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The Danger of Drinking the Kool-Aid

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"The Chiefs will make the playoffs." "The Chiefs will win five games." I've gone back and forth as steadily as the pendulum on a grandfather clock this off-season, trying to make heads or tails of the Chiefs potential. The reason is simple: it's much more fun to hold out hope -- even if the results year after year have told us otherwise.

You can see it in the responses to any "realistic" or "negative" post here or otherwise. Some readers will curse you and ask why you can't have fun and believe in the Chiefs? Others are more educated in their responses, listing the moves made by the Chiefs since last season. Still others quite the topsy-turvy world of the NFL from year to year and believe the Chiefs are solid candidates to head north. But there is an inherent danger is drinking the Kool-Aid in a time like this.

The front office is stoic for a reason. Perhaps maniacally so, but it keeps them from an intense emotional spectrum. Never too excited. Never too angry. Never making a move out of an emotional reach. The Chiefs didn't budge in the draft when there was a run on defensive tackles in the second round, instead sticking to their draft board. They don't sign a free agent based on pressure from fans. If they like it, they like it. The Chiefs brass, for example, seems to care less about fan perceptions of the nose tackle position. Good or bad, you have to respect their resolve to not be shaken.

That's the problem with Kool-Aid, with high expectations. "The Chiefs will make the playoffs." What if they don't? The feeling might be good for a moment and might make the off-season brighter. But it also leads to an overreaction if things don't go as planned. What if the Chiefs win five games? What if the glaring lack of new players along the front seven only reinforces the horrific results from last season's run defense? What if Matt Cassel cannot perform up to his contract?

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"Fire Haley" becomes the cry. Get rid of "Player Name." Drastic sweeping changes are made. Fans quit coming to games. When you set the expectations high, then when those same expectations are dashed, it hurts even worse. Drinking the Kool-Aid makes for a great off-season, but the team has made it clear that they are in this for the long haul. The offensive scheme will be changed this year with Haley and Charlie Weis switching hats. The defense is entirely new. The rookies will be, well, rookies, no matter how promising to all.

I want to hope, but I also realize it will most likely be a long season. When the dearth of talent is so overwhelming as it was when the current regime stepped in, things take quite a bit of time. Steps forward is the goal, and usually, despite some memorable stories to the contrary, those steps are baby ones.