From the FanPosts -Joel
After the Chiefs had been up by four touchdowns, did I really see Andy Reid standing on the sideline, headset off, with a forced half smile, waiting for the Colts to run out the clock in victory formation? It didn't seem real. It didn't seem possible.
For all of the disappointment Chiefs fans have experienced over the years, I don't know that we have ever been this stunned. At the beginning of the third quarter, I thought the NFL was about to see the 2013 Chiefs prove that the alleged playoff curse over the Chiefs was either broken, expired, or had never even existed in the first place. This was going to be the start of a new era in which the Chiefs being in the playoffs should matter to other NFL teams.
The team was so close to escaping their prison of playoff failure and capping their sentence at 20 years. But it's as if the movie Shawshank Redemption had ended with Andy Dufrane climbing all the way through the sewage tunnel only to have the guard, Captain Hadley, waiting for him at other end ready to escort him back inside.
Last year this stage passed quickly because Clark Hunt made so many moves at the end of the season to assure that the Chiefs were on a track to success. Anger and indifference quickly turned to excitement and intrigue about the new regime.
But since the Chiefs lost to the Colts, I haven't watched a minute of another playoff game yet. I know the Saints won last night, but as I type this I don't even know the score to the San Diego and Cincinnati game. For some rational or irrational reason the last person I want to see on TV playing in the playoffs is Phillip Rivers whose team barely squeaked by the Chiefs' backups last week. I don't want to think about where the Chiefs would be playing next week, Denver or New England, after the current game is over. So my wife and I watched a romantic comedy instead of the playoff game.
I have been resisting this stage, but at some point we as Chiefs fans should allow ourselves some time to let the "if only" scenarios play out on flat screen TV's of our imaginations.
If only Alex Smith had connected with Cyrus Gray on the would-be touchdown.
If only a Chief defender had recovered the Colts' fumble near the Chiefs' goal line instead of Andrew Luck.
If only Bowe could have come down with both feet in bounds on the 4th down play.
If only one or two less key players had been injured during the game.
I can't let myself live in this stage all off-season though. It would drive me crazy. We have to borrow a line from Andy Reid's pal Romeo Crennel: "It is what it is." As Reid said today: the Chiefs aren't great right now. They're good. Andy Reid and his coaching staff are trying to make them great.
What stung last night is that Derrick Johnson and Tamba Hali aren't getting younger. Tamba is the one who pointed that out about both of those guys in the summer of 2012 up at St. Joe. I'm not saying they won't be as good next year as they were this year. I just hate the missed opportunity.
It also depresses me that although Andy Reid has repeatedly praised the work Jamaal Charles puts into keeping his body fresh, this year was one of his prime years. Here's to hoping there's a few prime years left for the Chiefs' most explosive offensive weapon.
Peyton Manning will also be a year older by the time next season rolls around. With a few key additions and adjustments in the pass defense, the Chiefs could be well poised to challenge the Broncos for the AFC West in the 2014 season.
Justin Houston and Dontari Poe have only begun to enter their prime and will both have monstrous seasons going forward. Hopefully the Chiefs will draft an immediate impact player in the first round who will help Flowers, Berry and company shut down the would-be big play.
Alex Smith can win games for the Chiefs. Travis Kelce will be a nice weapon in the Chiefs' offensive playbook.
Andy Reid, John Dorsey, and Clark Hunt know what they're doing. He knows the team is good but needs to be great. He said that today. I am excited to get to the acceptance stage. When I arrive, I will look forward to the draft, to the schedule release date. I will look forward to planning what games to go to and which seats to buy.
I will look forward to going up to St. Joe and watching training camp quickly bleed into the pre-season in August. Throughout the year, I will begin to hope again. I will hope that next year's Chiefs will win the division and make a run in the playoffs. Like Andy Dufrane in Shawshank Redemption told his friend Red (Morgan Freeman), who had said there is no use for hope in a place like prison: "Hope is a good thing."