Sunday, December 21, 2014

Chiefs at Steelers - Week 16 - Record: 8-7

There is something that I really started contemplating much more deeply last night, before the Niners-Chargers game, something that got much more calcified in my mind during that game. I watched it hoping the Niners would beat the Chargers, and for a while it looked like they would. I usually don't do that, watch any other game, but last night I did. I really shouldn't have because it was kind of depressing, even though it really didn't have much impact on what the Chiefs have had facing them. They'd still have to beat San Diego next week.

But watching Philip Rivers at work yet again.

Damn.

How on earth does this team ever lose a game with him at quarterback? I'd even heard he had a really bad back or something viciously bad with his physical constitution, needing surgery, all that. And yet he still carved up the 49ers. Just blistered them on the way to a major comeback win. I'd heard the Chargers had a couple other clutch wins earlier this year.

That's because even with all the stuff with the Chargers this year, whatever injuries and weaknesses they have...

They got it.

A lot of that is just that they have a quarterback who's got it. No matter what, no matter how he's already thrown an earlier pick or a wasted a play on an incompletion or gotten sacked, he still hangs in there and makes some big play sometime. I mean, I really don't know why the Chargers ever need to punt. If Rivers had a whole four plays to get 10 yards, they would never lose.

Why in blazes am I speaking about Philip Rivers and the Chargers when this is a Chiefs blog?

It is simple.

While there are a number of teams in the NFL who got it, I very regretfully have to confess that, yes --

The Chiefs don't got it.

Yes, I am writing in the emotion of the moment right now, I understand that. I'll be fine, thank you for your concern. But even before this game I'd been thinking about this, just thinking deeply about when we can authentically say at any time in our history that we got it.

What in blazes am I talking about with this got-it thing? I believe most NFL fans would understand what I'm talking about. It is that extraordinarily powerful intangible that just courses through an entire organization. It starts with the top management and just filters through everyone on the field. And yes, I do believe there is a profound spiritual, supernatural dynamic involved.

For instance, a team that has got it and has for some time is the New England Patriots. That may be obvious, but recently I found out something after coming across a blogger who pointed it out: That New England has had pretty average drafts over the past several years -- really no better than anyone else. What they do is deftly find undervalued players and know exactly where to plug them in.

The other thing is the quarterback having got it. Does Tom Brady got it? Absolutely. Philip Rivers's got it. Aaron Rodgers definitely does. Andrew Luck, I think does and will win big in the playoffs sometime to show that.

Ben Roethlisberger, the quarterback we faced today, he's got it.

And this Pittsburgh team we played today, they got it.

Sorry. I'm really sorry --

The Chiefs don't got it.

And here's the worst part.

I really don't think the Chiefs have ever had that got-it to be considered anything, really. Ever, in their history.

What about the 1969 World Champion Chiefs? What about those Chiefs teams of the entire 60's?

Okay, they may have had a little got-it. Len Dawson definitely had it, yes. But as I was thinking about all this, I just thought that Chiefs team was so talented for that one short run, I mean, really, even though their franchise had three AFL titles, there were several years they weren't even close to making the AFL postseason.

They had fantastic players to dominate, finally, in 1969. Yes, I can't say they didn't have some got-it, it's almost axiomatic that you can't win a Super Bowl without it, but here's the point.

Other than that, really, when have the Chiefs ever got it so you just know they're going to compete?

Really, when?

Right now we're looking at another 21-year drought of not winning a playoff game. Did you catch that?

Just for the record, as of now we still have a slight chance to get into the playoffs this year. We do indeed need another 2006-like miracle. We need to win next week but we also need Baltimore, Houston, and Buffalo all to lose. And even then, we're almost certain to face Indianapolis again, and you know what happens whenever that happens.

Now, I'm not going to be completely down on our team and its chances. What I am saying is I look at our current 20-year playoff win drought and think, "What, another one? We had one from '70 all the way to '90 (21 years)! How could any team have two 20-year (plus!) playoff win droughts in their history?!!"

A team like the Chiefs can, that's who, a team who just cannot ever get any sustained period of rich, vibrant got-it so they can actually be meaningfully successful.

From my thinking, I consider the Chiefs only had two times they had any even remotely sustained got-it, and even then it wasn't much. Feel free to disagree, that's cool. But this is just what I think.

In the early 90's we had some got-it even during the years around having Joe Montana. Those two years he was on the team we probably had the most got-it of any time in our history. But then we had the whole Marty Schottenheimer thing going, I mean as wonderful as the guy was, he had not-got-it tattooed all over his body.

The other time was when we had Dick Vermeil, Trent Green, Priest Holmes, and that splendid offensive line, in the early/mid-2000's. Our weak defense kept us from winning any playoff games, but hey, we got to taste it. Guess there's that.

I will add that I'm positive we would've had tons of got-it after that nice taste in 1981, but only if we'd kept Marv Levy and drafted Jim Kelly or Dan Marino. I'm never one to cry too much about that no matter how much so many Chiefs fans still do, point here is we could've had the got-it if that happened.

But then, there presents one of the important components of all this. You know what it is.

Having that drafted and developed quarterback.

Well, we've already gone over that to death, and there's no question that Ben Roethlisberger's got it while Alex Smith, well...

Let's get right to it shall we. This was indeed a classic game demonstrating the classic distinction between the Steelers got-it and the Chiefs not-got-it. Please know, I hate this, I really do. I want the Chiefs to have it as much as anything. But I also look at the truth.

In fact, to start, just some history. The Steelers have had got-it ever since the Chiefs lost whatever amount they had back in 1971. Every single year since then the Steelers have definitely had got-it.  This game was just a brazenly ruthless microcosm of that truth. Point of fact, head-to-head against the Chiefs the Steelers are now 20-9. The last time the Chiefs won a game in Pittsburgh was, get this, that final game of the '86 season that got us into the playoffs for the first time in 15 years. Remember that game, with all the terrific special teams play that got us the 24-19 win? Ahem: last time we won there. Since then we're 0-5 in Pittsburgh, including today.

Oh, and that one shining moment for the Chiefs in Steelers-Chiefs history? Our 1993 playoff win over them (in January 1994)? Are you all "Woo-hoo!" about that? (::Whimper:: We settle for so little...) Since that day. we've won one playoff game, and that was just the following week against a dysfunctional Houston team. Otherwise, after that, we've had zero playoff wins while the Steelers have had ::gulp:: 17 playoff victories. The Chiefs have had eight postseason victories in their entire franchise history. Here they are. Hou (62) Buf (66) NYJ Oak Min (69) Oak (91) Pit YAY! Hou (93). Tha's it. If I were to put down all of Pittsburgh's postseason wins, the Internet would explode.

To the game.

I noted the Chiefs got-it parts, as well as the not-got-it parts. And please, I am trying to be fair. But you'll note that the got-it/not-got-it distinctions go beyond simply plays-made or plays-not-made. These two teams were reasonably evenly matched if you just looked at talent and that kind of stuff. Each team had certain facets it did better than the other.

