Sunday, September 14, 2014

Chiefs at Broncos - Week 2 - Record: 0-2

I just can't stand it. I just have to start this post early. Right now we're down 21-10 as the first half  comes to an end. Please know that I've had no illusions about the likelihood of this outcome.

I'll wrap this up as this ugliness wraps up later. Don't really know what else to say however. I really don't.

My point now is this.

I don't know how much more pronounced The Curse can be. I really don't. I thought everybody was convinced of The Curse's ugliness through the years of never getting that drafted and developed quarterback, but no. I thought it'd be easily seen through the years of losing playoff game after playoff game even when we had pretty damn good teams, but no. I thought for sure it'd be seen in its gruesome barbarity after last season's wild-card game against the Colts. Apparently not then either.

A while back I'd made mention that this season could look like 2004 -- a year after a fine 13-3 season we started flat and had a poor season. No, as I look at the brutality of The Curse this year, it is looking like 2011. Remember that year, when we got crushed in the first two games and in the process lost three of our key players all to ACL injuries. We actually finished at 7-9 because ironically Todd Haley did a terrific job of getting us physically ready to play, and our resilience carried us through the season. Still.

Hey, there is no guarantee this will not be more like 2012.

And you can thank The Curse for that.

We've already lost Derrick Johnson and Mike Devito. I learned this week we lost Jeff Allen too. Gone for the year. Today we've lost Jamaal Charles and Eric Berry.

The Curse couldn't just let the wild-card game be and have it be over -- remember? That game when we had all our key players get clobbered by injuries? No, there just wasn't enough torment. It just has to continue unabated. Instead it has to vomit itself up all over us this year too.

Still don't think there is a Curse? Just look at this game. The air is thick with it. And I'm watching from a thousand miles away. I have nothing against Peyton Manning, I know it is very hard to beat him. That's cool. More power to them. We should beat a good team -- we should be good enough to beat The Curse.

But look at what's happened in this game. There're the injuries on top of injuries -- covered that.

There're also those picks the Broncos get away with to spring their receivers. No, they're not penalties they say, they're within one yard of the scrimmage line. Bullshit. I also thought they were supposed to be calling penalties against the receivers pushing off, well, that's not happened. (And here as the second half starts, a phantom holding call against our guy. Fortunately Alex Smith hit Travis Kelce to get the first down.)

Then there was the catch by that Broncos receiver that he fumbled, and after the officials ruled that their original ruling stood, incomplete pass, we now have no more challenges. Retarded, that challenges rule.

And to top it off, the officials didn't stop play when the two-minute warning hit. The Broncos moved all over the place, the Chiefs line moved, and they called a five-yard penalty against the Chiefs. Sure it's a little thing, but damn.

That Curse.

As it is, this Chiefs team is still playing with all the heart in the world. That's my team.

Right now as the 3rd quarter has started they've been moving the ball again. Smith is sharp. Knile Davis is a slashing maniac out there. Our receivers are making plays (how about that!!!) There was just a terrific slant pass catch for a first down by, yep! -- A.J. Jenkins!

And there. Finally they get these guys on a defensive holding call. Very obvious.

But then, those injuries.  We've got goal-to-goal, and one of those replacements on the line is called for his second holding of the game. Errgck. And we're going backwards. Now Smith gets sacked. No offensive line. Smith scrambling and scrambling and throwing it away again.

And we miss the field goal. Ten minutes of a pretty damn good Curse defeating drive, only to have yet again

The Curse prevail.

Really, the upshot of this is this. Until some things happen that are waaay not like any of this horror that Chiefs fans have endured year after year after year, then I'll know The Curse has been overcome. That means we start to see the things happen year after year after year that every other team has been able to enjoy -- again, the D&D quarterback (and receivers!) winning games, the team winning a few playoff games once in a while especially when it is good enough to, winning those playoff games on some consistent basis -- with a true absence of any of the insanely stupid misfortunes -- all coming from a front office that is truly stable, enduring, inspiring, and football smart like all get-out -- when those things start happening then we can know.

