For years (many, many MANY years and no comments about my advanced age, alright? we've gone over THAT more than enough times) I've been a Chiefs fan (since the team arrived in KC when I was a kid) and over the years I've seen all the changes, some good, some not so good and some just downright atrocious. Paul Wiggins, wow ... just wow. John Mackovic, Herm "You Play To Win The Game" Edwards, Big Head Todd (Haley) and the Monsters, Romeo Crennel ... you all know the drill. New General Manager or new Head Coach or both, a new regime and a new direction and a new feeling and of course renewed hope that maybe, just maybe, this will be The One that drains the swamp, parts the Red Sea (see what I did there?) and leads our beloved Chiefs to the Promised Land (or at least a reasonable facsimile). I mean, let's face it: we were spoiled for a decade by the only guy in the universe who could use "football" and "matriculate" in the same sentence and not sound completely insane.
Those of you who were around a few years ago when I joined AP, when Pioli and Haley first came on board, will remember that I had some doubts, In fact, I had some serious doubts. Mind you, I was willing to "wait and see" but I had doubts about that new regime, and expressed those doubts early and often, so much so that my buddy averagegatsby (who's really way above average but too modest to admit it) nicknamed me ... well, let's just say he's the only one on AP who is allowed to use that moniker ('nuff said) ... the point being that I wasn't at all "high" on the Pioli/Haley thing, and my opinion went down from there in a hurry.
Oh, I was told again and again that Haley was a MUCH better fit for the Chiefs than Edwards, that the team would benefit and win and the fans would love every minute our new-found toughness and give the guy a chance and WOW! what a turnaround in 2010 and MAN! we made the playoffs (only to get demolished in 13 seconds by the Ravens) and WAIT TIL NEXT YEAR when we managed to fall apart all over again, only to be resurrected by Grampa Romeo, which made all of us feel good for about two games (followed by 2012 which didn't actually happen, it was a shared "mass hallucination" or something and does anyone remember the alien kidnapping part? yeah, me either) which brings us to ...
I have to admit that I had a few niggling doubts at first: Reid? ANDY Reid? The guy who couldn't win with the Philadelphia Dream Team? Seriously, Clark! You spent ten hours flirting with Andy Reid??? But then a strange thing happened. Andy and Clark came back to Kansas City and before the ink dried on Reid's shiny, new contract it was announced that Scott Pioli was no longer the GM and then the rumors for 15 maddening seconds and before anyone had time to breathe we had John Dorsey filling the office at the other end of the hall. Ok, so the guy's been with the Packers and yeah he should know SOMETHING but still, this team needed SO much and then, even before they got Dorsey's nameplate glued to his office door we said goodbye (among other things) to Matt Cassel and hello to ... really? Alex Smith? THE Alex Smith? Now wait a minute, isn't he another "game manager" and don't we have like the first overall pick for the next 60 years (yes, we looked THAT bad a year ago) and they're looking at an OT? Seriously ... but then, that was before The Promotion.
Let's face it, we all knew this team had potential, especially on Defense ... DJ, Hali, Houston, TJax, Poe, Flowers, Berry ... seven household names right there, but who would have thought this team, at this point, would be 4-0 and leading the entire LEAGUE in points allowed? Certainly not yours truly, and I'm pretty sure not very many of you reading this right now would have thought so, either. Oh, we all had high hopes, for sure ... it's the nature of being a fan. But really, to imagine that we'd be undefeated right now and mentioned in the national media as a serious and legitimate contender was just asking for a straitjacket just a few short weeks ago. And yet, here we are, despite what SEEM to be lackluster statistics from Bowe and even Charles and we have every Tight End available visiting some hospital or rehab and who's this Donnie Avery guy and Dex has been SUCH a disappointment in the past and the list goes on and on and really, just how good can this team be? Yeah, new HC and new GM, seen it before ... been there, done that, yadda yadda yadda only ... guess what?
Sure we beat the Jags, so what? Fine, we held on at home against the Cowboys, so what? But then a funny thing happened. The Chiefs (and Andy Reid) showed Chip Kelly and the Eagles what the NFL is really all about, polishing things off with an almost 9 minute drive to seal the game, and THEN did the same thing all over again with a 9 minute drive against the Giants. Are you kidding me? And that's just it about the Chiefs THIS year. THIS year we actually, honestly, truly have something to cheer about.
THIS time it seem real. THIS time it's working out the way we imagined it would, and then some (so far). THIS time our renewed hope doesn't seem misplaced. THIS time around the Chiefs are actually WINNING. Not because of a last-place schedule (which we do have, but still) but because the TEAM is playing well. These players, these coaches, this entire organization from top to bottom is doing it RIGHT, for the first time in a long time. THIS time it's not like we're hanging on by a thread waiting to be let down again, as has been the case all too often in the past. THIS time it just feels right, it feels good, it feels real ... and the more it goes on, day by day and week by week, the more convinced I am that yeah, finally ...
I'm A Believer Shrek Music Video (via LilMissPenguin16)
This. Time. It's. Different.