Dear Brady Quinn,
Aiken_Drum here. I'm a nobody Chiefs fan that likes to blog my opinions on Arrowhead Pride. I've been pretty critical of the team since last year when the powers that be decided to part ways with Todd Haley. Some of that criticism has included bringing you here as a backup QB.
Since you are a relative new comer to the Chiefs, I thought I might take a minute to explain some of that criticism to you and also hopefully explain the gravity of the opportunity you've been given in starting against the Tampa Bay Bucs on Sunday. An opportunity, that I want you to know, I hope you take full advantage of--more on that later.
In December of 2009, the Chiefs had just come off another disappointing, losing season. I say another because Chiefs fans with any real length of tenure are used to such seasons. We've seen far too many of them in the last forty plus years. I know that it's hard to imagine the depth of our angst, but hopefully this will give you an idea.
If you take a minute to consider that the fan base for the Chiefs is comprised in large part of members who vividly remember the Marty Schottenheimer days as some of our best, and even some who still remember the Stram/Dawson days with reverence, then you will realize quickly that this fan base is familiar with winning football.
Most recently, Dick Vermeil and Trent Green gave us hope. Having experienced those years is the bedrock of belief in our chances that has kept us going when we hit the inevitable heartbreaks (like now) that are part of being invested in a team. That, and the personal attachments that many Chiefs fans have to the franchise are how we keep from throwing in the towel. and watching soccer on Sunday
You see, when Lamar brought the team to KC, the KC area was not the burgeoning metropolis you see sprawling before you today (still considered a small market in terms of population by the media). When I was a kid, going to the 'City' meant Kansas City. It was the closest place we had where you could find all those things that city dwellers took for granted and us country folk thought were really cool because we couldn't get them at C&W hardware.
Kansas City was much more 'of the people' than St. Louis. It has a much softer, small town feel. No offense to St. Louis, but it's location on the Mississippi river among other things had made it a much bigger city much faster than KC. St. Louis still just has a different feel to it than KC.
Matt Cassel recently mentioned how different his neighbors here are from what he was used to in other places he had lived. They would bring over cakes or just stop by to say hi. It creates a sense of community that doesn't exist in a lot of places today. THAT is what Kansas Citians (and by default Chiefs fans from Missouri, Kansas, Iowa, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Arkansas who have adopted this team) are proud to call their culture.
The Chiefs became a part of this idiom, that much of the small town folks for literally hundreds of miles around KC (as I say in all directions--this is why the national media occaisionally confuses KCMO and KCKS and talks about the Kansas Chiefs--what a bunch of bafoons!) looked at as 'their' town. We all traveled there, we all bought school clothes there, we all ate at Smacks restaurants (that'll bring some old timers out of the woodwork) and we all adopted the Chiefs. I don't know if my Grandmother even understood the rules of football, but she loved her Lenny Dawson.
This, then is the essence of who you will now represent as a starting Quarterback in the NFL. For the fans it's more than just going out and playing football. It's about the Chiefs (because they are an extension of that KC idiom just like we are) being just as relevant and just as good as any team out there on any given Sunday. As tough as it is for the team to play bad and lose, it is also tough for the fans to see losses pile up for weeks and years on end. We want the team to win so badly that we follow every minute detail rabidly, for even the slightest indication that could mean we're going to win next time out.
This is kind of where I started this. I have spent more time learning about the Chiefs and their players, coaches, GM and owner in the last three and a half years than I did for probably my entire lifetime prior. You see, I was a sucker that listened and bought in when we were told that a new sheriff had come to town to settle the score. That sheriff was gonna change the rules, the coaches and the players in order to give Chiefs fans world wide their due.
Well now here it is. Nearly three and a half years later, and we are at a crossroads. I'm not going into all the things that have transpired to get you here. I think you know most of them anyway and the ones you don't are irrelevant. What's important is that you know that this fan base is waiting for a Quarterback to love, admire and cherish.
Are you that guy? I'm not kidding around here. You have the ability to become one of the most loved sports figures in Kansas City history. If I said I wasn't tying to put pressure on you I'd be lying. It is my belief that the current coaching staff does not believe that challenging someone to achieve is how accomplishments are made. In other words, you won't hear this from them. They will tell you to just do what you do and hope for the best. I call that a milk toast approach to motivating men. If Charlie Weis is right about you, you crave the adulation that comes with being the best.
He's already said in the media this season that he always believed you had what it took and still does. Hey, I'm just a nobody on a sports blog but I'm asking you--do you have what it takes? Do you have any idea what kind of opportunity exists for somebody to take over this team right now?
Brady, if you go out on Sunday and play inspired football, that entire 'thing' that we call Chiefs nation will bow at your feet. Fans (including me--big deal) will be singing your praises. It's your opportunity to show all the punks, pundits and jerks (just like me) who said you couldn't do it how wrong they are. It's your chance to call Coach Weis and talk about how great it is to be successful and winning football games and hear him tell you, "I knew you could do it, kid".
KC school kids will quickly forget about calling Matt Cassel, casserole because they'll be bugging their parents for Quinn jerseys. If you want to talk about how that adulation feels, you might give Len Dawson a call. He's still in KC all these years later and god love Lenny, he is a wonderful spokesperson for the Chiefs.
My Grandmother actually met him late in her life and I thought she was going to pass out. That's the kind of thing that is out there for you--if you just reach out and take it.
I've been waiting for this moment since February. I knew. I knew long before anyone here would believe me that you were going to get this chance. When the Chiefs announced they were bringing you in, it was no surprise to me. I had predicted it a couple of months before it happened.
So we are at the crossroads. One way lies fame, fortune and adulation. The other, failure, dejection and a passel of Chiefs fans having to knuckle under once again and wait.
I've spent a lot of time between last season and today, speculating that the Chiefs are going to fail. I am so angry at this organization because of what they have done, that my once very positive spin on things has changed to a negative view that simply gets reinforced every week. I'm tired of watching it happen Brady. I truly am.
So tell me. Are you that guy? I would love nothing more than to go out and buy a Quinn Chiefs jersey, but remember, I'm not that easy. You've got something to prove. First to yourself, then to your team and coaches, your owner and yes, finally the fans. You have a great bunch of players out there running around just looking for a leader. Giv'em one man. There's a whole lot of things in life worse than being revered as a football savior in Kansas City.
Just remember that you cannot let apathy on the part of ANY other part of this team dictate what you can do. You can do this. Read the quote at the top by Einstein and follow it. Take your time, be confident and make those throws count. Protect the football at all times and take control of the field when you are out there. YOU are the commander. YOU will make this happen. The keys to the city will be waiting for you on your return from Tampa. Don't get lost.