For Kansas City Chiefs fans, there are usually either two ways to go – they hate the team or they love the team.
There’s no such thing as a middle ground when it comes to the die-hard and rightfully so for a long-suffering fan base devoid of a playoff win since 1993.
Chiefs fans have every right to be skeptical entering the 2012 NFL season. However, that was far from the mood at Missouri Western State University on Saturday afternoon during the team’s Family Fun Day where 7,044 fans were in attendance, according to the Chiefs public relations.
John West, aka @Chief_Wildcat on Twitter, believes the team is in for a special season.
West, 38, said he’s been rooting for the Chiefs for 26 years and the native of Council Bluffs, Iowa, points to the players returning from 2011 season-ending injuries as reason for optimism.
“Eric Berry is back; Matt Cassel is back; Tony Moeaki is back; Jamaal Charles is back,” West said. “It’s nice to see it all coming together.”
Michael Kidd, 39, of Liberty, Mo., agreed, but added he believed the team has balance unlike in the previous seasons.
“In the past, we’ve either had a good defense or offense,” Kidd said. “This year, I think we’ll have both.”
Still, the biggest question surrounding the 2012 Chiefs falls on Cassel.
How Cassel, so go the Chiefs.
However, that’s not stopping fans from still having high hopes for this year’s squad. West points out Cassel has enough around him and won’t need to be an elite quarterback in order for the team to win.
“I think Cassel is going to be all right,” West said. “I don’t think he’ll be Aaron Rodgers or Drew Brees, but he’ll do enough.”
And once again, Kidd agreed and pointed to Cassel’s supporting cast.
“Everybody talks about Matt Cassel, but I think Cassel can be a very good quarterback,” Kidd said. “He hasn’t had the line or the weapons before to do so, but I’m highly optimistic he’ll do a great job this year.”
Meanwhile, the Chiefs have suddenly appeared on the national radar as a team to contend with in 2012.
Some prognosticators, such as NFL.com’s Gregg Rosenthal who placed the Chiefs in same tier with the New Orleans Saints and New York Giants, among others, think very highly of the Chiefs.
The apparent love-fest from national media has some Chiefs fans like Ryan Ewing, 29, feeling proud.
“It’s a good feeling,” Ewing said of the national attention on the Chiefs. “I’ve seen a couple of places that picked the Denver Broncos because of Peyton Manning, but the people that do pick the Chiefs – I think Bucky Brooks had a nice piece on NFL.com – those are really nice reads.”
So what about predictions from these die-hard fans?
West predicts an 11-5 record and the AFC West crown.
Kidd predicts the AFC West crown.
Ewing made a bold statement with his prediction before settling on a realistic view.
“I’m actually predicting them pretty high this year: 12-4,” he said. “I think we can go 5-1 in the division. I’m one of those Chiefs fans; I’m super optimistic. But realistically, I can see 10-6 and winning the division.”
No matter how fans slice the team, it’s virtually clear many who attended Family Fun Day have high hopes for this year’s potential success.