On some occasions, TV announcers have appeared to feel obligated to include that fact after praising his play. And observers across the country — often fans from other teams — still comment on social media with insults and unwavering ridicule about Hill, who was cut from the OSU football roster the day after his arrest. Hill’s abuse of his girlfriend has been extensively covered and criticized, including by The Star immediately after the Chiefs drafted him. But today in Kansas City, as the touchdowns multiply and Hill’s highlights dominate postgame coverage, the conversation among some fans has shifted toward his production on the field.
The Chiefs are expecting much from both players against the Steelers. Maclin missed four games midseason because of a groin injury but returned to the lineup more than a month ago. Ware missed the final regular-season game two weeks ago against the San Diego Chargers because of sore ribs, but he’s been a full practice participant this week.
On Sunday, the Steelers visit the Chiefs in Kansas City for a berth in the AFC title game. So who wins? That’s part two of Friday’s PFT Live question of the day.
"We have reviewed the available information regarding the incident that took place on Sunday night," Steelers president Art Rooney II said in a statement. "We have also reviewed the communication from the Allegheny County District Attorney's Office indicating the intention of that office to withdraw all but the summary offense charges. As an organization, we have great respect for the job the City of Pittsburgh Police perform for our community. We also respect the fact that there are ongoing legal proceedings stemming from the incident. We will await the outcome of the legal process and communicate further with the NFL regarding the personal conduct policy before making any further decisions on potential discipline."
"Well, I think, number one, you look at them, and of course I was there for three years, just the progression of Alex [Smith] in the system and how well now he is managing and playing quarterback with that team," Pederson said. "The youth that the Chiefs have brought in, the [Travis] Kelces and the [Albert] Wilsons, the guys you see on offense that are really beginning to take stride and understand their roles, there's something to be said about being in a system for multiple years, and now they're in that year four, and things are really beginning to take off."
Now, the Schottenheimers cherish their time with their children, Kristen and Brian, an Indianapolis Colts assistant coach, and grandchildren, whom they see as often as possible. They attend all of Brian’s home games and visit nearby Kristen and her family frequently. Then there’s what Schottenheimer calls "the joy of my life" — Phoebe, the Cavalier King Charles spaniel who sits on his lap every morning as he reads three newspapers. He still can’t play enough golf, which has long been a sanctuary for him and offers a telling snapshot of life at 73 for Schottenheimer.
Kansas City may not play the most exciting brand of football, but this team has won 23 of its last 28 games, and tied Oakland for the best turnover differential (plus-16) in 2016. The Chiefs' resume includes impressive sweeps of the Raiders and Broncos, a 30-14 shutdown of Andrew Luck's offense in Indianapolis, and a 29-28 win in Atlanta after Eric Berry's historic pick-two return on a late two-point conversion. When a team can crack Denver's great defense twice and outscore the prolific Falcons on the road, that team might just be ready to beat anyone this season.
I also need to take this space to debunk some "game manager" myths. Smith has been excellent in playoff games. He ranks fourth among active QBs (minimum three playoff starts) in passer rating in playoff games. He’s thrown 11 touchdowns and one interception in his five playoff starts. However, one recent trend from Smith that would concern me is his tendency to throw red zone interceptions down the stretch this season. Against the Steelers offense, losing points in the red zone could be a back breaker.
"I want to get excited about it," Struby said. "But at the same time it makes me cringe a little bit to see the community just wholeheartedly — I think without any qualifiers — embrace it. I understand why people do it. I don't fault people for it. I get why people are excited. It's just . . ."
A lot has changed since then, and to get the lowdown from the other side of the fence, I went behind enemy lines to ask Joel Thorman, editor of Arrowhead Pride (SB Nation’s Chiefs website), questions about the upcoming game. Burning questions such as how can the Steelers neutralize Tyreek Hill, which Killer B will the Chiefs try to take out first, and more! See the full interview below.
In the second half of the season he’s emerged as much more than a returner and gadget-play complement to the offense. The Chiefs will line him up wide, in the slot and in the backfield. They’ll throw it to him deep (not a staple of the KC offense but one that’s been relied upon more frequently in recent weeks). And they’ll run him on Jet Sweeps designed to either open up inside runs or stress the outside linebackers, the strong safety and/or the cornerbacks in a Cover 2 scheme when Hill gets the ball.
Three states — Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma — have already declared states of emergency ahead of the storm that the National Weather Service in Kansas City described Friday as "dangerous and potentially crippling." The worst effects are expected in Kansas and Missouri, where up to an inch of freezing rain could fall by Sunday morning. Officials there are trying to spread the message loud and clear: Stay off the roads this weekend.
Think about that. You take 106 of the most athletically gifted human beings in the world and square them off in the world’s most complicated sport. And then you got me: currently typing this in my underwear after waking up at noon today, with Cheez-it crumbs littered all over myself, and I can impact the game?!?
So with this dearth of baseball and the entire city participating in Red Friday, let’s take a look at the reverse: Chiefs, if they were Royals. Now, this isn’t as easy or as interesting as an exercise; American football is predicated on pure athleticism much moreso than baseball, and it’s semi-common to have a basketball star become a legit football player, for instance (Demetrius Harris, Antonio Gates). We know what a football player looks like as a baseball player, and that is Tim Tebow. That is not a good outcome. Baseball is a skills-based game, and though those skills require athleticism, skills must be developed for years.
Defensive end Ricardo Matthews (high right ankle sprain), who said Thursday that Friday's practice would be his test for playing in the game or not, was a limited participant in Friday's session. Matthews would give Pittsburgh as many as four defensive ends on the game day roster, joining Stephon Tuitt, L.T. Walton and Johnny Maxey.
Houston was listed as a limited practice participant on Friday’s injury report because of a knee injury. Houston missed the final two games, and the first nine, of the regular season. Outside linebacker Tamba Hali didn’t practice Friday but his absence from practice has been standard procedure throughout the season.
Since the Chiefs won Super Bowl IV after the 1969 season they are 4-14 in playoff games. Last season, they snapped an eight-game playoff losing streak, the longest postseason losing streak in NFL history. The Steelers, meanwhile, are 35-22 in the playoffs in the same span.
Logic dictates the Chiefs offense will have to do without as much help this year. Kansas City lost one key defensive component, cornerback Sean Smith, to free agency. Another, linebacker Justin Houston, won’t play at least the first half of the season after having knee surgery.