Have you ever been so convinced of something, or believed in something so much, you defended it to every end? Rant and rave and try to explain why you were right and the others were wrong, only to find out how wrong you really were? Then you try to rationalize it and make excuses for yourself, but in the end, it was your fault all along? You went along for the ride, ignoring all the warning signs and all the people telling you how flawed your beliefs are and then all of a sudden SMACK! Reality hits you right in the face. That's exactly how I feel.
I'm frustrated. Angry. Mad. It's a freaking Wednesday Night and the Chiefs game ended nearly 80 or so hours ago, and I'm STILL ticked off. What the HELL is going on in Kansas City? If it weren't for being a KU fan, I'd have NO clue what it's like to root for my favorite team and see them win a Championship. I'd have no clue what it's like to root for a team that is nearly always a contender. (MU fans, keep reading, I promise this is not about that rivalry)
Sometimes, you hear KU fans telling MU fans "Just wait until Basketball season" when they get mad for having a crappy football program. I've never been that type. Never made excuses. I've always been critical of KU football. Here in Kansas City, the Royals haven't even made the playoffs in what..29 years? That's before I was even born! My entire LIFETIME, and the Royals have never made the playoffs. The Chiefs haven't won a playoff game in 19 years. Funny thing is, I was only 5 years old the last time KC won a playoff game.
How many people can honestly say they remember an NFL season at 5 years old? I mean, I remember Joe Montana. I had his poster on my wall and loved him. He was my favorite Chief (Neil Smith was a very close second). I remember Marcus Allen. My Mom had his poster on her wall. She loved him, and he was her favorite Chief. When I would go to my Dad's, he had a DT poster in his living room. DT was his favorite Chief. I remember the little things. The players, coaches, the fact that we made the playoffs and losing in the AFC Championship game (or in my head at the time, the game before the Superbowl). But I can't sit here and tell you that I remember the games themselves. I don't remember watching the Chiefs win the Wildcard game. I don't remember watching the Chiefs win the Divisional game. I guess it's good that I don't remember them losing the AFC Championship, but at this point, I'd LOVE to see them simply PLAYING in the AFC Championship, win or lose.
Now, I have gone on and on and still haven't gotten to my point. So let's get to it. I have watched the Royals suffer. I have watched the Chiefs be average at best, to whatever the hell they are now. I'm tired of it. If it weren't for the 2008 National Championship, I'd have probably jumped off a bridge by now. For the first time since becoming a KU fan, I am honestly saying "just wait until basketball season". And I'm not saying that because of MU having a better football team than KU, or the MU-KU Rivalry (ex-rivalry? I'm still pissed about that situation..) I'm saying that because I won't have to watch my favorite team get their butts kicked every week. Sure, they might suffer another embarrassing early exit from the NCAA Tourny. Or, if I'm lucky, they'll catch another Final Four. But I won't have to put up with this shit-show we're seeing at Arrowhead.
The Title of this post is "Righting a Wrong". That Wrong is a post I wrote recently defending Scott Pioli. I can still see the argument for NOT firing him, but he is damn close to slipping off the edge. His job is to find a Coach, develop a QB, and build a championship team. That's what a GM is supposed to do. I firmly believe he has done a good job building this team. The 09 draft was atrocious, but that affected nearly every other team in the league too. 10 was alright and it's too early to tell about the 11 or 12 draft classes, but I get the feeling we'll get some good players from them. I don't necessarily agree with all of the picks, (Arenas in the 2nd round comes to mind) but I feel like he has addressed areas that needed to be addressed. He's made some questionable FA moves, but has made some good ones too. I think the important thing that people overlook is that not every Free Agent pickup is supposed to work out long-term. Some of those guys are meant to be stop-gap type players. Vrabel, Weigman, Gregg and guys like that come to mind here.
I stand by my argument that Pioli has improved players 1-52 on this team. I feel that our Starters NOW are better than they were back then. Our depth NOW, is better than it was back then. I'm sure there are some exceptions, but for the most part and overall, it's my opinion that Pioli has improved the team. Some of the Players were here before he took over, but most of those who were here before him were developed into the players they are now under his watch. DJ was inconsistent, Tamba hadn't proved he could produce without Jared Allen, Bowe (and the rest of the team apparently) was fat and lazy. This is why I also stand by the original Todd Haley pick. Haley was what this team needed at the time. Haley wasn't a great coach overall, but he helped several players realize their potential. Haley did a lot of good for this team. I'm not saying we should have kept him, because that would be wrong. Haley was in over his head, but he held players accountable and didn't try to make excuses.
I will NOT stand by the fact that after 4 years, Scott Pioli has done absolutely NOTHING to improve the QB situation. Like I said, I think he's improved 52 of the 53 roster spots. But this QB situation is destroying everything else he helped build. I guess technically, he DID improve the QB position as we had no-one else until he traded for Cassel, but Cassel is still the same thing he was when he first arrived in KC. A backup QB. Therefore, Pioli has NOT improved the starting QB position. He simply improved the backup QB position and tried to flaunt it as starting material.
