I was blessed with two Grandfather's that I think almost any man would have been proud to call their own (ok, so I'm a little biased--aren't you?). Both of them lived through the depression, hunger, sacrifice, the whole nine yards. As a child, I adored both of them, albiet for different reasons. One was much more influencial during my teen years. He is not the subject of this post as much as the other. The second was my 'buddy' from the time I can remember back to, until he passed (don't worry, this is not a pull your heart strings kind of post).
This Grandfather taught me many things by telling stories and while I have been reading all the posts here of late, one in particular reminded me of one of his stories.
Joel's post about the 2010 Schedule Benefit and Football Outsiders predictions garnered so many posts from each end of the Believer/Non Believer-spectrum (for lack of a better term), it reminded me of the two positions represented in the Story of What Happens When Two Fools Collide.
The Story after the Jump.
The Story is not long but if you knew my Grandfather you would know that he was a self made man. Quit School early to feed his family, built the house my Grandmother still owns with his own hands (she is 95 by the way) etc. He was not rich by any stretch of the imagination, but he made sure there was food on the table (planted a garden every stinking year--That's right boys, I planted my share of veggies. Maybe that's where I learned to spread manure!) and a warm bed to sleep in. I am sure that many of you have similar stories. The important thing is that he believed in learning from the world around him and put a very big emphasis on keeping those lessons in your "bag of tricks" so you don't go through life looking like a dope.
Here is my Grandpa's story:
When I was a boy, near your age (weren't they always near our age when the stories started?) my Dad had a milk cow named Eileen. It was a Jersey and had many black spots on it dispersed over it's hide. My Dad spent alot of time bragging about that cow and how much milk she produced (Grandpa said that the talk about the milk production was pure silliness--that cow was no better than any other on the farm but Great Grandpa liked that cow because of the way her spots were laid out and therefore she was 'better'). He talked about this cow so much in fact, that the word went out in the county that this cow was really something special".
Well, one day a man came by the farm and asked to see your Great Grandpa. When he came out to talk to the man, the man asked if he could look at the cow. Great Grandpa finally had a new chance to brag! Sure, said Great Grandpa, right this way.
The man walked around the cow many times, muttering to himself all the while, during which Great Grandpa carried on raucously about the cow. Finally the man stopped, looked GG straight in the eye and said, I'll give you $100 dollars for that cow. I don't know about you, but prior to the year 1900, I think $100 was A LOT of money. GG thought about it for a few minutes and then said, no sir, I can't part with her.
The man continued talking with GG for some time and the price was finally raised up to $120, but GG said no can do. The man left very frustrated and GG was not in a good mood himself.
This is the moral to the story of When Two Fools Collide: My Grandpa said that the reason he called them both fools was because the man was fool number one for offering such a crazy price for one milk cow based on a rumor. He said that he called GG a fool for NOT TAKING THE MONEY! GG didn't take the money because he would have lost his prized (average) cow! Both were fools for the way they acted and NOBODY came out happy! His advice to me was not to act so foolish in the first place, but don't be a dope--grab the money!
This seems to be at the crux of our argument about the Chiefs this year. As you know, I am a proponent of what is happening and willing to drink the koolaid. Am I acting foolish? Several posters try to shoot holes in each argument we koolaid drinkers make based (mostly) on the fact that NOTHING HAS YET BEEN PROVEN. "Let's see a few wins first before we start making wild assertions about making the playoffs" is often opined by them. Are they being foolish for not taking the $100 that we koolaid drinkers are offering?
You all know that I am good at finding parallels between Parcells teams and our current one. Well, here comes another one. Everybody seems to forget that late in the 2007 season Bill Parcells took over as Executive Vice President of Football Operations for the Miami Dolphins. Turnaround Tuna was going at it once again. What happened to that team? Read on my brothers and rejoice in the word.
Shortly after the season finale, Parcells fired general manager Randy Mueller and on January 3, 2008, head coach Cam Cameron was fired along with almost all of his staff. That same offseason, the Dolphins also parted ways with two Pro Bowlers and long-time Dolphins, releasing linebacker Zach Thomas (who later signed with the Dallas Cowboys) and trading defensive end Jason Taylor to the Washington Redskins for a second round draft pick.
Parcells then proceeded to hire Tony Sparano, who was previously an assistant under Parcells during his days as the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys. The Dolphins ultimately took Jake Long, star offensive lineman out of the University of Michigan with the first pick of the 2008 draft and drafted quarterback Chad Henne with their second round pick (the second consecutive year they drafted a QB in the second round). After the New York Jets traded for Brett Favre and released quarterback Chad Pennington the same day, the Dolphins quickly signed Pennington, who was a former Parcells draft pick. Going into their bye week (week 4), the only Dolphins victory was over the New England Patriots in week 3. Their next game was against the San Diego Chargers on October 5, 2008 in which the Dolphins prevailed 17–10 and earned a .500 record 2–2; however, the two wins were against the two teams that contested the 2007–08 AFC Championship game. The implementation of the "Wildcat" offense or single-wing offense was covered heavily by the media, despite the package being used sparingly during their two upset victories vs the Patriots and Chargers.
Early on, Miami suffered the narrowest of defeats when they lost 29–28 to the Houston Texans. The team, however, would bounce back with four consecutive victories over the Buffalo Bills, Denver Broncos, Seattle Seahawks, and Oakland Raiders. After a crushing twenty point loss to New England, the Dolphins fell to third in the AFC East division. Again Miami rebounded to win their next four games, against the (St. Louis Rams, Bills in Toronto, 49ers, and Chiefs). This brought their record to 10–5 and let them control their destiny against the New York Jets in the regular season finale.
Pennington, the former Jet, outdueled Brett Favre to lead the Dolphins to victory 24–17 to win the AFC East past the New England Patriots. A year after going 1–15, the Dolphins completed a turnaround under first-year coach Tony Sparano, joining the 1999 Indianapolis Colts as the only teams in NFL history to make 10-win improvements. Miami, which ended the regular season by winning five straight and nine of 10, made the playoffs for the first time in seven seasons. It was the Dolphins' first AFC East title since 2000. However, the Dolphins lost in the first round of the playoffs to the Baltimore Ravens 27–9.Wikipedia
The similarities here are striking. The lack of household names on the team was ridiculous--and Parcells traded away their best defensive player!) The ironies are epic (Chiefs were the 10th win in Miami's record setting rebound potentially handing the baton to the Chiefs to make the next installment in history, Pennington the former Jet cast off defeats Farve to win the AFC east over the Patriots where many of these guys coached--my god you could write a book about it!) I know, many of you are saying this isn't Haley's first year, etc. All True, but don't you think that the team of coaches as they are assembled now has one helluva better chance at success than what we were looking at last year? Does anybody really care if the Chiefs rebound in year two rather than year one?!
I think that the 2010 Chiefs WILL be the third team in NFL history to make 10-win improvements. Just remember non believers, they don't have to be a team of epic greatness to win 10 games this year. Even if you don't believe in schedule predictibility, you have to admit that this years schedule is more average than last years. Just being average will go a long way for these Chiefs. If they win 11, they will have eclipsed Parcells and set a new standard. Don't you think that given the opportunity, Pioli and Haley would relish that achievement nearly as highly as a Super Bowl win?
Whaddya say unbelievers? Will you take the $100 now?