Thing is, even as it is, even at its worst, I'll still love my team. I see the nightmare in all its horrific glory, but it'll be just as wonderful when it gets overcome.

That's the beautiful day I look forward to.

End of 3rd quarter. Still 21-10 and within reach. Am I fooling myself, allowing The Curse to yank my chain?

These are still my Chiefs playing their hearts out. Will still believe the glory can happen, always.

Maybe that's starting to happen now. This catch Anthony Fasano just made is the catch of the year. Ay-mayzing. Reaching up, tipping it, falling down, juggling, snapping it out of the air flat on his back. Wow.

And there's a touchdown! Davis, right over our still pretty damn good O-linemen Fisher and Hudson.

Know what else I like -- our D-backs are really starting to blow up that patented Broncos pick-play crap. Sweet. Know what? We've pretty much stuffed them in the 2nd half!

So here we are, three minutes left, down by a touchdown, at midfield, giving it our best. That's cool. Thought it'd be much worse than this. This terribly injury ravaged team still has the players, all Chiefs, all playing like maniacs, very cool, playing like crazy to actually win a game no one thought they'd even be this close to winning. That's very cool.

But, yep, there it is, Smith's pass gets batted down on 4th and goal...

Still...
_

Sunday, September 07, 2014

Titans at Chiefs - Week 1 - Record: 0-1 - ADDENDUM

I simply cannot go another moment without just adding a significant feature to this endeavor's modest rant about the ugliness of this year's Chiefs opener. The original and usually only take is here, and everything there still applies.

But damn.

Here's what I happened to catch after the game. My wife had the Niners game on and, as I've mentioned before, I'm a modest 49ers fan because I grew up in the Bay Area. Still wholly for the Chiefs, but the Niners are okay. (After all they supply us with quarterbacks all the time.)

I'm watching this game, and sure enough there's Colin Kaepernick connecting with Anquan Boldin over and over and over again. He'd done it in previous years, too. Boldin was also a beast with Baltimore, and with Arizona before that.

Now, of course, here's my question.

Where is that guy -- for the Chiefs?

When have we ever been able to have him?

Yes, the only one who was that guy, and granted he was that guy, was Otis Taylor. But ya know?

That's it.

Never ever since Taylor have we had him.

Now I'm not yet getting into what will certainly at some time be The Wide Receiver Project, not yet, but damn.

Don't tell me that Dwayne Bowe is that guy. He wasn't there today, I know, but while he is pretty good, and while I like him a lot -- I do, and a lot of Chiefs fan do too, that's fine -- Bowe is no Anquan Boldin. Boldin has helped his teams win buku playoff games, while Bowe has won -- ahem -- how many?

Here's the next thing I have to write right now, just have to. That other thing I overheard during this Niners broadcast.

The Vikings demolished the Rams today.

Now the Vikings have a decent defense apparently and all that. Okay.

But you know what I thought about. You know...

Matt Cassel.

Sure enough, Cassel was instrumental in helping the Vikings win big, with the help of --

Here's the pay-off... Wait for it...

...

Some wide receiver I'd never heard of before for reasons having to do with him being new or me just being sports celibate and not paying any attention, but because of...

Cordarrelle Patterson.

Amazing game today. Tons of yardage piled up. And yes...

A wide receiver.

So he makes Matt Cassel look really good, and...

Makes me think...

Remember 2012? Remember how awful Cassel was? Welllll, do you know what I'm thinking?...

About how it really, maybe, probably, might be, actually, perhaps

Have been

Our terrible receivers?

Know another major reason we may very well suck this year besides the free agency issue? I can give it to you in two words.

Jonathan Baldwin.

Just looked it up. Didn't know this, just looked it up on the web.

The 49ers cut Baldwin back at the beginning of August. Didn't even wait around. Guess it's good we got A.J. Jenkins for him, but I don't think Jenkins is long for the Chiefs right now.

So yeah. Cordarrelle Patterson - Jonathan Baldwin. Jonathan Baldwin - Cordarrelle Patterson. Wonder which one brings smiles to Matt Cassel and which one... okay...

Ya know, I'm going to say it now. I'm going to say it right now.

