We as Chiefs fans have been asking ourselves since this season began, and with increasing urgency as the wins pile up: why are the Chiefs undefeated? Why, when our struggling offense goes up against competitive defenses, does it still manage to put points up? And why, when it fails to do so, does our defense outscore the opponent for us? Simply put, why are the Chiefs winning games?
At first, there seems to be no simple explanation. Some attribute our winning streak to strength (or lack thereof) of schedule. So far, they say, we haven't faced any "good" teams. Some say Kansas City's fortunes are the result of a new set of coaches, who have put the talented players on the roster to good use. Some resort to the age-old tactic of offering no explanation other than that the Chiefs have been "lucky", and say that we are a "fluke".
Certainly, we have not played teams in the upper echelon of the league in terms of winning percentage. We do have an almost completely revamped coaching staff. As much as any other football team, I would say, we rely on good breaks and hope that fortune smiles upon us.
It is all of these things, and none of them, which have allowed the Kansas City Chiefs to win nine consecutive games this season. Not even the addition of Alex Smith, a quarterback who is reliable, smart, and athletic, can be the ultimate cause of the Chiefs' success.
No. It is all of these things, and none of them, which are making the Chiefs win games. After extensive thought on the subject and thinking of my own experiences playing football, there is one simple reason the Chiefs are winning football games, and though it may seem overly simplistic it makes more sense that many in the media care to admit.
The Kansas City Chiefs are winning football games because they are playing football like it is a game. The Chiefs are winning football games not because of statistically solid performances, not because of passing yardage or sack count or turnover differentials, but because they're acting--in a way that many players fear to do--as if they're getting paid to play a game, a game with which they fell in love a long time ago. There are many ways of phrasing it, but the Chiefs are playing like a high school football team.
This is why Bob Sutton can call exotic blitzes. This is why Jamaal Charles can get around 30 touches per game and come back for more. This is why the Chiefs are undefeated.
They're having fun. They're jumping up into the stands to celebrate with fans. They're joking, laughing, and laying the wood on opposing quarterbacks--almost simultaneously. As someone who only got interested in the NFL a year ago and spent the summer paying close attention to the Chiefs organization, I can tell that attitude is a huge factor in how this team has been performing. Each player trusts his training, his teammates, and himself to get the job done when it is most crucial to do so. Each Chief takes the field with the knowledge in his heart that he is not playing alone, but that his brothers are in the fight with him. And each Chief is enjoying the moment. Not many men get paid to play football with 52 of their brothers, and I think the difference between the Chiefs and more "talented", more "sensational" teams is that the Chiefs have finally appreciated just how precious their life is.
After every victory (and if, God forbid, a loss on Sunday) the players break down in the locker room with "Family on three". This speaks depths on how strong the bonds are between these men, and how much good the adversity of previous seasons did for these Chiefs. Families sticks together through the toughest of times, and come through stronger than before. Just like a high school team, these players treat one another like family. And just like a family, the Chiefs have only benefited from the trials and tribulations to which they have been subjected.
Certainly, Andy Reid has made a difference. I think, in fact, that he has been actively promoting this attitude among his players. Certainly, the coaching and personnel changes have helped. At the end of the day, however, the Kansas City Chiefs are playing football like it's a game. They're doing a damn fine job of it, too.