there are still many in denial over what this team can accomplish this year, right here on AP. A recent fan post about mock drafts garners well over 200 comments and counting? I understand the interest in improving the team, but is this really the thing that is uppermost in Chiefs fans minds at a point in time when KC returns to winning home games in the month of December? All wins are huge in December. I don't care how ugly they are or who they are against. Don't you think the fact that a team that has only mustered 10 wins in the previous three years is now 8-4 with a commanding 2 game lead in their division is EXCITING? Oh, that's right, this wasn't supposed to happen. I guess that explains why we are now being treated to articles about how the Chiefs may CHOKE themselves out of the playoffs. I understand it though, the media simply can't help themselves. Bad news sells. If the Chiefs were to win a Super Bowl this year with a final score of 10-6, I wonder what the story line for the next day would be. "Chiefs Win Super Bowl" or "Chiefs Win First Super Bowl in Forty Years In Spite of...".
The truth is that the Chiefs have been consistently piling up wins when they need them. Chopping wood was how Haley referred to it during preseason. Some by 20 points and some, like yesterday, by four points. What exactly is it about this that gives one pause to consider "if the Chiefs can choke themselves out of the playoffs"? Wins are wins. You are what your record says you are. And now they are December wins. Something about that screams success if you are only willing to listen. The very same people who have cannonized this team over the last several years in commanding fashion about how the Chiefs are not a good team based on their losses, suddenly can't fathom the fact that they are a good team based on their wins? Logic takes a holiday.
So, what to do? You can, if that is still your desire, continue to focus on what the Chiefs cannot do or have not done. You can look to the schedule and lament our chances against blockbuster teams like the 6-6 San Diego Charges, the 6-6 Oakland Raiders (who just improved to that record by beating the 6-6 Chargers) , the 6-6 St. Louis Rams or even the 5-7 Tennessee Titans. That's right, as of today, not one of these teams left on our schedule has a winning record.
You can continue to discuss how much trouble Cassel has making throws, or Bowe making catches. You could even talk about how Tyson Jackson is still a bust and Glenn Dorsey is only adequate (you are in fact doing this right now. I just saw a post discussing the need to trade Glenn Dorsey--no, I couldn't believe my eyes). You might want to include that we have a head coach who is too childish to be a winner because he won't shake hands, or an OC who just doesn't seem to understand how to call plays. Hell, we even have players who are punching out coaches on the sidelines for taking them out of the game because of mistakes (all eyes on Barry Richardson). I would love to see a Raiders player do that to Tom Cable. Yes, our beloved team is a hoary one, complete with it's very own set of warts.
On the other hand, you could join me in my playoff berth enthusiam. You could talk about how the Chiefs will win their final four games. You could discuss how much of a mountain Glen Dorsey has become for other teams to have to scheme around. You could conjecture about how it is that the Chiefs TEAM continues to play as a team week in and week out. If one part struggles, another picks up the slack. We could talk about how one of the most exciting games all year is yet to be played because our special teams WILL live up to it's preseason hype before the playoffs begin. Look out St. Louis, that carpet plays fast and we have our speed back in position!
Whatever you ultimately decide to do, keep in mind, the clock is ticking. If your wish is for the Chiefs to miss the playoffs so that your prediction of a choke comes true, you will probably need to write a letter to Todd Haley. He will need your input on how to stop the train because something has begun to coalesce that I'm not sure Todd can stop. Our franchise is becoming a team again.
You can see it on the field when Vrabel, a defensive specialist, defends his QB by telling the coach, "How about that for an audible?" on a recent successful play. You can see it in the locker room when that same veteran defensive specialist becomes the brunt of a good natured joke when he finds a new name plate on his locker. Recently, Vrabel returned to his locker to find a piece of atheletic tape over his name plate that said "Jerry Atriks". When asked about it, Vrable merely said he was going to leave it. He liked it. The part that I thought funny was that many of the younger kids didn't get it. So much for the generation gap.
So get with it all you of Chiefs nation. The time has come to declare yourselves. Will you choose strength or weakness? Boom or Bust? Playoffs or Playground? In either case, don't dalley too long because just like our Chiefs, you are running out of time.