Point is, it came down to the Steelers distinct abundance of got-it and the Chiefs lack thereof. Watch.

The got-its for the Chiefs:

- Albert Wilson. I liked how they used him and got him in the mix a lot. He showed he could be a fine go-to guy. I liked that.

- The fake field goal. Fine, well-executed, and surprising. Cool, we're being imaginative, and boldly so. A very good thing.

- Keeping Roethlisberger off the field for solid amounts of time. We actually may have been able to pull this game out by successfully using the strategy that won us the San Diego game earlier. And we could've if... well -- to the not-got-it's later.

- One single scramble play by Smith, inadvertent, of course -- Andy Reid would never read this blog and discover what'll make his team dynamite, that designed scramble play I've been enthusiastically talking about, but, oh well. The one time Smith actually got cleanly away from the rush, he ran for a first down. If he were in more open space and taking his time with his receivers running arranged routes, it'd've been even better, for many more plays.

Annnd, that's it. Please, I don't want to take anything away from the fine passes Smith did throw, the catches made by Kelce and Bowe and others, De'Anthony's quickness, the decent pass rush, our tacklers holding their good back to less than 100 yards, or any of the other fine things we did -- all standard fine things. But face it, we simply didn't finish, and on a scale of necessary got-it points amounting to anything we can start counting on for extensive playoff success, which is a total numerical value of abooouut 473, the Chiefs got-it total today was about 13.8, I'd say.

Now for the Chiefs not-got-its. Good thing you don't need paper for a web blog. Just so you know, there's so much of it I'll just go in general chronological order as the game progressed.

- We only got a FG from that fake FG. Kelce almost ran it in for the score, but he was stopped at the five, and we couldn't convert from there. So even one of those good potential got-it kinds of things was totally not-got-it. Got-it teams score touchdowns after those things.

- We sacked Roethlisberger deep in Pittsburgh territory, he fumbled, we recovered (a turnover for us! Yay!) The officials called it an incomplete pass, but he definitely fumbled. They then got to punt, we drove down, but only to get a FG. Very not-got-it, especially since Reid could've used his review-the-play opportunity, but didn't.

- A Roethlisberger pass was batted high in the air, but in very not-got-it fashion there was no Chiefs defender around to pick it. Later in that drive the Steelers got one of their touchdowns, helped by a holding call on our D-back after we'd already done great keeping them at bay close to our goal line.

- Alex Smith was sacked a bunch of times again today, what's new. Thing is, both Rivers last night and Roethlisberger today did something Smith just doesn't do. And they always do this. They can throw the ball on a rope to their receiver even when the pocket is -- to use a phrase -- right in their back pocket. Roethlisberger threw one of his touchdowns today as he was getting crushed, ironically hitting one of his wide receivers. That the Chiefs can't do this is so not-got-it.

- And I'm not all over Alex Smith on this point. Let's face it. Our offensive line is offensive. It just is. And I thought we had a No. 1 overall pick a couple years ago -- with which, yes, we got an O-lineman. Not putting it all on Eric Fisher, he's actually been okay. Rodney Hudson too. But losing Jeff Allen to injury and Jon Asamoah and Branden Albert to free agency I really believe has killed us in this area. It is so not-got-it to have one of the best O-lines in NFL history in early 00's and have diddly postseason success from that. Sheezzz...

- With under a minute left in the first half with the Chiefs deep in Steeler territory, De'Anthony gets a pass and is stopped just short of the 1st down after the officials had said he had it. The spot was reviewed and overturned despite the TV ref saying there just wasn't enough evidence to overrule it. We face 4th and inches, go for it, and Charles is stopped on a vanilla run up-the-middle destined to fail. No points. Talk about not-got-it.

- I believe this play was one of the plays run before the half, I forget, but I'll mention it here anyway. We're close to their goal line as we were often today (note how many touchdowns we got...), Smith throws a back-shoulder pass strike to Bowe in the end zone. I'm thinking as it is right there in his clutches, there it is, finally the WR TD, that's it, finally finally finally. Of course, Bowe can't pull it in enough to keep the defender from getting his hands in enough to swat it away. I mean it was firmly in Bowe's hands for a good second -- until... well, you know...

Intermission. Well, in football it's called half-time, but the intermission here simply for a breather from the breathtaking nature of the got-it/not-got-it contrast between these two teams. It is uncanny. More commentary later about that, but now, the second half. (The insane thing is that the score was still a very close Pittsburgh 10, Kansas City 6)

- Travis Kelce almost does another fumbly thing after being down, just like he did in the Arizona game! This time it was even more convincing he was down with possession, yet the Pittsburgh coach wanted a review. Thing is, we ran a play just as the coach threw his red flag, and for the two seconds of that play's initial progression it was clear it started opening up as our best running play of the game. Nope, the play was whistled dead. Tomlin threw the flag just in time, it was reviewed, and the Kelce play stood anyway. See, you can't make this stuff up. And yes I know every team has these idiotic things happen to them, but the whole got-it thing comes down to this: not allowing those things to critically hurt you like they do the Chiefs, and not having them happen too much like they do with the Chiefs. The scathing reality here is the contrast between a team that has got-it by the truckloads, the Steelers, and one that notoriously doesn't, the Chiefs. It just couldn't be more pronounced than it was today.

- Todd Haley is the Steelers offensive coordinator, and they put up an infographic showing his offense as No. 1 in NFL. There ya go. I mean really, do we need to go on with this? I will because I'm just a masochist that way.

- Jamaal Charles fumbled deep in Steelers territory, and they reviewed it, and it was a fumble, but so close that the TV ref was saying it was not a fumble. But because, apparently according to the explanation anyway, it was so fast and the moving of Charles body was so continuous, you couldn't say it wasn't a fumble. Really, I'm not kidding you, I laugh when I write that because it is so not-got-it.

- Albert Wilson broke wide open deep down the middle of the field, and sure enough, Smith misses him.

- We had a total of 28 yards rushing late in the game. Again, offensive offensive line. Charles could go nowhere. Thing is, when we play these got-it teams, they just seem to know what we're doing. Maybe they do! But then that is definitely a hallmark of being a got-it team, really, just being a step ahead of the opponent. The Chiefs have done that about three or four games in their history I think, maybe five. But to have got-it means you can do it for long, long periods of time. ::Sigh:: I look forward to the day we'll be able to regularly do that on game day, some eon from now... Coming into today's game I knew nothing about the Steelers defense. I discovered it wasn't ranked very highly, but then, sure enough, got-it team versus not-got-it team: they were just sharper, faster, quicker, smarter...

- The penalties. We just got nailed with so many penalties, and I'm not even saying we didn't deserve them, but most were close, even questionable. To be fair the Steelers had a taunting penalty against them that was stupid and shouldn't have been called. It gave us a 1st down after a 3rd and 17 play, but yeah, they didn't have to worry, we didn't do anything with it. But again, againagainagainagainagain... erghck... this is a profound distinction between that team and ours. The not-got-it team just suffers much more from its penalties. In fact here's one, from earlier. Smith gets shoved in the backfield long after the play ends and they're flagged for roughing the passer, wholly justified. But Kelce does some goofy pulling a Steeler lineman off the pile. Unsportsmanlike. Offsetting, replay the down. Who does that hurt more? I mean, you gotta be kidding me!

