You know how Haley talks about the importance of creating competition in training camp? He's 101% right about that. In sports, competition is inherently good because it forces you to get better. Ever wonder why so many college prospects come from states that have big time high school football (Texas, Florida, etc)? It's because the level of competition they're playing against both on their own teams and the teams they play is forcing those kids to get better. I would argue that being one of the Right 53 means you want to compete. Competition makes you better. I saw some of the comments in the Dumervil post and people seem to love the idea of the Chiefs playing teams that are depleted in some way. I see guys on AP all the time who seem to root for injuries to other teams so the Chiefs will have an easier time with their opponents. This was a common theme last year: "We're playing (team name) the week after they played (team name) and they should be pretty beaten up and that can maybe be an easy win for us." Easy wins are for pussies and they don't make you stronger. That is not what you want. Competition extending from training camp into the regular season is inherently good for teams because (as noted above and constantly harped on by Coach Haley) competition makes you better. Playing in a tough division makes you a stronger team in the post season. And make no mistake, Pioli and Haley are building a team that wins in January. You don't win big time playoff games by hoping your division opponents get decimated by injuries so your schedule is easier. I said it last year, the best thing that could have happened to the '09 Chiefs was that brutal opening schedule where they played the NFC East four weeks in a row. That level of competition showed them where they needed to be in the long term. It made them better.
It also helps the rivalries in the division. I want the Chiefs to go 6-0 in the division, but I want the wins to mean something. I want the Raiders to be a competent organization again because for the past several years beating them has been meaningless outside of tradition (to be fair they could say the same thing about us). If the Chiefs and Raiders are both strong teams then the rivalry is relevant again outside of KC and the Bay Area. I despise the Broncos as much as anybody but I want them to be a good team so that when we beat them it's an accomplishment. Can you imagine week 17, Chiefs and Raiders playing a winner wins the AFC West game in Oakland? Thanks to the genius of flex scheduling it's the Sunday night game on NBC. The whole nation is watching. And the Chiefs walk into Oakland and kick their asses on national television? Or maybe it's a playoff game. The Chiefs go to Indy as underdogs and upset the Colts. That's the type of game that make dynasties. Competition makes you better. Here's an example: in the early 90s the Buffalo Bills went to the Superbowl four consecutive years. At that time the AFC in general was weak and the AFC East in particular was weak. The Bills' division opponent games were a cake walk, they played home games against weak teams in the playoffs and got embarrassed when they got to the Superbowl. Their competition was weak and that team was weak when they had to play big games against strong teams. Competition makes you better. I know there will be guys who respond to this post by arguing that they would love to see the Chiefs in the Superbowl any way they can take it but I can't imagine it was much fun for Buffalo fans to see their team being made a laughingstock of four years in a row. To see the team mocked on late night talk shows four years in a row. To be the butt of the joke for 4 years. Competition makes you better. When I was coaching I knew coaches who would go out of their way to schedule the easiest possible schools they could find. If their school district was growing faster than the other schools in their athletic conference they would stay in that conference so the wins would be easier. They were terrified of competing against schools that were the same size. Like Steinbrenner they feared a level playing field. Hell, if they could have scheduled a Special Olympics team for an easy win if they could have -- they were people who only wanted to win and were deep down afraid of really competing. . And then when their teams got to the playoffs they would get beaten in the first round and usually beaten badly by teams that sought out strong conferences to play in or went out of state to find the best competition to play against. The best coaches I knew who consistently had the best teams tried to create the most competitive regular season schedules they could. Competition makes you better.