Welcome my friends to another installment of the Wet Blanket Chronicles and the continuing saga of Aiken Drum the Unbeliever. The season is upon us! Football fans galore are abuzz with the excitement that yet another season of grid iron action brings us. I love this time of year and like you, I am ready to feed my addiction. It's time to find your game day gear, clean out your favorite Chiefs drinking glass and invest in some Frito Lay stock. We'll need to lay in a Sunday supply so we don't expire while we are glued to the tube for the first real Sunday of football since February. It all gets real for the Chiefs on Sunday and we've spent a whole off season getting mentally prepared for that which we are about to receive.
As you well know, the Chiefs (with the exception of a decent showing in 2010) have been struggling for the last several seasons (or for over forty years depending on your perspective). As I was taking inventory of my fridge and pantry (and deciding whether or not Twinkies go well with New Castle) something occurred to me. What is it that both the Kansas City Chiefs and Romeo Crennel must have in order to quell their critics and be born again hard? What can propel them from the ranks of 'floundering teams' (to use a Bewsaf theory), into a place of fanatical respect and admiration? What need do they share in common? The answer is obvious. They both need Redemption.
How exactly does one gain redemption? It's simple really. You have to prove you're worthy.
The Origins of Ruin. For the Chiefs, let's call it 42 years with only 3 playoff victories. For Romeo Crennel, we'll call it four years as a Head Coach with a record of 24-40. Neither are things you want on your resume, but they are there none the less. Now before you go all "Romeo has five super bowl rings" on me, you need to remember that this is about being a Head Coach and about being the Head Coach of the Chiefs. I've said more than once that I think Romeo is a good coach. What I am not sure of is whether or not he's a good Head Coach. I am from Missouri after all, and you damn well better know that I have a real wide streak of "Show Me' that's pretty hard to overcome. It's time for bona fides.
In much the same way, you could also include Brian Daboll in this not-so-holy trinity because Brian's closet is just as full of skeletons having a record of 16-32 as OC over the last three years. Brian has three Super Bowl rings of his own and they all came from the same place that three of Romeo's did. In a position of even less responsibility than Romeo had. To top that off with two five win seasons in Cleveland and a six win campaign in Miami certainly seems to qualify for ruinous in comparison, don't you think?
As for the team itself? It's hard to imagine how it could be the final shot at redemption for the team, since presumably, the Hunt family will continue on with the Chiefs in KC for the foreseeable future. The question comes more into focus though, if the team continues to lose games and fan support. Tony Gonzalez's recent remarks about Arrowhead not being as loud as it used to be is just another in a growing list of caution signs concerning the teams future. Arrowhead is one of the oldest stadiums in the league today, and while the organization has recently put a new face on the old girl, it's a far cry from an investment in a new facility. The sirens in Los Angeles have been singing sweetly for a few years now, in an effort to entice some team (any team) into a trap known as the Coliseum. How long can the losing be endured before that lack of fan support and need for a new stadium begins to make a move look more like a fresh start and less like the end of a tradition?
From this perspective then, there is no argument about this trinity's need for redemption. I would even argue that this season is most likely both coaches final shot at NFL redemption. Romeo is 65, and a failure in KC will most likely be his last rodeo. Daboll has had three seasons with two different teams to put something good together, but so far success has been elusive. I'm not saying that Brian will be out of the league, but how many teams will be excited about offering him yet another try if he fails to produce wins on a team as loaded with talent (as is so often opined here) as the Chiefs?
That is the road to redemption. I don't care if it's ugly or pretty, by one point or 40, or who the QB is. This Redemption is singularly about the Chiefs and it's coaches and management. The players have their own careers and their redemption (in situations where it is needed) comes on the individual plane. This is about the team. Scott Pioli, Romeo Crennel and Brian Daboll are the agents that now act on this team, and they will rise or fall with it's accomplishments (or lack thereof). It is time to clear away all the clutter and win. Everything else is minutiae wrapped in excuses, served up with a smattering of shineola for dessert. Nothing else at this point matters.
I've spent the last several months pointing out where I believe this team could be headed. It is only one man's belief (unpopular I know) based on a view of the past. My heart is filled with trepidation here, on the eve of yet another season. Trepidation, because I also know that events could and can be different than those that my cynical mind have conjured. It is with guarded enthusiasm that I now await tomorrow's kick off. My hope, that was so formidably reborn just a few seasons ago, has once again taken a beating at the hands of a team that I cannot quit, no matter how the beast tortures it.
While tomorrow I may watch the game peeking through the slots between my interlaced fingers held over my eyes to help block out what I do not want to see but must, I have yet a few hours to believe. If it were not for the (cyber) voices here at Arrowhead Pride that have constantly defended the targets of my vision, I do not know if I could bear to watch. For that, I thank you all. For now, as I stare into the abyss, pictures fly by and words begin to form. For a short time at least, it can be as it once was (and hopefully what it will be like again). The harder I stare the more clearly those words come into view.
Here is what I saw, followed by those words that will stand now forever in my mind as a reminder...that redemption is never easy nor is it cheap. It is however, necessary, if the hearts of Chiefs nation are to be assuaged.
CHIEFS WILL, CHIEFS WIN, BELIEVE