There's more, really, there's actually more. There're about half-a-dozen notes of other things I'm just too lazy (and too worn out!) to get down here.

The final was 20-12, but it wasn't even that close. It was almost as if the Steelers knew they had the got-it thing going and just toyed with us. They could've swatted a swooping eagle at 70 yards with their left guard's nose hair. Meanwhile we looked like we were straining a gnat from our asses just to do anything but simply had the overwhelming not-got-it mercilessly crushing us.

And here's the final touch. The network reviewed the final game from last season, Chiefs-Chargers, as if that was extra motivation for them. That was when our loss to the Chargers kept the Steelers out of the playoffs. Thing is, the Chargers had the help of a miserably blown call by the officials, and damn it it wasn't as if we weren't trying to win. It is as if today the Steelers brutally exploited our not-got-it as punishment for having such woeful not-got-it in that game last year.

That's nice.

I mean. This thing is one cruel mnkfnnkger.

And you know? One final bruising anecdote to the whole Steelers-Chiefs nightmare. Remember back in 2005? Remember that season? If you don't it is typically vomitous got-it/not-got-it. I remember being in a pizza place for my son's soccer team post-season party, and seeing that graphic up there on the TV set there, you know the one, about who's got what playoff spot so far. It was after 12 games. There were the Chiefs sitting comfortably at 8-4, and the Steelers were on the outside at 7-5. In my tiny tiny tiny little brain I actually thought, "Cool, we've got this, we're in and the Steelers are out. Cool, for once already."

Wellll, the Chiefs went off the following week and barely lost to Dallas then lost again to the Giants, but won their last two games to finish 10-6. The Steelers ran the table, winning every single game in the regular season (to bump the Chiefs from the playoffs) and then every single game in the playoffs including a charmed Super Bowl win over the Seahawks aided by the notoriously bad officiating that destroyed Seattle's chances. There ya go.

It is one really cruel mnkfnnkger.

So here we are, shades of 2006, sitting at 8-7, wondering what the hell happened to our season, and sure enough hoping and hoping and hoping and hoping that we really actually truly fabulously start having major got-it next week.

As it is, we need a Chiefs win, a Browns win (over Baltimore), a Jacksonville win (over Houston), and a New England win (over Buffalo)* just to get into a playoffs we can never seem to win anyway. Yes I feel very resigned right now, but hey, I did back in 2006, and then, the miracle happened on New Year's Eve.

The reason I feel most resigned is I'm just tired of just not seeing the got-it happen for us, I just am. Not seeing it for long long long agonizing periods of time. Uhh. I will keep hoping it comes and stays, I really will. I always will, no matter how ugly this all gets, no matter how much I have to write all this for the therapy.
_

(*Apparently Buffalo only needs to lose once, and as of this writing they are behind Oakland by a small margin at the half. How about that. Gotta be a Raiders fan now.)
_

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Raiders at Chiefs - Week 15 - Record: 8-6

Are you as tired as I am of seeing stuff like this show up in infographics on the television set? Here, look:

"Current streak of games without a 300-yard passing day: Chiefs 43, Dolphins 15, a bunch of other teams at something like 14, 13, and so on..."

"Chiefs rank: Receiving yards - LAST. Receiver touchdowns - LAST. Receiving anything - LAST..."

"Time since last wide receiver touchdown: 1 year, 6 days, 17 minutes [and counting...]"

The network showed that last one just about every time the Chiefs had the ball in Raiders territory, and indeed at one point showed a clip of the last one we had, Dwayne Bowe's nifty slip-&-slide into the Redskins endzone. But yeah, that was the last one.

Thing is, the commentators remarked that it is amazing that the Chiefs are in this thing with that situation. I mean, extremely nonplussed they were with their remarking. And extremely understandable.

Thing is, it was a Jekyll and Hyde day for our passing game. Damn, Alex Smith actually passed the ball down the field today. Damn, he actually made nice completions today. A lot of them! To his wide receivers even! Off the top of my head, a 48-yarder to Wilson -- yeah! -- a 48-yarder, down the middle of the field!!! A 37-yarder to Bowe. Another spiffy deep out-pass to Bowe starting the 3rd quarter leading to our first touchdown. Earlier a fine catch and run by Jason Avant -- let's get this guy more in the mix!

But then, especially at the end of the first half, there were lots of drops and much sluggishness. Some Smith passes were just bad, just plain bad. One play I remember had Smith throwing to his checkdown Jamaal Charles who got dumped for a loss. On the replay showing that view from behind it was easy to see two of his receivers get quick and easy separation from their guys. Now yeah I know there're safeties and stuff out there, but then, I read this piece my cousin sent me about Smith's overconservativeness, and as usual we all just go errrrrrghkkrrkkkkkkkk...

(Oh, and point of fact. Smith had 297 yards passing today. That's nice. What is that now, 44 straight games now without a Chiefs regular season 300-yard passing game?...)

The commentators mentioned that Andy Reid felt mental fatigue had started to set in among the players. Great, that's just great. Sure we got it together and had a beast 3rd quarter, but this is the Raiders. Taking nothing away from the team and its effort, but ::nnkfnkk:: -- we have the Steelers next week in Pittsburgh, and we'd better be channeling Albert Einstein.

That's our season right there. It is true, every game from today's game on is "a playoff game." I put that in quotes because we may certainly win the next two "playoff games", but if we dang-it-all lose our first actual playoff game, well, well... The great thing is that we do control our own destiny. We beat Pittsburgh and San Diego in the next two games, and we're in. We hold the tiebreaker against both of them, so we're good.

Ahem.

We just have to beat them.

That's all.

Will we? From the little I know I see Pittsburgh's got a QB having a monster season. The commentators said they have this receiver (I really know little about the Steelers) who's phenomenal. And they have this running back Le'veon Bell who's pretty good. Because I just don't analyze everything about stuff, much less about any team not the Chiefs, I just can't be so expert about it all. This blog is just a fun riff on my thoughts.

What I do see is this.

Our defensive backs do cover pretty damn well. They said we still have a tremendously high ranking pass defense. They were even saying we haven't been allowing 300-yard passing days, like, ever. At least there's that. Thing is, we may just damn well need to make an interception or two to stop Roethlisberger. We simply can't have the dropped picks we had last week if we hope to win. Parker, Fleming, Gaines, Smith, Owens, Abdullah -- these guys do smother their guys, that's great. They'll have to step it up to an even greater level and make sure to grab those balls thrown within their reach if we're going to have a chance. Roethlisberger is just too relentless.