I've always spoken highly of Clark Hunt, and I'd like to give John Dorsey the benefit of the doubt for doing his very best to make the best personnel decisions he can. He hasn't been around for long, so we'll see.

But damn, if this team doesn't get some overall organizational stability for a long period of time like a Steelers or a Patriots have had, and if this team does not actually do something to strengthen its long-term draft cohesion by avoiding yawning gaffes like the Baldwin pick and all of our 2009 draft set, then the Chiefs can never truly be considered in the contender class. They just can't.

Yes, we have to let Dorsey have his shot. Yes we have to see if Clark has now learned enough to make sure it's all extraordinarily top notch for years and years to come. I'm very afraid it'll take that long for me to again really say that we've got what it takes, and damn, reasonably so.

It just can't be denied. Today was an ugly, ugly day in our history. Yeah, call me melodramatic, that's cool, I can take it. But I'm afraid there will be lots of time here in the season for me to put together The Wide Receiver Project and we may just find it just as gruesome as The Quarterback Project.
_

And again, just for more ugliness if you dare look, here's my original Chiefs Game Today post for today's game.
_

Titans at Chiefs - Week 1 - Record: 0-1

Well that was an ugly nffgcknk.

It'd be nice for once, ya know? For once it'd be really nice for us to have a dominant team from the start of a season to the end. Just to have things go smoothly, everything running like clockwork, come out of the gate with a comfortable 31-7 win, convince people we were for real on the way to a 12-4 record and -- I know, how ambitious: at least one single playoff win -- at least.

I thought we'd maybe have a shot at that this year. We've got true football studs in people like Eric Berry, Anthony Fasano, Justin Houston, Dontari Poe, Travis Kelce, Knile Davis, and yeah, even Alex Smith though you wouldn't know it from today. Yeah, I'd like to think there are a few others, but well, this was ugly.

Smith had a miserable game and we could go into all the reasons why. Smith himself was subpar, but his offensive line was awful, our receivers were awful, so what do you expect. Jamaal Charles couldn't go anywhere. Our defense was very bendy, a lot because we just have a very weak defensive backfield. And having key injuries to key people like Derrick Johnson and Mike DeVito when you just cannot afford them in any way didn't help.

There are another dozen or so very very ugly nfffkgcknkking things I could paste all over this post, but I just want to mention another thing -- in fact in my opinion it is one of the ugliest things among them all. Yes, injuries and poor behavior that cause suspensions and things are pretty bad, but in my view this here is right up there. I've always thought so, and if you'll indulge me I'm going to light into it again. I know not a whole lot of people agree with me, but let's get right to it.

One of the worst things ever is

Free agency.

Even after the end of our season last year, one that ended in such traumatically ugly fashion, I actually thought we were set for a great year this year. We had depth, we had promise, we had a brand spankin' new front office group to make the best decisions about player stuff, and wow! With free agency (yeah, thought we'd actually benefit from it) we could sign a couple players to fill holes.

Well, the truth is,

Free agency crushed us instead.

And it wasn't just free agency. It was the asinine attempt to solve the crappiness of free agency:

A salary cap.

Again, after very eagerly thinking about who we could get in the free agent market to fill holes, I watched Branden Albert go, Jon Asamoah go, Dexter McCluster go, Tyson Jackson go, and... who else. I know I'm forgetting someone.

The result? A hash of players trying to get together and play together and -- damn, with pro football you desperately need consistency through the years, and when a team has that much disruption, fergetaboudit.

The most telling evidence was what happened with our offensive line today. It was a disaster. Smith couldn't get untracked, Charles didn't go anywhere.

Then there were the salary cap room-makers. First releasing Brandon Flowers, then Ryan Succop. Our defensive backfield today was predictably softer than a marshmallow, and Succop was splendid hitting four straight-down-the-middle field goals today for... the Titans. Meanwhile our new rookie FG kicker boinked two off the upright. One fortunately went in -- guess there's that.

So yeah.

The Curse, a wretched part of it just plain the whole free agency thing, starts very early for us this year.
_

Monday, September 01, 2014

Chiefs Preview 2014 - The 19-0 Team or the 0-16 Team?

