You know the story about Cinderella.
For years, the beautiful girl in ragged clothing was cast in the shadows of her sisters, before finally getting the chance to shine. Once she did, she never wanted to return to her former ways. The prince came, the slipper fit, and she was able to leave behind her heavy past.
This story will be thrown upon the 2013 Kansas City Chiefs. The national media is starting to pick up the scent of an incredible story, a rags-to-riches in the making. Kansas City was 2-14 last year, the worst team in the NFL, and now are 6-0 and tied atop the AFC West with a juggernaut in the Peyton Manning-led Denver Broncos.
However, the Chiefs are not under pressure because of their growing profile around the nation. Kansas City is, and will continue to be, the biggest source of nervousness for its hometown team. Why? The ghosts of so many past failures by teams deemed good enough to fulfill dreams.
During the Marty Schottenheimer years between 1989-98, the Chiefs were one of the best teams in football on a consistent basis. They also failed every winter on a consistent basis. Outside of one ugly win against the Los Angeles Raiders and Todd Marinovich, Kansas City only had a playoff victory in one other season (1993) under Schottenheimer.
The frustration built, the expectations lowered, and then the team fell apart. Ultimately, the fan base let go but never forgot. The feeling of oh-so-close stills lingers, and will undoubtedly creep into every fans mind above the age of 22 as the calendar pages turn and the ground hardens beneath our feet.
These Chiefs carry that burden unfair as it may be. This group is doing everything right and will still pay for everything done wrong by previous teams and regimes until it wins a playoff game, which would be the first in 20 years. Alex Smith and Ryan Succop have nothing to do with Steve Bono and, you know, but the memory haunts the city.
In places like Pittsburgh, Green Bay and Denver, things are expected to go great. With the Chiefs, one can not help but constantly feel as though a pair of steel-toe boots are on the way from above. It is easy to say this must change, but the feeling will hold until the playoff winless streak no longer does.
This team has tons of potential with a great defense and a very good coaching staff. Sounds a bit like the 90's doesn't it?
Here's to hoping the slipper fits this time around.