We share a common bond here. In the sporting and mythological world, it's seen as tragic.
Regardless of talent. Regardless of coaching. Kansas City has a history problem. If you're over 20, you probably know how it feels. Kansas City isn't going to use the C word any time soon.
As Midwesterners it wouldn't be respectful of the C word or it's associations. Especially when it's used out in the open with teams like the Chicago Cubs or the city of Cleveland in general (Cavaliers? Browns? Indians? Clarrett?) . The fans in Buffalo have every reason to use it around the family dinner table.
But we're creatures of habit and patterns. Some of you drank your beer why watching Indianapolis in the 4th quarter ... or rolled their eyes when they saw that we had a 99.1% chance of winning at one point.... and we will not say the word associated with witches,magic, and Disney Channel shows that starts with a C ... but we'll think it.
FEAR NUMBER 1 : FALLING BACK DOWN THE SAME RABBIT HOLE
The 2nd half of the Colts game felt like the entire 2011 season. Injuries. Devastating turnovers. Missed assignments. Blow-outs. Lack of total confidence.
The team came back with the same young cast and only added a few role players to the locker room. 2007 was a similar feeling. We came back with a young developing cast after a playoff loss , but our losses progressing forward were Mental more than strategical.
FEAR NUMBER 2 : The Unspoken Quarterback Myth
This might be the most popular of the 3 fears. If you are over 40, you are all too familiar with it. Many have given up on the Chiefs because of this age old fear.
Since Montana, have the Chiefs had a Quarterback beloved as much as their playoff opponents' ?
But this is not a new curse...
Jamaal Charles vs Joe Flacco
Larry Johson vs Peyton Manning
Whether or not you choose to discuss Trent Green, the Kansas City Chiefs or dare to showcase that Matt Cassel and Elvis Grbac did make the playoffs. Kansas City's quarterback situation has never made opponents our our breath or allow us to lose ours.
Whether or not you want to admit it, the Chiefs have only had 10 starts in 20 years by a quarterback that they have drafted. That person was Brodie Croyle. The most starts he had in 1 season was 6. If you're a true fan , I don't need to tell you how many wins that is. But if you're a casual one, I could tell you that it's 0.
The story of Alex Smith is one that is filled with his mythology. But more filled with our own.
The mythology of the Kansas City quarterback is, without question, a pattern. And a strange one.
Step A: Find a quarterback has been in the league that is ready to start now. ( Keep in mind that Lenny Dawson was a Steeler before he was a Chief )
Step B: Make sure they come from a Super Bowl Contending team ( Montana , Grbac , Green , Cassel , Smith )
Step C : Make sure that they are accurate but not flashy. They don't lose games on risks.
Step D : Make sure that their chip-on-the-shoulder is somewhat ambiguous
And perhaps that's what Chiefs fear the most with Smith. Or perhaps just fear than comes with these patterns.
As odd as it seems, we aren't as mad about drafting Jon Baldwin over Collin Kaepernick OR the 2012 draft class not addressing QB OR addressing the fact that Orton (or Stanzi) was a better quarterback that Cassel.
We're mad because we want these Quarterbacks to be Gannon. The kinda guy who plays with emotion and kills the opponent with it. Especially in times like these (where our division rivals have had playoff streaks & Super Bowl appearances in the last 20 years and we keep choking).
The guy who doesn't care that he's going up against Manning or Brady because his team hates everything about superstars (yes , i know the Raiders had some...but i was on a roll). Because guys like Warner and Gannon and Brees aren't so humble that they'll forget the dogcrap they went through to get a Championship.
And sure, the media thrives on that. But so do the fans. And the game thrives on those stories too. Their mythos becomes legend.
FEAR NUMBER 3 : THAT THE TEAM STARTS THINKING ABOUT THE C WORD
That they're tired of being relevant but the media still considers them irrelevant.
That no matter what , it's a league and division for pedigrees (Lucks, Mannings, Bradys).
That their best doesn't mean "the best".
And although we can talk and fiddle around with mock drafts and free agent wishlists , the truth is that the most important part of the Chiefs that has to change this offseason is the pattern of mentality.
Because we've seen deflated in Kansas City one thousand times.
We've seen injured.
We've seen confused.
We've even seen sad.
But have we seen full on, Reckless Revenge in Red & White?
The kind that says we don't care that we're the smallest market. We don't care about Andrew Luck. We're going to make the rest of them suffer and know our name as we guide ourselves back into the playoffs? The ghost of Derrick Thomas lives at 3001 Arrowhead Dr and we will chant his name for guidance until our myth turns into legend.
If there's anything to be said about the C word. The C word can be reversed with Second Chances. And most importantly the ability to thrive with a second chance. It's loving the failure so much and the mythology of that failure that you live and breathe off of it.
And if there's one person who could teach others about thriving off of that missed opportunity , he very well may the head coach in Kansas City.