Our pass rush is decent. It was nice to see Dee Ford out there today getting some reps in, and showing his speed off the edge. Today we got a good push up the middle and we disrupted their passing rhythm on just about every down. On one play the QB couldn't even get the snap from center and the ball just lay there for us to cuddle. How great was that. We go crazy trying to get turnovers. That thing with Jaye Howard just plain not hanging on to that ball hanging in the air for him was preposterous. Every time there's a chance, we are just that close to getting them and just don't -- it was about time we'd get a gift one like that one.

Our special teams is actually pretty damn great, when you think about it. We scream about how much more effective the offense would be if they did this or had that. We beam about our pass defense and wince when our run defense is far too bendy. But look at this special teams unit! De'Anthony got a terrific TD punt return. Dustin did a goofy fake-fake punt and booted it down to the Raiders five. Our return guys were getting the ball down into great field position all day -- remember last year when they did that all the time? Thing is, our kicker Cairo Santos had a miserable day. He missed two FG's that were gimmes. That scares me. He's just too raw and too new to be trusted. Great with that game-winner against San Diego a couple months ago. What'll happen now???


And I still ask this. Not going to stop asking it. I just think it'd be amazing if they did it. When are they going to design at least a couple more plays with Alex Smith scrambling to open things up? One of the announcers for today's game even said he should have a different release point than the one he has far too often: three steps back waiting for a pass rusher to sack him. I think they should run at least five plays designed to get Smith into open space so he can have more confidence to scan the field and get it to those open receivers, with those receivers already running defined, lengthened routes with that whole concept clearly in mind.

Today, though, it seemed like he did have more confidence.

Maybe today's game was the game that'll get him untracked.

For next week,

He's going to need it.
_

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Chiefs at Cardinals - Week 14 - Record: 7-6 - Addendum

Just had to add a few things I'd thought about since Sunday, one of them an extraordinarily important thing in fact.

The first item is that I did get weak and I did peek around at what others had said about the Travis Kelce non-fumble. The most notable piece, this one at Arrowhead Pride, was about how Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians had so brilliantly handled the whole call, pretty darn near single-handedly winning the game with it. The point here is that there is no question we should tip our hat to him. Excellent move on his part, even if it went against us. I'd like it if our team does terrific things to win games -- it is indeed the only reason it means anything.

Still -- and the guy who wrote the splendidly detailed analysis also admitted -- it was still not a fumble.

I'd just like to add something I'd thought about in all this. You'll note the call was made by a sweating first-year official in favor of the home team. Ever read Scorecasting? The authors demonstrate clearly that the major reason -- if not the only reason -- home teams generally do better at home is that referees inadvertently, unwittingly, unknowingly make calls that favor the home team because of that implicit pressure surrounding them.

The second item is that in the haze of getting jobbed last week and feeling yet again the curse's pull against us, I forgot to make mention of the amazingness of Jamaal Charles with regards to his injury-then-not-injury. I mean, it's true, the guy is indeed Superman. The way he got crunched in that pile in the middle of the first half, then hop back up a few plays later and even score a touchdown later, is just beyond me.

Having him in there means, hey, we're still in this thing. Not that he's the whole team -- I'm one to chafe at the spewdom that Charles is the Chiefs. We have so much else to our team.

I'm just still waiting for Andy to employ them more fully...

This leads the last and most important item.

The news on Eric Berry came back, and it is very good. He's got Hodgkins lymphoma, and they're saying it is very treatable, very curable. Praise God! How great is that.

Yes, it'll be good when he battles this sucker and wins, that's 98.3% of this. But the other 1.7% that makes it totally great?...

When he's back on the field leading the Chiefs defense!
_

Sunday, December 07, 2014

Chiefs at Cardinals - Week 14 - Record: 7-6

Ya know, it's funny (if you want to call it that) that I'd mentioned in an earlier post that this season was looking a bit like 2006. We actually played very well in a number of games that year, but other games, well...

And then there were those games like this one.

Back in 2006 there was that Sunday night game against San Diego that we really should've won. In that game there was that punt we blocked that went completely idiotic: this happened and that happened until... the Chargers had the ball again 1st-&-10. Guh? The very next play Tomlinson takes a hand-off to the house for a TD, the difference-maker.

I remember just being incensed about it, that we'd made a genuinely good play annnnd, it just turned into crap. Funny thing is that I watched all of it on the TV at the home of a Christmas progressive dinner host, an event my wife's family has every year around this time.

Well, today the same kind of idiotic thing happened in the Chiefs game today, just before we enjoyed this year's progressive dinner event. Again a game we should've won but lost because of astounding stupidness.

Today's idiocy:

The Chiefs are down by three in the 4th quarter and Smith hits Kelce with a sweet pass that Kelce carries deep into Cardinals territory. After the tackle the ball slips from his hands, and a Cardinals player just happens to pick it up -- this after everyone has stopped playing the whistle having been blown.

The Cardinals coach throws the red flag and I'm thinking, "Are you kidding me? What are you looking at? He was clearly down years before the ball slipped out."

The replay shows that just before Kelce went down, the ball did move around in his grip, but when he went down he regained possession and he was down down down. Kelce even flipped over, holding the ball firmly in his hands before the defender batted it away as he was flat on his back.

Travis Kelce firmly holding the football
Of course you know what happened. These officials. That nfkning curse.

They should have said, "The replay shows that while the runner did fumble the ball before going down, it was clear that he had regained possession before the defender jarred it loose. Chiefs ball, 1st down."

Did the official say that, say the correct and proper ruling? Did he do that? Of course not. This is the Chiefs.

I'm sorry, but this kind of stuff is preposterous. And I'm sorry, but we Chiefs fans just take this stuff with a kind shrug and golly-shucks. This is one reason the curse just kills us. And I just don't look around at the web stuff said about it because I have to maintain my sanity, but really -- what if I did look at the Star, or Arrowhead Pride, or any other site or blog that gets into Chiefs things? Who's really going to step up and say we got thoroughly crapped upon? What happens is no one ever does with great conviction and vibrancy because we seem to be so afraid of sounding like it's sour grapes or that we're whiners or something like that.

I dunno. Maybe people are saying something. I don't look at any of it simply because I just wouldn't be able to handle that absence of people insisting it was a crappy call, one that cost us the game. We're a piddle little midwestern town to the powers-that-be anyway -- if this kind of thing happened to the Dallas Cowboys or New York Giants or New England Patriots it'd headline every news report, there'd be outrage, there'd be an investigation.

And all that is not the goofiest thing. The Cardinals kicker boinked not one but two field goal attmepts off the upright. How on earth can they do that and still win the game?!! Ahhh, forgot, that curse thing, errrrgh...

Thing is, we still haven't gotten into the contender class yet. Even with the curse idiocy of the day's game, we still aren't a playoff caliber team. Yeah, call it brazen resignation, but really, it's been a nice season. I know I said that in 2006 at about this time, and there was the miracle playoff qualifying, but we lost the first playoff game that year too. What's new.

