Probably not the ending of the regular season that most of us would have wanted for the Chiefs. But the Raiders game is over and now we can move on to the Playoffs. Even just typing it seems surreal. I mean even the most optimistic Chiefs fan would have told you that a 10-6 record, a division title including a playoff game at Arrowhead would have been a great season no matter what happened to get to that point. Well we are at the point that only a few AP'ers thought we would reach prior to the season. I had actually predicted a 8-8 season and I would have been happy with that. I've said as much throughout the season.
It has been documented that we played an "easy" schedule this year. I make no apologies for any of this, we can only play the teams on the schedule and win as many games as possible. We won more than any other team in our division. You may say that it's unfair that we beat only one team with a winning record. You know what? The Chargers, Raiders, and Broncos didn't deserve to go to the playoffs because they couldn't beat the teams they were supposed to beat. Oakland lost to Arizona, Tenn, SF, and Jacksonville. San Diego lost to Seattle and St. Louis. Neither SD or Oakland has any more right to say they should represent the AFC West in the playoffs because they couldn't get it done when it was needed. The Chiefs body of work for the entire season gives them the right to take on Baltimore next week.
I'm not oblivious to the notion that if the Chiefs happened to be in the AFC East this season that they probably would not have finished with 10 wins and a division title. But you know what New England, Indianapolis, Baltimore, New York, and Pittsburgh have in common (Besides the 2010 playoffs)? They are the best teams in the AFC and nobody is surprised that they made it this far. They were supposed to get to the playoffs. The Chiefs are the surprise team of the 2010 playoffs to the rest of the AFC and even to a lot of Chiefs fans. This season is already a huge success and we are only playing now with House Money.
Regardless of the outcome of the game next weekend this season will be looked at for the entire offseason as a building block for what is hoped to become a sustained winner. I know what the schedule looks like next year and to say that we need to get much better because our schedule is going to be more difficult is just stating an obvious point to the same problem, we need to get better because we aren't a great team yet. It's a little unfair to believe we should be a great team right now. We have played great at times this season and in order for us to continue this over-achieving season, we will need to play our best game of the year against the best team we've played all year. I was glad we got the Ravens for one simple reason. Dwayne Bowe. He needs to have big games in order for us to win anything more special this season. I'm stealing some info off I-Bleed_Red's fanshot.:
Some big time receivers have had success going against the Ravens.
Rodey White - 12 Rec, 138 yards, 2 TDs Andre Johnson - 9 Rec, 142 yards, 2 TDs Brandon Lloyd - 5 Rec, 135 yards, 2 TDs
I'm not predicting necessarily that he will have a big game but our offense is much more explosive when the threat of Dwayne Bowe is on the mind of the defense.
One of two bad things can happen next week. We can lose and play well, or we could lose and not play well. In either case the same question will come up. Are the Chiefs ready to play at that level? So it really won't matter how the game is played out if the ending question would still be the same. This doesn't mean I don't care whether or not we play well or not. But it's important to know that the jury will still be out on this team until it shows it can sustain this success from one season to the next. I said it once before and I'll say it again, the "right 53", "In Pioli I trust" tagline of the 2011 offseason will be "Success is the obstacle of success".
My Wife and I, along with four friends of ours went up to Vegas on Friday night for New Years Eve. We had an unbelievable time there and I'm glad we got there and back safely. Not because Vegas is dangerous or anything but because it was hard for me to comment on mobile AP and drive in traffic on I-15 with this whole Weis thing going on. But while we were there I sat down with $100 to play BlackJack at the MGM Grand. I started off betting $50 on the first hand and won, and then I bet $50 again on the next hand and won again. Easy game right? The first hand the dealer had busted and on the 2nd hand I had a 20 when the dealer flipped a 6 to his 13. I took the $100 that I had just won and put those chips in my pocket. From here on out I was only playing with my winnings, or House Money.
I can kind of relate to this to how I feel about the Chiefs season this year. I had always thought from the beginning of the season that 8-8 would be a successful year. I wouldn't call it the ceiling for what I thought the team could do but doubling our win total from the previous season in two consecutive years would have been alright in my book. We go from 2 wins in 2008, to 4 wins in 2009, to 8 wins in 2010. Just like playing with that $100. I sat at the table with the expectation of losing that money. I just wanted to be entertained for a while. But after I got up on those first two hands and put that money into my pocket suddenly it didn't matter how I got ahead. I could have hit a BlackJack like we did against San Francisco, where it just seemed too easy, or I could have squeaked out a tough one holding on 16 with the dealer showing a 9, this would be like Buffalo. Either way, once I hit my goal of doubling my money, or getting those 8 wins, it didn't matter how those things ended up in my pocket. The game and the season were/are already a success.
The Chiefs are good enough on their best day to beat any team in the NFL. It could happen next weekend against the Ravens or it might not. Either way the Chiefs season has been a success and the house can't take that away from us.