Well, it is another one of those Mondays. You know the one. After the last several years, Chiefs fans have to be used to this. The Chiefs lost, again. The Chiefs got dominated, again. The Chiefs look like they might finish the season without a playoff win, again. Depressed yet? I know I am a little bit. And I was pretty high on these boys, way back in the offseason. I don't know if I actually posted it anywhere around here, but my prediction to my father-in-law and people at work was 10-6 for these season. Imagine my surprise when I was just a bit too low on that effect. But then again, maybe we are just that 2-14 team still, perhaps even just a little bit. 9-0 to 11-4. 2-4 since the break. Three of those losses came against pretty much the only legitimate teams we've played this year. What else should we expect?
Here's the thing though. A lot of people we're even expected a .500 season, let alone a winning one with a playoff spot guaranteed by the end of week 15. We were 2-14 last year, shouldn't we be happy with eleven wins? I mean, really. Why should we expect so much? Some fans will tell you that going 9-0 raises the bar. And they may have a point. Other fans say we should only be happy with a Super Bowl win. And they may have a point. But how in the hell can we actually say that a 2-14 team should go on to win the Super Bowl with just one offseason, 9-0 start or not? Seriously, go back and just sit on that thought. 2-14 to Super Bowl winners. It's just not possible. But we went 9-0, you might say. Well yes, but against lesser teams and backup quarterbacks (this really, really, really pains me to write, but it is true). So what should we expect?
Well here is what. I went over to profootballreference.com to do a little digging. My question? How have teams fared in the past twenty years after having the first pick in the draft? The answer will not surprise you. Pretty damn bad. In fact, only three teams since 1993 have picked first and then gone on to have a winning record. The teams are the '04 Chargers, the '08 Dolphins, and the '12 Colts. (Side note that doesn't really matter. Draft picks were QB, Tackle , QB, and then the Chiefs drafted a tackle. Odd little bit of trivia, but I don't know how to measure how much that matters.)
Here is where it gets a bit odd. These teams didn't just do well enough have an above .500 record, they all easily made the playoffs with double digit wins. The Chargers had 12, and the Dolphins and the Colts both had 11. So I think I could say that the Chiefs fit very well into this mold, and we could do some comparing to these teams. These three teams also had two more things in common. They played in the wildcard round of the playoffs AND THEY LOST. Sorry for the shouting, but let me say that one more time: they all played in the wildcard round of the playoffs, and they lost. Sorry I lied, just one more time, in a bit of a different tone. No team in the last 20 years of professional football has picked first in the draft and won a playoff game in the same seasonal year. Get that?
What does this mean? It means that the 2013 Chiefs are going to complete one of the better team turnarounds in the history of the NFL, but it isn't that rare to be a complete novelty.
It also means that, as fans, we really should be quite happy with just making the playoff, record be damned. Now if it weren't Christmas time, and if I didn't have quite a bit on my plate at the moment, I would go back though the entire history of the NFL to find this out, but I think I can be pretty comfortable saying that teams don't just go from worst team in the league to one of the best in the league. And I hate saying that. Search back through my comments and posts, and you will find that I am pretty (perhaps even naively) optimistic, but its true.
The 2013 Chiefs will probably not win a playoff game, and its OK. Say it with me this time: "The 2013 Chiefs will probably not win a playoff game, and its OK." This is just too tough of a league at the top for any team, no matter the changes in coaches or QBs, to make that big of a turnaround. So should we be happy with, at worst, 11-5 and a first round playoff loss? That should be a resounding yes. We just accomplished something that less than 20% of teams do. And that is a good thing. But honestly, don't let all this math crap stop you from wishing and hoping. It truly is a league where anything can happen on any given Sunday. Just keep in mind that if we do pull off a win in two weeks, we will have accomplished something that hasn't been done in a long time, if ever.