Now, Pioli said he was bringing in QB competition, shipped out Orton and brought in Quinn. That is NOT creating QB competition. That is an outright lie, and I'm offended that Pioli would insult my, or any other fellow Chiefs fan's intelligence with that crap. Granted, Orton didn't want to be in a QB Controversy. Orton isn't a great QB, but compared to Cassel, he most definitely is. I know Cassel ended the season injured, but he gave no indication before the injury that he was capable of leading this team. If Pioli is this talent scout guru, he should have known that. In my opinion, it should be Matt Cassel backing up Tony Romo right now, not Orton.
I will also not stand for Romeo Crennel as the HC. Granted, I respect RAC. He has a good defensive mind. I think that if he had stayed DC, and nothing more, the D would be better off now. If we had a HC who would hold those defensive players accountable for their miscues and mistakes, RAC's D would be more consistent. Now, it's tough to limit an opposing teams scoring when you turn the ball over in your own territory as often as the offense has. I can understand that. But being a Defensive Coordinator is a full-time job. So is being a Head Coach. How often has a Coach successfully been able to handle double duties? I don't know, but I'm willing to bet that it's not often.
What bugs me about this whole situation is that we will most likely lose RAC as a Coach. I'm sure when he gets fired, he'll retire or maybe take another teams DC position. I just can't picture him being demoted back to DC for the Chiefs. Honestly, I'd have rather seen Pioli fire Haley and keep Weis as the HC back in the day. Maybe that would have been a shit show too, but I'd rather have a hard-nosed HC who keeps his team disciplined, rather than a mushy, friendly HC who coddles his players.
This all falls on Pioli. He has failed to even entertain the idea of Cassel faltering. He failed to have a backup plan. He has failed to provide a HC who can take command of this team. Some complain that Pioli is behind as far as league trends go. He tried to build a solid defense, with a solid run game and a game managing QB, but now days, "its a passing league". He's "behind on the times". But I can live with having a strong defense. I can live with a strong run game and a non-elite QB, as long as the QB can make good decisions, throw with accuracy, and not turn the ball over. But no, they say it's a passing league now. But doesn't that also mean that defenses are built to stop the pass? Why not have a strong ground game? I don't believe in the whole "it's a passing league" crap because it doesn't matter HOW you move the ball and score points. All that matters is that you DO move the ball and score points.
The Wrong that I am Righting is that Pioli is not blameless. In my previous post, I made it seem that way. The way I see it, there IS talent on this team. This team IS capable of being a good team. The Chiefs ARE capable of being contenders. If we had a HC who had this team prepared and ready to play football, maybe we wouldn't be 1-3, and blown out in those 3 losses. Maybe if we had a legit QB, we wouldn't be turning the ball over at an astronomical rate. Then, just maybe, we wouldn't be allowing a ridiculous amount of points on defense.
This is a trickle effect starting with Scott Pioli. He has not provided the Chiefs with a strong HC or QB and it is destroying everything else he actually has provided. Cassel doesn't deserve another chance. Pioli gets one more. Get a real Head Coach, and get a real Quarterback, or GTFO!
I also want to address this Banner thing. Personally, I think it's ridiculous. I know that Cassel sucks and needs to be benched. I know that Pioli hasn't gotten the job done yet. I know that we're all tired of hearing "we're just 1 or 2 pieces away" or whatever other excuses there are. I get it, I really do. When some of us say "Quinn and Stanzi are worse than Cassel" other people say "Quinn can't possibly be worse than Cassel!" Uhm.. Yes he can. Will he be? I don't know. But say you do make the switch, and Quinn IS worse than Cassel..what do you say then? "Oh, well at least we tried"? Come on. I'm all for benching Cassel but don't fool yourselves. Or, what if Quinn DOES come in and play well? He wins us some games, putting us right back in the middle of the draft, missing out on the top QB's.
Pioli doesn't deserve to be fired - YET. He's getting close. I want to give him one last shot to prove me wrong. I give him a pass for 2009 due to the team he inherited. He saw some success in 2010. 2011 was injury riddled, but thats not an excuse. 2012, I have no idea whats going on. Based on that, I put 2 strikes on Pioli. But one more, and he's out. If I'm Clark Hunt, I'm telling Pioli he better do his homework and make a damned good decision on the next HC, and who his next QB is going to be.
I'm embarrassed that the Chiefs have been so miserable this year, and in recent years as well. But I'm more embarrassed than I ever have been as a Chiefs fan knowing that his banner is going to be flying around Arrowhead Stadium. I hope the people who are supporting it actually go out to Arrowhead and feel shame when they see it flying around. It may as well be a banner bought and paid for by a Donks fan saying "Queefs/Chefs Suck!!" Cassel sucks. We all know it, including Hunt and Pioli. It took a year or two too long, but they'll address it when the opportunity arises, between now and next season. We don't need a banner letting them know what they've already figured out.
As for Pioli, I know some people out there feel like he should be canned right now, and they have good reason for feeling that way. But me personally, I haven't given up on Pioli just yet.