I love football.
More specifically, I love Kansas City Chiefs football. That is just a simple fact... one that is perhaps lost on me during times when it seems like I want the Chiefs to win more than the players on the field do.
Of course, that type of thought is an easy thing for me to say. We all know I'm not out there with the team during the daily grind, watching the film, hitting the weights and being picked apart by the coaching staff in the meeting room on a regular basis.
Because I am just another fan. Sure, I like to visit Arrowhead Pride and tap out words for other Chiefs fans occasionally, so that they can feel my passion for this team and understand how much I want this team to win the Super Bowl each and every year. However, even in all my delusions of self-importance and captivating Chiefs ignorance, I realize that I am just another number in the masses.
Nowhere on earth is your Chiefs vitality put in check than during a visit to Arrowhead Stadium on game day. Chiefs fans are everywhere, it is incredibly loud, there is face after unfamiliar face of other members of Chiefs nation that gives you a sense of how small our individual Chiefs takes are.
Arrowhead Pride seems huge somedays and it feels like we are the entire Chiefs fanbase from time to time. But really, when you step out of your vehicle at the stadium, smell the barbecue and look around at the mass of Chiefs fans yearning for a win... you realize how big the Chiefs are.
After you fight your way into the stadium and make it to your section the scenery is serene. Depending on the game, after the Chiefs make a play, the noise inside Arrowhead erupts and you can literally be screaming at the top of your lungs and still barely hear the sound of your voice as you pound furiously on the seat directly in front of you, it's complete eardrum mayhem. There is nothing quite like it and you begin to realize how small each individuals fandom truly is, no matter if you write on Arrowhead Pride or just casually attend Chiefs games for the atmosphere and experience of the NFL.
This year, the Kansas City Chiefs are playing lousy... again. It's agonizing to watch the games as a fan of this team. I want to lash out and tell everyone how stupid the team is for playing Eric Berry at the line of scrimmage like he is a 250 pound snarling reincarnation of Lawrence Taylor in the '80s. I want to highlight every flaw in the game and scream about how to fix the issues in ALL BOLD CAPS... That will teach them... right?
Though, it's Thursday now. I've calmed down a lot since the game ended last Sunday afternoon. I've made some comments and poked around at Arrowhead Pride, with most of my comments being a little on the negative side, even going as far as saying that I'm going to unleash a diatribe on the Chiefs without my blinders on. Yet, at this point it would feel hollow, as I think I understand one of the Chiefs main problems in turning this ship around.
Sure, it could be leadership from the top down. A change could be waiting in the wings as most NFL teams are quick to go with amputation for a paper cut, instead of the tried and trusted Pittsburgh Steeler band-aid method. However, I'm of the mind that this is good team with a very difficult problem to overcome and it's been brewing since the days of Todd Haley and we barely talk about it, because it's not all that obvious until the losses start to pile up.
What's the problem with the Kansas City Chiefs?
On paper, the Chiefs are a good team. When I watched them at training camp in August, it seemed like the Chiefs were on the verge of being a very great team. They made plays, looked crisp, focused and organized. It seemed so much better than camp Haley to my untrained eye... I was very excited.
Thinking about this... I was at a loss for why the Chiefs were so terrible the past couple of weeks. It made no sense that a team that practices like a winner could metamorphosize into such a loser on Sunday's logically. I mean, think about it for a moment... In practice, the Kansas City Chiefs are a borderline great team with lots of talent. What the hell happens during game time?
Talking with a friend about the Chiefs, I realized that maybe that is the problem. When Todd Haley was here he was always talking about what great practices this team was having. He was always telling us how sharp the guys were... now, with Romeo at the helm of team Haley, we hear, "We just had a great practice today." More of the same.
So in practice when the Chiefs go out there; they are fluid, in position and executing... On gameday, they are frantic, out of position and in need of execution from the fanbase. It's a real quandary.
How does a great practicing team become faster on Sunday's without actually practicing at game speed?
What are other teams doing to keep up with game day pace changes that our team is severely lacking?
And most importantly, is it fixable under the current regime?
Honestly AP, I don't know the answer to any of that, besides maybe better coaching.
The only thing the fixes bad football is winning... you can look great on Sunday's and if the scoreboard is tipped in the opponents favor, the whole day is failure to the outside observer.
I'm an optimistic fan, but the Chiefs public approach to fixing the problem alarms me.
Eliminate bad football
In theory, that is a great approach. However, when you are a team that's main problem is that you are incredible in practice, but sloppy come game time. It wouldn't make me believe that getting even better at practice is going to be the solution to the current scoreboard challenge.
What this team really needs is to go out there at full speed and beat the "Ain't" out of the New Orleans Saints in their dam house this Sunday and realize that football isn't played at "Great Practice" speed.
If they can do that, we might all watch as this problem fixes itself.