When your team loses 57-0, people always say, "Whupp, at least you didn't lose a close heartbreaker." When your team loses 24-23 on a last-second 73-yard hook-and-ladder, they say, "Whupp, at least you were always in the game and didn't get clobbered."

Seems like either one is wretched. Sure enough, if you were to apply that to seasons, the Chiefs got to endure both, consecutively, in 2012 and 2013. Two years ago the team was never in it, blasted away from day one. That was fun. Last year we were extraordinarily competitive for 16 and 3/4 of the games, until that traumatic 4th quarter in Indianapolis. That was just as fun.

So yeah, with apologies to Charles Dickens, it was the worst of years, and, um, it was the worst of years.

So here we have 2014, with hopes high because of that very strong 2013 regular season campaign. But then, our preseason showing this fall was abysmal, and the Chiefs franchise value has dropped from mid-pack to 24th. What's with this? Can we truly gauge the value of this team?

So without further ado, here's the Dave Beck take on the 2014 Chiefs. I do feel they are good enough to be 19-0, I really do. But then, sometimes I look at them and go, ergcck, they'll be 0-16. I'll write it all up side-by-side, covering five different categories.

Management

The 19-0 team.

Clark Hunt has been and still is an extraordinarily devoted owner, very active in the community, deeply interested in the prospects of his team and doing what it takes to get them competitive. Andy Reid is definitely one of the best pre-game arrangers and in-game adjusters there is. And John Dorsey is making bold moves, such as releasing super-Chief Brandon Flowers for the greater good of the whole team. He's brought a sense of stability and enthusiasm back to the front office, something the Chiefs have desperately needed for a long, long time.

The 0-16 team. 

John Dorsey foolishly released their best cover-man, Brandon Flowers, when the defensive backfield is very thin to begin with. And is Andy Reid over-the-hill? Will he overcome his notorious reputation for messing up the last two minutes of every game? I really think The Curse had much more to do with the playoff loss than anything Reid did or didn't do, but when it comes down to it, Reid has to take the hit for not taking care of business when the Chiefs imploded late in that game. Last year when we shot out to a 9-0 record we got a lot of breaks in close games to teams fielding second and third string quarterbacks.

Quarterback

The 19-0 team.

Alex Smith is now inked to a new massively loaded four-year deal, so he's on board for four years of blazing Chiefs glory. I know he can get us there, keep us there, get us to all revel in being there. He's experienced, smart, playing in his prime, and working under the brilliant guidance of quarterback uber-guru Reid. It's nice too that we've got a kid, Aaron Murray, who has the makings of a fine quarterback -- could it be??? A home drafted and developed guy who someday -- psyche! -- can actually win a Chiefs game? Wowwie!

The 0-16 team.

As fine as Smith is, he is still not a Chiefs drafted and developed guy. This woeful Chiefs plague carrying through the eons of history is indeed an essential part of The Curse, it just is. Smith is phenomenally talented, but the question still has to be asked: Will he ever get to the next level and be regularly spoken of in the class of Manning, Brady, Brees?.. And crap, look at that offensive line, rebuilt, unstable... and his receiving corp -- ::whimper:: If Smith has to keep scrambling for first downs no matter how spectacular his runs are, well, Steve Pelluer did that really well -- remember that? -- and, well, how many hundreds of Super Bowls did he lead us to?...

Trenches

The 19-0 team.

Dee Ford is a rookie stud. The little I saw of him in exhibition play -- raw, but fierce. Awesome. Tamba Hali still has some gas in the tank, and Justin Houston is just starting to be very, very good. With Dontari Poe anchoring the middle, I see Broncos and Chargers pockets collapsing like railroad trestles made of balsa wood. And DJ just never gets old, one of the best run-sackers in the league.

On the other side only four offensive linemen in the modern era have ever been picked No. 1 overall, and they all have gobs of Pro Bowls and are Hall-of-Famers and all that (Ron Yary, Jake Long, and Orlando Pace, BTW) That other guy? Eric Fisher, our guy. He's just getting going, and if he's even decent we'll be fine. Rodney Hudson is very good, Jeff Allen is coming around, and Jeff Linkenbach is a fine FA pickup.