We could get in this year also, but so what. We don't have the team to make any kind of run in the playoffs. Oh we've got talented players, and good coaches, yeah, but we have a curse shredding this team that causes the stupidest things to happen to us in spite of those things, and -- oh yeah, here's the thing. Do I have to spell it out in big bold letters?

WE HAVE NO PASSING GAME.

For those of you touting those few times we make plays with the pass -- hey, nice leapfrogging play by Bowe to lead to one of our touchdowns, hey, nice catch and run by Jamaal scoring that TD, hey, nice catches by Kelce still the same, hey, nice work by Albert Wilson and Jason Avant some of the time -- you have to remember that except for those nice plays which is only about a third of the time, except for that, Alex Smith is doing nothing with the pass.

Sure he can run, but dammit he looks like Steve Pelluer out there. Pelluer could run like the daylight, but he never won for us and was never going to.

Remember when I said in that pre-game note that Alex Smith would get sacked four times today. He did. Four times. Okay, guess that's how things go. But did he make up for it by doing the scrambly thing to make things happen the other times? He didn't. Predictably, regrettably.

In fact there was one time the play broke down, and sure enough he's running around in the backfield, running around, running around... and sure enough, he hits Jason Avant with a big gain to get us into field goal range. There it is, the genius of that play! Buuut then right after that he throws another pick at the line of scrimmage just like he did last week against Denver. Dang it Andy Reid will you get Smith to take that deep drop?!!

See this is the thing. I'm beginning to believe that the reason we don't have a passing game is not because of our receivers, but because of Alex Smith and Andy Reid. I'm sorry, but I'm starting to think about the tremendous liabilities of the "Alex Smith conservativeness." Come on, think about it. He's been with us a good near-two years now, and he simply can't make that rifle throw on target in traffic? Down the freenkin' football field? He's too afraid too! We always call it "being conservative" and excuse it away.

But dammit (there I go again -- just the frustration speaking) if Smith doesn't step it up and start throwing more fine accurate darts to receivers -- and throwing down the field for cryin' out loud -- we're going to be waiting a long three more years after this for that (oh I pray oh I pray oh I pray) (dare I say it) that drafted and developed quarterback of our very own to emerge. And then we have to wait a few more years for him to grow into the contending team quarterback.

Yes, I know, resignation resignation resignation. Just feeling it, sorry.

One more thing, just have to mention this because I did note it, another key to why we lost today. You know what it is. Maybe they'll do something about it. I don't know, maybe, maybe not.

But we just can't intercept the damn football.

Sure enough our failures in this area were just as glaring today, and indeed did cost us dearly. Here're the four missed picks, I actually noted them: Sean Smith, I think that failure led to a Cardinals FG but I'm not sure. Phillip Gaines in the endzone, but that one was just before one of those boinked FG's, but still. Josh Mauga  dropped one that did allow Arizona to get a FG (see how it kills us!) And Husain Abdullah had to reach for one and couldn't quite pull it down, but that's no excuse.

Thinking about my pre-game note, my concerns about our run defense weren't as justified, but then I discovered they were without that main running back, Ellington (sorry don't remember his first name). On the other hand, the Cardinals were still able to run the ball and their second-string QB helped them make those key plays when they needed to, so the spirit of the pre-game note still materialized in today's game.

Sure enough, here we are at 7-6, needing a prayer.
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Chiefs at Cardinals - Pre-game

A few times I've blogged while the game is on. You know, just for the therapy. Very rare.

This is even rarer -- in fact, I never do this, except for before a playoff game. But I just felt like doing this now.

Just want to get down some of the thinking about things, just for the therapy. Chiefs fans know this, as you know. And as you may know, I just don't deliberately look at anything Chiefs, but yeah, I do pick up all kinds of things from the news, from friends and family who let me know about things, that kind  of thing. Sometimes with circumstances like Eric Berry's, I will peek around online for more information.

Here's what I know about this game, here's what I'm thinking.

- The Cardinals quarterback is not Carson Palmer who I know had a season-ending injury. They do have this guy Drew Stanton, and I'd caught from seeing stuff about other games while watching Chiefs games that he had been doing pretty well, but lately not so much. Will our pass defense be as good as it has kind-of been for much of the season against a second-string QB? If we don't, furgit about us really being anywhere the contender we want to be.

- The Cardinals running game is pretty good, because they have some small quick back whose name I just don't have in my brain right now. Thing is, the Chiefs run defense has been pretty crap recently. We were crap against Denver. We were crap against Oakland. We were crap against Buffalo. We were kind of crap against Seattle but were able to stop Marshawn Lynch when we needed to. What's this going to look like?

Really, we have to rely on Josh Mauga and James-Michael Johnson in the middle. Not Derrick Johnson. Not Eric Berry. And not that Ray Lewis-type I've been slobbering that the Chiefs draft for years and years and years. Run defense? ::Whimper::

- How about that scrambling shake-&-back offensive scheme I introduced last time and which we should be employing to light up our offense? Consider the following, just consider: Alex Smith. Jamaal Charles. De'Anthony Thomas. Travis Kelce. Knile Davis. Anthony Fasano. Dwayne Bowe. Donnie Avery.

Take all those guys and put them into a dynamic, imaginative play package and we should put up 52 today.

Orrr... Are we just going to do vanilla play - vanilla play - vanilla play until you just want to splatter-barf all over your set? I got the idea the Cardinals defense was pretty beast. So how many sacks will Alex Smith get today? Let's say four. Okay, fine, but if he's not countering those by running the designed, arranged scramble plays to get the field wiiide open for these guys, then get ready for 7-6 and more praying for any remaining chance at the playoffs.

But then, if we can't beat the Cardinals, how much do we deserve to be there? Sure we've beaten those NFC teams handily, so yeah, we should beat them. (After all we can't beat the teams in our own division.) But how long is our streak against the NFC and the Cardinals going to last? I can't even remember the last time we lost to them.

So yeah, there're some thoughts. We'll all behold what happens to see if anything I think or say is worth a darn, we'll see. Just a note: I may not even be able to put up a post today because right after the game we've got family Christmas things going, but I'll see what happens. If you don't see my standard post-game post here soon, you'll know why. Stay tuned, but in the meantime you can ruminate on the quasi-meaningful thoughts about Chiefs things related to this one.

I mean, what else do we do with our lives?
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Monday, December 01, 2014

Broncos at Chiefs - Week 13 - Record: 7-5 - ADDENDUM

I simply couldn't help but add an addendum with a couple of thoughts about last night's game. I rarely ever do this, also, but I just have to write. My first post on this typical Broncos game debacle is just below, or here if you want to get right to it.

The first one has to do with a suggestion I'd love to make to Andy Reid. I don't know if anyone else has thought this, but I'd sure like it if Reid heard it and found a way to do it. Yes, I'm not an NFL coach. Yes, I know it's a lot harder than it looks, I got all that.

