Alex Smith has a lacerated spleen and won't be playing Sunday.
First of all, let's break down that first part. Smith has a LACERATED SPLEEN. One which he apparently suffered on the deep attempt to Albert Wilson (one that people have incorrectly labeled a missed throw, but whatever). He then played another half of competitive professional football in which he was sacked three more times and hit about a half dozen others.
Re-read that paragraph. Seriously, do it, and pretend you knew nothing about Smith beforehand.
I have issues with Smith as a quarterback, but the man's toughness and desire to win is not one of them.
First and foremost, get well Alex. Injuries are the worst, and I hope you heal perfectly.
But in the meantime... ARE YOU KIDDING ME????????????
After I heard the news, I sat down and charted out the multiple possibilities for the Chiefs and Chase Daniel on Sunday. Yes, charted. As in I sat down and made a chart on a legal notepad (money well spent by my boss. I hope he doesn't read this column. Sorry, Matt!) trying to incorporate the possibilities. I have a serious, serious problem.
The thing that makes this news CRAZY isn't just the on-the-field implications. For the last year, a war has waged between Chiefs fans regarding Alex Smith. Brother against brother, father against son... it's been freaking Biblical in the comment section this season. And now, after all this animosity, both sides are going to have a shot to see themselves completely and totally vindicated (even though they really don't, because no one is ever going to win this in a way that will satisfy them).
On the line isn't just a potential playoff berth, it's the ego of THOUSANDS of fans who have spent years worth of time arguing about Alex Smith this year. And no matter what happens, both sides are going to tear into each other like a starved fat guy at Oklahoma Joe's.
Since my brain is exploding right now, I need to get some of these possibilities typed out. Because if I don't there's a good chance I'll stroke out right in front of my keyboard. These are presented randomly, not the order of how possible I believe they are. Also, for the sake of brevity (I'll wait for some of you to stop laughing at the idea of me caring about brevity. Go ahead. I have time), I'm not including EVERY charted possibility here.
Possibility #1: Chase plays well, Chiefs win blowout
This is maybe the one scenario in which true debate will cease to exist for a time, as those who like Alex Smith will be forced to basically sit there and absorb abuse.
"It was a totally different gameplan with Chase in. The Chargers had no real film on him, and Reid called a way better game."
Never mind. There will never be peace, even in this scenario.
I really, really, really doubt this happens. But I have to say, I'd LOVE it. Mostly because I get bored in the offseason and seeing people argue extensively for Chase to be our starter would really help pass the time.
Possibility #2: Chase plays poorly, Chiefs win blowout
This scenario would mean the arguments between fans would reach almost peak capacity. Pro-Smith fans would point out how a respected backup was way worse than Smith, proving Smith is a decent starter or better. Anti-Smith fans would hammer in the point that the Chiefs won a blowout game without Smith.
The fun part here would be the hot take comments. Something like this
"What happened with Smith out? Oh yeah, the Chiefs won big against a team they barely beat with Alex at QB."
Please, Lord, let this happen.
Possibility #3: Chase plays mediocre, Chiefs win blowout
Basically the same as above, except the arguments would burn even hotter. Let's face it, Smith has had some mediocre games this year. What if Chase looks, you know, a lot like Smith? Wouldn't that tell us something about Smith?
What I'd really enjoy about this scenario is both sides fudging the facts to back up their own preconceived opinion. If Chase plays mediocre, people who like Smith will INSIST he was terrible, while people who do not will INSIST he was decent.
Stats will be cited. Screenshots will be taken. Bad / good plays will be tossed out as blanket examples of Chase's terrible / solid play in the entire game.
Of all the possibilities, a Chiefs win with a mediocre performance by Chase Daniel is absolutely the one that would lead to the most venom between the two "factions."
Or, IS it?
Possibility #4: Chase plays poorly, Chiefs lose blowout
At least in #3, people are happy after watching a blowout win. If Chase has a terrible game and the Chiefs lose? Anarchy. People will be angry, and Alex Smith supporters will take their anger out on the other "side" by saying something resembling, "see? See? We've been telling you this ALL year. Got what you wanted? Happy now?"
Of course, those who don't like Smith at QB aren't going to take it sitting down. Again, anarchy. Absolute anarchy. I'm picturing something like the riot in the first season of "Prison Break." Mods will have to lock themselves in a safe location and just let it play itself out.
But nothing compares to the hate-fest that will reign if...
Possibility #5: Chase plays poorly, Chiefs win close game WITH comeback
This escalates from riot level to "what the Great Panic of World War Z (the book) looks like in your mind when you read that section."
It's a clumsy name, yes. But it's the only thing that fully captures the desolate wasteland that will be Chiefs Twitter and the comment section of EVERY Chiefs website. Side note, has there ever been a movie that had less to do with a book than Brad Pitt's "World War Z?" I mean seriously, what was that about?
The reason this one would be so controversial is that everyone would have a narrative to grab. Smith is a good QB because look how bad Chase played. Smith is a bad QB because the Chiefs won. Smith is a good QB because offense had more (insert whatever here). Smith is a bad QB because Chase was "clutch" where Smith would have faltered.
That's four. There are a hundred more.
Possibility #6 and #7: Chase plays mediocre, Chiefs lose OR win a close game
Probably the most likely scenario, right?
Chase Daniel isn't a terrible QB. He has accuracy issues and happy feet, but he's not a terrible backup. Additionally, the Chargers defense is pretty nicked up AND the Chiefs passing game has found some (relative) traction lately with Albert Wilson's emergence.
Combine all that and a total meltdown by Chase seems relatively unlikely. Additionally, it seems like Andy Reid would be more likely to call a run-oriented gameplan with Chase behind center. Which, you know, is exactly what most fans have been screaming for all year and how our offense has been called in our best games. I just don't see a total disaster from Chase.
I also don't see a genuinely good performance because, well, yeah. I've seen our OL, I've seen Chase play. I don't see it barring 20 targets to Albert Wilson. Then all bets are off, amirite (get on board the Wilson hype train. Plenty of room for now)?
I don't think the Chargers have a good enough offense to blow the Chiefs out. And I also don't think the Chiefs have a good enough offense (even if run the way we've all thought it should be) to blow the Chargers out. So a close game is the most likely.
Note that these scenarios are slightly different than #5 because they don't involve the added narrative of a comeback by Daniel. Because of that, I think there would be just a touch fewer narratives for people to grab on to.
Possibility # 8: Chase plays well, Chiefs lose blowout
This is John Dorsey's nightmare. If the Chiefs have their backup QB come in and play well but still get run out of Arrowhead by the Chargers, the fanbase will (fair or not) start to ask questions like...
1) How is it that 2 years into the rebuild we're getting killed by a decent-but-not-good Chargers team at home?
2) How is it that Dorsey and Reid's guy Smith is getting outplayed by a backup?
Those questions aren't entirely fair in this scenario. But neither is life, John. For sheer entertainment's sake, this could be the most fun (you know, after getting past the awful feeling of watching a blowout). Because then we'd have not only a Pro-Smith and Anti-Smith war to be waged, but a Pro-Dorsey and Anti-Dorsey war, along with a Pro-Reid and Anti-Reid war. Various factions would align. It'd be the Battle Of The Five (or, you know, six) Armies.
I have no idea what's going to happen Sunday. But I seriously cannot wait to find out. Additionally, there's one really, really, really remote possibility that was raised to me on Twitter.
@RealMNchiefsfan there IS the possibility that Chase carries us to the Super Bowl, which is when Alex could return. please discuss.
— Adrian Waller (@awaller1990) December 26, 2014