Because Chiefs

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Once upon a time, I had a work supervisor who told me that I didn't like change very much. I bristled at this characterization. I didn't like thinking of myself that way. I much preferred to think of myself as someone with the courage and intelligence to recognize that change is inevitable, and should always be embraced.

But sadly, my boss was right. Just like most people, I hate change.

Even when change will make my life easier and more efficient, I resist it. I've carried a cell phone for a long time, but I was among the last people I knew to upgrade to a smartphone that could do something besides make telephone calls. I was quick to hop on the personal computing bandwagon, but I'm always among the last to get the latest software, so I don't have to learn something new. (This article is being written on a machine running XP) And I've had the same e-mail address since... well, ever since I had an e-mail address.

Like most people, I resist change because I fear change. Change is facing the unknown - and the unknown is just... scary.

I like to tell myself that I do things this way so that I won't have to deal with the all the bugs that are typically present in new technology. But deep down, I know I'm kidding myself. Like most people, I resist change because I fear change. Change is facing the unknown - and the unknown is just... scary.

Ten short weeks ago, I wrote an article suggesting the possibility that the 3-5 Chiefs could make the playoffs. I spent a lot of time researching that article, and the evidence was there: it wasn't just possible the Chiefs were going to run the table, and finish the season 11-5. It was likely. But nowhere in that article did I say that. I said it might be reasonable to think the Chiefs were better than their record indicated. I said they might be able to make the playoffs. I said that if they did so, "they'll be headed into the postseason with a recent record no worse than 8-2 - maybe even 9-1, or..."

I couldn't even bring myself to say it. I told myself it was because you can't count on anything in the NFL. I told myself I was simply remembering the lesson I learned from Joe Montana during a press conference in the early 90s: that "the ball is shaped funny, and sometimes it bounces weird."

But I was kidding myself. I couldn't bring myself to say it because... because...

Because Chiefs.

Because three times in the previous 22 years, the Chiefs were perfectly positioned for a Super Bowl run, and lost the opening game of the playoffs - sometimes in a heartbreaking, unbelievable fashion. Because five other times, the Chiefs went into the playoffs with the hope they could somehow make a run, and failed in that same opening game - once after blowing a 28 point third quarter lead. Because even recently, the Chiefs have built up our hopes with strong wins against very good teams, only to follow them with inexplicable losses against inferior opponents. (Never mind that this even happens to Super Bowl teams. Because... Chiefs)

But then... something happened. True to the data I saw 10 weeks ago, the Chiefs ran the table, making the playoffs by defeating every opponent in their path. On Saturday, they dismantled the Houston Texans in the most lopsided postseason win in franchise history, and extended their franchise-record winning streak to 11 games.

Did you catch that? The most lopsided postseason win in franchise history!

The last time the Chiefs administered such a playoff beatdown was on January 1, 1967, when they defeated the Buffalo Bills 31-7 in the AFL Championship

The last time the Chiefs administered such a playoff beatdown was on January 1, 1967, when they defeated the Buffalo Bills 31-7 in the AFL Championship - a victory that earned them the right to face Vince Lombardi's Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl I. On Saturday, Alex Smith may have thrown for only 173 net yards, but he completed 77.3% of his passes, which was another postseason franchise record. Not since January 11, 1970 - when the legendary Len Dawson completed 70.6% of his passes (for 122 net yards) while winning Super Bowl IV - has a Chiefs QB been so accurate in a playoff game.

But before you accuse me of bringing up a couple of isolated stats and comparing them to games in another era that have no bearing on today's game, consider this:

The stat geeks at have something they call an Elo Rating. Developed by physicist Arpad Elo to rate chess players, the smart people at 538 have adapted it for use in all kinds of head-to-head competitions. Like the SRS rating system I have mentioned in previous articles, it is a simple, transparent system that strives to measure the strength of a given team.

In essence, it's SRS on performance enhancing drugs.

Like SRS, its base data is point differential, but it also considers when and where games are played. Like SRS, it can't account for injuries, momentum, or whether the QB's girlfriend fought with him before leaving the house that morning - or, for that matter, whether Adam Jones will take a swing at an opposing coach in the last seconds of a close game. (Man... I feel bad for Bengals fans!) But unlike SRS, it takes previous seasons into account, gives teams more credit for defeating a strong team than a weak one - and likewise, penalizes them less for losing to a strong team than a weak one - and even gives more weight to victories at the end of the season than the beginning.

As of today, here are 538's Elo Ratings for all the NFL teams that went into Wild Card Weekend:

Team Elo Rating Elo Rating Change
Seattle 1718 +6
Kansas City 1699 +26
Carolina 1685 0
Arizona 1681 0
Pittsburgh 1651 +13
Denver 1645 0
New England 1644 0
Green Bay 1634 +27
Cincinnati 1615 -13
Minnesota 1598 -6
Houston 1506 -26
Washington 1492 -27

By this reckoning, the Chiefs are the second best team in the NFL right now - behind only the Seattle Seahawks.

You read that right: at this moment, the Chiefs are arguably the best team in the AFC!

But because Elo Ratings can be used to compare teams playing in different seasons, I can also tell you that the Chiefs haven't had an Elo Rating this high since December 20, 1969. On that day, they had an Elo Rating of 1717, just after defeating the New York Jets 13-6 to advance to the final AFL Championship. Three weeks later, the Chiefs would be Super Bowl champions.

This Chiefs team can be described as the best one since the 1969 Super Bowl champions.

That means that this Chiefs team can be described as the best since then - better than the team that went to the AFC Championship in 1993, and was the last to win a playoff game - and better than all the Chiefs teams that had homefield advantage for the playoffs sewn up, and then proceeded to go one and done.

And unlike all Chiefs playoff teams in the last 22 years, the Chiefs have now proved that they have the mental toughness to win a playoff game. In fact, they've proved they have the mental toughness to win 11 consecutive playoff games! I thought so last week, but I can't blame you if you weren't yet ready to accept it. Because... you know... Chiefs.

I can't tell you that the Chiefs will win Super Bowl 50. (There's another change I am still resisting: calling it "Super Bowl 50" instead of "Super Bowl L"! Lamar must be spinning in his grave!) Some tough teams stand in the way, and better teams than the Chiefs have fallen in the playoffs - occasionally to lesser teams making improbable runs, but more often because it's just like Joe said: the ball is shaped funny, and sometimes it bounces weird.

But as of this moment in the long, proud history of our team, that's OK. From this moment on, should the Chiefs fail to meet our hopes, it's no longer going to be because of some inherent fault in the franchise - that is, because Chiefs. It's going to be because every year, fans of 32 NFL teams enter the season with that same hope, and only one group of them emerges with that hope intact. That's scary. And in a very real way, it's more scary to face that fear than it is to simply say that your team can't ever win it all - because Chiefs.

It's time to face that fear, and embrace a whole new way of thinking about your team. I know it is a difficult change to accept. Change is, after all, hard. Nobody likes it. As fans, we've spent a whole generation building up our perceptions of the team, and those perceptions aren't going to vanish overnight. But starting right now, they should. John Dorsey hasn't just assembled talent and depth. We can now be certain that Andy Reid has also instilled a winning attitude in this long-moribund franchise. On some bright, sunny day in the future - perhaps much sooner than we ever thought possible - your Chiefs will be Super Bowl champions.


Because Chiefs.

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of Arrowhead Pride's writers or editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of Arrowhead Pride writers or editors.