But I couldn't stop thinking about Alex Smith and his mobility, his vision, and his intelligence. Throw in the mix that he does have so many weapons -- for the passing game here, mind you -- that aren't necessarily his least talented receivers. Those weapons are namely Jamaal Charles, De'Anthony Thomas, Knile Davis, Travis Kelce, Anthony Fasano, and yes, wide receiver Dwayne Bowe.

Look at that mix right there, look at it. I'm sorry, but I'm not just looking through rose-colored glasses to say with some accuracy that these guys are all pretty damn good football players.

What I saw last night was Alex Smith drop straight back a couple of steps to pass while a bunch of receivers ran vanilla routes, and he did this virtually every single time the Chiefs ran a passing play. And sure enough far too often it was snuffed. Smith was sacked six times last night, and one of his passes was batted up and intercepted when he threw it too close to the line. That stinks.

I blame Andy Reid.

I blame Andy Reid because he has stopped being imaginative. It seems in the name of ingeniously disguising his play calling intentions, he refuses to open things up with the weapons that he has. It's almost as if he's bent on showcasing his genius coaching talent at the cost of allowing the skills of his players to just do the work for him and the team.

Added to all of this was the other thing I saw last night, that made me think of the wonders this team could show us. It could be wonderful, really! Did you see it? It was hard to catch because it only happened a few times, and it was when Alex Smith looked the most troubled. Ironically it is in those plays that I truly believe is our salvation.

Those few times Smith scrambled and got away from the rush he was easily able to complete medium to deep passes to all these guys in one way or another.

Are you thinking what I'm thinking?

Here's my suggestion -- are you listening Andy Reid?

Will you deliberately put in plays that take advantage of this situation: quick smart quarterback with a mix of fast and strong receivers? Will you literally design and employ plays that effectively get Smith to scramble, with an deftly arranged but wildly loose deep-drop moving-pocket, one that utilizes Smith's ability to evade pass rushers in the open field and the receivers' ability to find wide spaces down the field for Smith to throw to?

What? Yes, literally, after the snap you have Smith drop back deep and to the side one way or the other, then have him reverse field even if it means he drops more. He can easily evade any pass rusher, he has shown the ability to push the ball back up the field, and he has already proven he can throw the ball to open receivers out of that improvisation. Why can't plays be set up where our receivers have routes for this madness that are somewhat choreographed, and our O-linemen have blocking schemes arranged to help Smith get untracked to make this happen?

I know this can't work all the time, and I know most teams with their skill set can't accomplish this. But ya know?

The Chiefs can.

And I believe they can make it work most times -- we have the requisite players and yes, we have the coaching acumen to make it happen.

May I?...

Let's take that Denver game, and say we did this for each of the six times Smith was sacked. Here's how I see it would've worked.

Six plays, each one a designed scramble. Look at this. Take three of them and let's just say we get sacked, the play just doesn't work each of those times, and we even lose a few more yards because of the deeper drops. The fact is we aren't losing any more, really, than we lost when getting sacked as we did anyway.

But let's say they work, big-time, just three of those other times. We get big plays each time. Thomas scampers after the catch for 30 yards. Bowe gets a nice sideline catch 20 yards downfield. Kelce gets a grab and rambles for 40. Each time we get a first down extending our overall possession time, that takes out one more of those Denver possessions and the accompanying FG, so it's now 26-16.

Now take each of those three big plays individually. One of them, let's say afterwards we don't get any further with it. We've still pinned Denver deeper on that particular possession, so after a stop they can't get a FG and instead have to punt. Now it's down to 23-16. Another one gets us into FG range and we get the three points, making it 23-19. (Oh, and now since we're not desperate for points, we can kick the conversion instead of failing on the two-point try after the TD we already had, so it's really 23-20.) With the third one, we do it again, run some more imaginative sets, and we actually score the touchdown.

That is, we get just one more touchdown overall from using the six designed scramble plays, and just like that, the score is now 27-23 us.

Thing is, we have to have the balls to do that. Really, come on, when you think about it, what would we have had to lose? Really?


This relates to that second thing I thought about after last night's game. How much more annoying is this getting, just how awful we are against the teams in our own division. Has anyone else been seeing this? I mean, we just stink against the Broncos, Chargers, and Raiders. Have you been watching?

Look at this. We blast the Patriots. We handle the Dolphins. (In fact this year we amazingly went 4-0 against the AFC East.) We destroy the Rams. We stick it to the Seahawks. All of these teams are in playoff contention this year.

But against the AFC West teams, the teams we're supposed to beat, the teams I'm told we're really working hard specifically drafting and developing to beat? Damn we stink. We've stunk for a long time against them, and we still do. Yes, we did beat the Chargers (barely) earlier this year, but that's a rarity recently.

Here's the scoreboard, just over the past ten years, encompassing 19 to 20 games each, meeting each team twice a season. Here it is:

Raiders: 10-9 record with one more game against them coming up in two weeks. That doesn't sound so bad until you note that the first five of those 19 games were Chiefs wins to close out a 9-0 winning streak against them. That means since then, we are 5-9 against the Raiders. The Raiders. (Oh, and just make this whole thing much stupider for the Chiefs, the Broncos record against the Raiders in these past ten years is 13-6. The Chargers record? 16-4.)

Chargers: 6-13 record with our final game of this season scheduled against them this year.

Broncos: 6-14 including last night's piddle, their sixth straight win against us.

This  ---  is  ---  abysmal.

Yeah, I'd say this curse thing is blistering us, blistering us real bad right now. Right now every single game we play against these particular teams it just looks like they're governing everything. We look like weak limpets out there, allowing them to set tempo, to get off their marks quicker, to dictate what'll happen on every play -- on both sides of the ball.

And this has been happening every single time we play these teams. It really has.

If we're going to be genuine contenders, genuinely sustaining that stature as an NFL elite football club, we absolutely must step it up against those teams in our own division. It's nice to dominate the NFC teams, which we've done for some years now. It's nice to do well against the other AFC teams, again, that AFC East domination this year -- sweet. That's all really nice.

But fughedabowdit if we can't turn this thing around with the AFC West. Wanna be a contender in the NFL without soundly beating the Broncos and Raiders and Chargers on a regular basis?

Fughedabowdit.
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Sunday, November 30, 2014

Broncos at Chiefs - Week 13 - Record: 7-5

I never do my blog during a game. Well, not never, but rarely. But I'm starting this here in the 1st quarter, because, well, I have work early tomorrow. And I will preface all this with this: I will never give up on my team, ever. There is still lots of time left for the malevolent forces of the universe to be turned back for once and the Chiefs to overcome the curse once and for all. Maybe it will happen here in the 2nd quarter of this game. I hope. I always do, no matter what. But for now...

The Horse Curse is alive and well.

I did actually think we'd do well in this game. I actually thought we'd have a chance, that we'd have to beat an aging Peyton Manning sometime, that a banged up Broncos team would give us a little bit more of an edge.

Not.

