Sometimes we get so caught up in planning for the future we ignore the present. Doing so runs the risk of missing something amazing.
Take parenting, for example. When you have your baby, you look forward to them smiling at you for the first time. Then you look forward to them laughing. Then you look forward to them rolling over. Then you look forward to them sitting up. Then you look forward to them crawling. Then you look forward to them walking...
And all of a sudden your daughter is talking to you and doesn't want to just sit in your arms anymore, you cursed yourself for wishing away the time.
(Waits for the dad readers to get back from hugging their daughters)
You're back? Great. Hold your kids as long as they let you. That said, let's get to football.
I've talked about how much I enjoyed the Chiefs 2014 season. I found it to be a lot of fun. On the flip side of that, there were a lot of issues throughout the season. The Alex Smith war. The wide receiver conundrum. The offensive line ... issues. The "hot and cold" nature of the team in general.
We spent a lot of this season talking about the problems the Chiefs have, and we've spent a lot of time since the season ended talking about how to fix those problems.
And somewhere along the way, we (or at least I) forgot to sit down and say, "HOLY CRAP JUSTIN HOUSTON WAS AWESOME THIS YEAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
Because he absolutely was. He was incredible. He was a force of nature. He was a game altering, quarterback eating, gospel preaching (check the man's Twitter feed. It's like going to church), edge setting, right tackle swallowing nightmare. And that's probably not saying enough.
How good was Houston this year? Good enough that the majority of what I'm about to write is simply going to be a list of facts about Houston's statistical season. I will reserve commentary for the end. Because he was so good commentary isn't really required. Base stats come courtesy of Pro Football Reference. All in-depth stats are courtesy of PFF, which (despite the controversy of their grades, which is a legit question in this guy's opinion) does a great job tracking quantitative stats.
Justin Houston had 22 sacks in 2014. He is the third player to reach that mark since 1985... the year of my birth.
Justin Houston had as many sacks in 2014 as the two players tied for 12th in sacks. Combined.
Justin Houston had two fewer sacks than DeMarcus Ware and Von Miller. Combined.
Justin Houston had more sacks than one and a half Von Millers. He also wore 100 percent fewer ridiculous glasses than one and a half Von Millers.
Justin Houston pressured quarterbacks (granted, a rather subjective stat) 85 times. The next closest outside linebacker did so 72 times. The guy after that had 64.
Justin Houston's pass rush productivity (a percentage measuring sacks, hits, and pressures per rush, with sacks given more weight) was 15.7. J.J. Watt's was 15.0. No other edge rusher was within a full "point" of Houston.
Von Miller's pass rush productivity was 11.8. That is 75.1 percent of what Justin Houston did.
(Sensing a pattern here?)
Read that last stat again. And again. And again.
Justin Houston had eight more sacks than Von Miller and rushed the passer 41 fewer times.
Exactly four people in NFL history have brought down quarterbacks as many times as Justin Houston did in 2014. Four people.
I don't think we need to go on. We just witnessed one of the most dominant pass rushing seasons in the history of the NFL. I hope you paid attention while it was happening and remembered to enjoy it. Because you might not see a season like it for another decade or more.
There is exactly one front seven defensive player in the NFL who is on Houston's level, and that's J.J. Watt. Everyone else is looking up at those two.
Oh, and by the way ... Houston is 26 years old. The man may not have even peaked yet.