In 1989 I was 11 years old and was just coming into a working knowledge of what football really was and how much fun it could be to watch. I grew up during the Marty-ball era and watched talented Chiefs teams get bumped out of the playoffs again and again. Lately I have been going over in my mind what it is I am watching with these current Chiefs and how night and day their approach to football is.
You see I am comfortable with a super-talented team laying an egg and getting bumped by far less talented teams from the playoffs and even in the regular season. I am used to disappointment and being let down by inferior scheme and strategy. So i thought i would look at our team and compare us to our own past and even more importantly other AFC West teams.
In my football watching lifetime the Chiefs have had several strategies and identities.
During the Marty Ball Era - we were a run-first, play incredible defense and create alot of turnovers type team, which was great for winning a high amount of regular season games, but when it cam to the playoffs got us beat repeatedly. The problem i see looking back at those teams was our complete inability to outsmart other teams or make adjustments when what we usually do best wasn't working.
The Gunther era- was really more of the same of Marty ball, except we were downgraded in the preparation and scheme side of the equation.
The Vermiel era - was the greatest show on turf part 2. except this time no one was caught by surprise and it didn't end in a Superbowl win. Instead we got the ultra sexy high scoring offense and the high risk/ high reward defense that relied on bending a whole bunch and trying to get turnovers.
The Herm Edwards era - This was very painful to watch. We dismantled and all world offense and made the defense worse. Herm was supposed to be a defensive guy, but what we found out he was nothing more than a guy hanging on too tight to an ideology that wasn't working for us, namely the Tampa-2.
So looking back what do I see, I see an unwillingness to change, an unwillingness to adapt or strategize. I see a group of head coaches who said "to hell with worrying about adjusting and making some concessions, I am going to do it my way or not at all" and what were we fans left with, the not at all part.
This brings me to our current team. Figuring this team out is hard for us fans to even do, and we eat, sleep and breathe with every bit of info that comes our way. Here is why I think this is the regime to get us back to where we belong....
Focus - this team is not distracted nor will our FO and coached allow them to be.
Prepared - I believe everyone one this team has been communicated to in such a way that they know exactly what is expected and exactly what they need to do.
Game planning - I believe we will not be out-coached or out-schemed.
Progressive - I think the "big secret" with the Parcells/Belicheck type of coaching is a complete willingness to play however is needed in order to win. These guys study the opponent find weakness that can be exploited, and then proceed with a game plan. I also think players are more willing to listen to guys who they know will not be outsmarted or out-coached. As opposed to the we are going to play our game no matter what strategy.
Over the last few weeks I have been reading the post where opposing teams come over to ask us about our players and how they can run the ball or return kicks, and if we can stop their run or passing game. And even going into the SD game I knew the wrong things were being discussed. The biggest difference in the KC-SD game was not that we got lucky or feed off the crowd. Its that Norv Turner can not/will not out scheme our coaches. Its that this team no matter who the play will be the most focused and prepared on the field that day.
In fact all of the AFC West teams need to be served notice. Your coaches and front office better be up the task at hand. Because we will leave no stone unturned, we will find the best 53 players and put them in the best situation to win ball games. And I have got to tell you, not one team in the AFC West scares me when I consider who is in charge and who is preparing their players.
So if you want to know about our team and what we are now i will tell you. We are not the most talented, we don't have a top ten QB (or top 20). We don't lead the league in turnovers, or defense, or rushing yards, or passing yards. We don't do a lot of things well at all.
But here is what we will promise you. If you play us make sure you play all 60 minutes in every facet of the game. make sure you don't blink at the wrong time. You may stop Jamaal Charles on 10 rushing attempts, you better be sure you to stop him on his 11th. You may throw down field on Flowers 7 straight times, but be sure you don't float one up the 8th time. You might even move the ball up and down the field all game, but you better make it count. We don't care if you have more rushing yards or passing yards. The real question will be, do you have more points?
The Chiefs Will......................................................