Right now we're down 14-0, and it hasn't even been that close. Two three-&-outs for us, two slices right through our melted butter defense for them. We have an agile, mobile, smart quarterback who hasn't done squat. They have a quarterback who can't move an inch with his legs, but completes passes at will. Whoever Peyton Manning is against everyone else, he's twenty times as good against us. Third-and-long? He's just toying with us.

Thing is, this has less to do with Smith vs. Manning as it does with their O-line vs. ours. Their O-line is sharp, strong, and beating the tar out of us. They have a third-string running back in there who's running up and down the field, and it's because they're executing with an O-line that is, well, it is obvious. Let's give them their due.

It is also their wide receivers vs. ours. Don't laugh now, but the distinction is somewhat comical. Sure, we don't throw the ball, and it's not just because our pass protection is for crap tonight, but because our receivers just aren't up to the quality of Denver's, by light years. I hope and hope and hope and hope we can still be meaningful on the pro football field this year without wide receivers even remotely close to Denver's -- I hope and hope and hope...

Oh, and yeah, make that now three three-&-outs. Denver's resumed carving up the leftover turkey. The 2nd quarter has just started.

What happened to this team that beat New England and Seattle? Was it because those teams just had really down efforts those games to give us the terribly false impression that the Chiefs were anything? We looked very poor against the Raiders and I actually thought we'd step it up this time, make those corrections, play well and, yeah, even win this one. Show the league that we're for real.

But damn.

In fact, I noticed today the Raiders lost 52-0 to the Rams, who we also hammered. That's very scary. The Raiders beat us, but then they get utterly blasted today. Were we that bad against this woeful Raiders team?

Well here, we're not just bad but stupid. The Broncos just ran a fake punt for a first down. How do we let that happen? We missed a tackle there also, and really, we've been missing tackles all night.

They keep showing us that they've got this special "six-linemen" set. It works because we simply can't play eight guys up to defend the run, because Manning and his receivers are so good.

Thing is, the Broncos being banged up? Sorry, but it is really hard for us to get it done without Derrick Johnson, Mike Devito, Larry Allen, Eric Berry, and a host of other good players we have out for the season. Yes, all teams have their injuries, which says something else. The Broncos are just really good at getting the most from the players they have. As great as it is to have Andy Reid and his coaching staff, they just look completely overmatched by this team.

The Horse Curse is a mean mnnkin nfnkkll...

Ahh, just looking forward to the day when we can beat the Broncos with a team that's good enough to be destined for authentic Super Bowl contention. Yeah, it happened all the time in the '60's. Guess we're being punished for that now -- in the AFL's early years I think we went 25-2 against Denver head-to-head, go ahead and look it up, it's something like that. Now I'm pretty sure Denver has caught up to us, at least close to us -- through the awful Kansas City '70's, the strong Denver '80's, we did play Denver okay in the 90's, but since then it's still been pretty much all Denver...

::Sigh::

But then, I have faith.

Some day that curse will end. It will.

Oh, we got a first down! Awright! And right after that Jamaal got positive yardage! Awright!!!

And wow! Jamaal gets a clutch 4th down run! Then a long pass to Kelce, then a touchdown pass to Fasano! Yaaay! We do have a couple of decent tight ends! Coo-ell!

Second half starts, and YES. Houston gets to Manning and forces the fumble deep in Broncos territory. In fact the color guy announcing says what we've all been thinking when facing Manning, if we can just get to him after he waits that one more second, we'll stop him.

And now, derrck. On third down Smith does his awkward throw to Bowe who awkwardly tries to catch it, with predictable results. This just isn't Manning to Thomas. It just isn't.

By the way, just looking here at that Broncos-Chiefs head-to-head history. Know that great Thanksgiving night win we had against Denver in 2006? Just a few weeks before Lamar Hunt passed away? That inaugural NFL Network game we won 19-10? It was a terrific win, one we needed and helped us later get into the playoffs by virtue of that miraculous New Year's Eve course of events.

That win was four victories over Denver ago. Just four. Since 2006. We've beaten Denver only four times since that game. Denver's already beaten us five straight times since we last beat them at the end of the 2011 season. Errrgh...

So yeah, it's now 20-10, not an insurmountable lead, but damn. We just can't keep them from getting 1st downs. Their O-line is just killing us. We're still not tackling.

Still hoping still hoping still hoping...

Urgg. After we stop them, they get an interception off a batted ball high in the air, deep in our territory. That's nice. We get a nice turnover early on, but they get one back here. Unlike those fine Chiefs teams of, say, the '90's, we are not being helped by the turnover this year. We stink at that. But then, I never want to rely on that. Turnovers are nice, but we've got to be good. We just need to be better than the other team.

But you know? Our pass defense has actually been doing a pretty decent job here against Manning. 'Course it's now 3rd-&-eight, sooo... Hmm! Manning misfires, and they have to go for the FG. Okaaay...

But, grahhh... what's with that. Alex Smith does a play action thing on 3rd down at midfield and the Broncos just stuff it. I mean that play wasn't even funny. It looks as if they know what we're doing. That curse is gruesome, it just makes it so the opponent's players have this extra sense. Figures.

Now we've lost Allen Bailey. But then, great play on a third down play by Phillip Gaines. We're doing okay with our pass defense against Manning, we really are.

Buuutttttt, what am I thinking. On another punt play by them, one of our guys accidentally, barely touches the punt down the field so the Broncos get it again deep in our territory. Ahem, curse. What am I thinking.

Damn it I'm sick of this crap.

Sometime it's going to end. Sometime it's going to end. Sometime it's going to end. I just know it...

Now it's the 4th quarter, when we've been pretty beast this year. Time for the fine comeback. I'm up for it. Smith's just completed two fine passes. We're down 26-10 but there's time.

Hoping hoping hoping...

Avent, then Kelce, now Bowe. My wife just said, "We should've been playing like this since the beginning..." What a crack-up. Now Smith runs for a 1st down... Oh, and that's nice, Von Miller just barrels into the back of Smith with his helmet to get the personal foul call. That's nice.

Oh yeah, take that. Smith comes back to throw a touchdown pass to Jamaal who stays on his feet to shoot into the endzone. 26-16. Still lots of time. Our pass defense has been doing well against Manning and his receivers, can we keep it up?

Nah. We still can't stop their run. They're back to carving us up. They've run for 200 yards, so, yeah, not having Johnson, Devito, and Berry is bad, very bad. Their O-line is still playing well. Oh well. And ya know, even though we are doing okay against Manning's passing game, we're still not getting picks. We have just got to intercept a ball here and there.

And Conner Barth kicks another FG. That's nice, another former Chief, just like Succop kicking a bunch of FG's against us in that first game against the Titans. That's nice. That's just like the curse, just like it.

And more curse: sure we're down by too much, but a blatant Denver pass interference isn't called, then we get a penalty against us for delay of game. Can't say the refs aren't a nifty part of the curse.

And a nice pass to Avent, then Avery, then the completely gratuitous fumble, and... yeah.

Nckkkgk. That's it. Done deal.

As it is, we'll just have to hope for another 2006, the way this is looking. We're suddenly at 7-5, seemingly out of it, really not as good as we should be, umm... What else?

Amazingly they just showed the latest playoff qualification picture. We're still in the mix with a bunch of other 7-5 teams. Maybe we'll win a couple more games and get into the playoffs, maybe. We still have to face Arizona, Pittsburgh, and a phenomenally clutch San Diego who as you know is a vibrant part of the Horse Curse. Whew.

So, yeah. It'll end some day.

Maybe...

Just maybe...

It'll end soon.
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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Eric Berry and the Chiefs Twilight Zone

Last night we went to see the most recent rendition of Twilight Zone cinema, Interstellar. Thing is, just an hour before the film started we arrived to meet up with one of my sons at the theater, upon which he told me and my other son the just-breaking news: Eric Berry has cancer.

Now, before I go any further, the overwhelming concern for Eric Berry is light-years above anything football or Chiefs. We are praying for him and for his healing, for his family and for the medical personnel, and for Eric's strength of which we know he has a great abundance. Eric, just Eric, is the one in our thoughts and prayers.

But the fact is, I only know Berry though my appreciation of the Chiefs. I don't know him personally, I don't have to know him personally to care about him as a Chiefs player, and as such I look at things in terms of the Chiefs. Again, I'd like Eric Berry to be extraordinarily healthy and successful at whatever he does even if he had nothing to do with the Chiefs, but because he's on the Chiefs his success and Chiefs success are in many ways one in the same.

This is where I just think about our Chiefs.

Yes, as you know if you've been reading this blog, I tend to be very intense and think of things in terms of great magnificent events and eventualities. I fastidiously try to figure out everything and try to get at what's going on with everything, and because I'm a passionate Chiefs fan, I'm always thinking about what this Chiefs thing is and what that Chiefs thing is and what this other Chiefs thing is, really, truly, actually. If you think this type of analysis is overblown or melodramatic or even rabidly obtuse, I can understand, I can.

With that in mind, you can probably figure where this is going.

What in the world is going on with the Chiefs and their tragic history?

I know I know, lots of pro football players have nasty injuries and terrible misfortunes. Every team has their own history of bad shit happening to players and all that, Yes, I know, at least the Chiefs have a Super Bowl trophy in their glass cabinet -- the Lions Browns Bills Chargers Eagles Falcons Vikings Jaguars Panthers Bengals Cardinals Titans Texans still don't have one. I know I know I know...

But damn.

The crappy things that happen to too many of the Chiefs players just seem to be so... I don't know, so... crappy.

What is the litany now? Stone Johnson Mack Lee Hill Joe Delaney Derrick Thomas Jovan Belcher... I'm probably forgetting some. Yes I know Eric Berry is alive and battling this and I know he'll beat it, I know. It's just that when I hear these things I go, what is the deal with the Chiefs?

Are we just not supposed to do well?

There is an old Twilight Zone episode that just makes me think about this. Three astronauts are in a hospital room, one of whom is lying in a bed recovering from something that happened on their spacecraft's re-entry. One of them is starting to freak out, convinced that all of what they're experiencing at the moment should not be happening, that somehow, someway, they all should've died. As the episode proceeds, each of the three astronauts "disappears" with no one believing they even existed at all.

It is a very weird, very odd, and yes, very creepy story.

Sorry, but I think of this whenever I think of the Chiefs.

We did win that Super Bowl on January 11, 1970, and deservedly so.

But damn, are we damned to never be successful ever again? Did it have something to do with Otis Taylor probably stepping out-of-bounds as he caught that pass from Len Dawson throwing from the end zone that got them a key 1st down in the 1969 AFL championship game against the Raiders? Thing is even if the officials rule the pass incomplete, that doesn't mean the Raiders should instantly assume they'd have done anything with that 4th down after that. Yeah, I hear Raiders fans say that would've shifted the game in the Raiders favor and all that. Hey, Raiders fan, remember, the Chiefs still won 17-7.

My point is, was there some crazy hex put on us because of something that happened that shouldn't have happened in some supernatural sense? Or something that did happen that shouldn't have? I've called it the Curse of Odin. Vikings, Raiders, something else, I dunno... But I do know this: Look at our postseason efforts since then. Abysmal. Look at much of our regular season efforts, except for the 90's and what could be a Chiefs renaissance right now -- also pretty abominable. Look at our drafted and developed quarterback situation, I've gone bananas detailing that and all the commensurate horror associated with it. I'm about to do the same with our wide receivers history. It appears very, very ugly.

Our draft classes as a whole? Most of them... ::Whimper:: Now to be fair, some of our recent draft classes have been pretty damn good actually. On the other hand, I've made special mention of the awful 2009 draft class. Well, you know who the only player we have that made the 2010 class anything worth a darn? Yeah...

Eric Berry.

Otherwise that one was pretty crappy too.*

You just can't be Super Bowl contending quality footballers when that is happening, you just can't.

I think the Chiefs will play inspired football Sunday, a lot because of Eric Berry. I also think they have enough talent and coaching to beat the Broncos, I really do.

But it just takes so much to beat that nfnking curse, I'm telling you.

By the way, as I said, we saw Interstellar, and it was fun, engaging, though there was the terrible issue of the time continuum paradox, which the movie couldn't resolve -- most movies can't. Kind of annoying.

It made me think of one thing related to that, and that was how the future humans could use their knowledge of multiple dimensions to allow present humans to rescue mankind from environmentally oriented destruction. One thing they did was put a wormhole in space so they could travel to other worlds to find good ones to populate.

Now, here's my question. If they could mess with dimensions of space and time, why didn't they just put the wormhole right outside the front door, here, on planet earth? Why put it way out next to Saturn? Derrr...

Well, yeah, the obvious answer is, there wouldn't be a movie, would there? Yeah, yeah, smart-aleck.

But the main reason is this.

If God made it so we just had everything, instantly, and we didn't have to lift a finger to do stuff --

How boring would life be?

It's why we compete in things like football games, and why we join up with other fans to root for our boys out there battling and battling.

It may also be why Eric Berry has this thing. I'm not saying cancer is anything good at all. I do struggle with the idea that hardships have to be in our lives so we can overcome them, I do, don't get me wrong.

But then...

Eric is going to battle now like he's never battled before, and whatever Chiefs are involved or anything, that's the part that makes him stronger and wiser and better, no matter what happens. And hey, we can pray like crazy for him too. That's a good thing. 

And maybe that's the good thing God wants the most insane Chiefs fans to get in all this. Yeah we want wins. Wins wins wins wins wins. Maybe even a playoff win. Ahh, a playoff win...

But maybe being best is about a lot of other things -- way more important things than we can ever know. Maybe we're supposed to know that.

Maybe that's what we're supposed to do well with.
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*To be fair, that class had Dexter McCluster, Javier Arenas, Jon Asamoah, and Tony Moeaki, all good players at one time for the Chiefs. Thing is now they're all gone, so that 2010 class for the Chiefs at this time is pretty meaningless, except of course for Eric.
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