The 0-16 team.

Those free agent losses are killers. Losing Branden Albert is crushing, even though my inveterate Chiefs fan uncle says "Good riddance." We've also lost Donald Stephenson for the first four games because of a PED penalty, and while that's only four games, we have to scramble the O-line and try and see where everyone fits and -- szhee, that's always a mess.

On defense, can we cover for the fine run defense of Tyson Jackson? Granted he was no great shakes -- speaking of which, now that Succop's been released, we now have no one on the team from that horrific 2009 draft class. That's very bad. Anyone decent from that class should be coming into their own right now, but -- there's no one. Not a single soul. And that was after a 2008 year when we were 2-14. Are you laughing and weeping at the same time right now?

Specialty

The 19-0 team.

Two words. Jamaal Charles. He's at the top of everyone's fantasy league draft classes, No. 1 pick overall. He should be. We've got terrific depth at running back, with Knile Davis, and Cyrus Gray is pretty good for a No. 3. The Chiefs run offense has never been an issue.

Dwayne Bowe's expressed a measure of renewed commitment, and could be very good in his last few years here as that go-to receiver. (And that one game suspension, not nearly as much of an issue in my mind as the Stephenson one.) Our tight ends are great, hey, Travis Kelce reminds me of Jimmy Graham, and he's not even the starter. De'Anthony Thomas looks like an even studlier scatback than Dexter McCluster.

Our kick return team is incredible -- I didn't even know this but I saw somewhere that our 2013 team set an NFL record last year with a 29-yard per return average. That's really cool. And on defense Eric Berry is one of the best safeties in the NFL.

And yes, can't neglect to mention our punter, Dustin Colquitt, one of the best ever, really. Yeah, he is the punter, but he does regularly pin the opponent deep and that helps the defense tremendously. This year Ray Guy was the first punter elected into the Hall of Fame, and I do remember back in the 70's just hating the way he was so instrumental to the Raiders winning all the time. He really was a factor.

The 0-16 team.

Our receivers. I'm afraid, I'm very afraid. They have shown a little bit in the preseason to give us a little bit of hope, but damn. I've railed and railed and railed about our woeful D&D quarterback misery, but you know? I've recently been thinking about something just as abysmal: our woeful drafted and developed WIDE RECEIVER misery. Not going to share it now, but I went back over all our drafted wide receivers, and you know what I found? Well, as I said, not for now -- not in mixed company. The guys out there this year -- gulp, here they are -- Donnie Avery, A.J. Jenkins, Junior Hemingway, Frankie Hammonds, and Albert Wilson (pictured). The last two were FA grabs who did stand out a bit in preseason, but that may mean nothing.

Just so you know, just so there is no misunderstanding. I expect the very best from them. I'd like the think Alex Smith will go a long way to help make them better. I'd like to think our running game will set up the passing game, as it has always traditionally been. And no matter what, they're Chiefs.

Another factor in averting the 0-16 horror relates to two key elements of Jamaal Charles' game: one, he stays injury-free, and two, he gets used more imaginatively. With our receiving core like it is and our running back situation a shining lamp on a hill, why not use Charles in receiver mode waaay more often?

Intangibles

The 19-0 team.

The Arrowhead fans are back. It is good to see sold-out games again, our people setting the legitimate stadium loudness record (sorry, but the Seattle stadium boombox doesn't count). We've also got a few more primetime television appearances to polish our credentials.

I also like the way the team has worked in comprehensive preparation specifically to beat Denver and San Diego, teams with pocket quarterbacks who really need to be pressured -- ahh Tamba Hali Justin Houston and Dee Ford -- no way Manning and Rivers are going be able to get away with it this year.

And sorry, but an old-AFL team is due, is due for a good sustained run of Super Bowl greatness. The Chiefs are ready to take that mantle.

The 0-16 team.

We have a very tough schedule this year. Look at it. We play the NFC West in our interconference games. While we've been fantastic against the NFC teams of late, the Seahawks Niners Rams Cardinals are all now very good teams. We also have the AFC East, and the Patriots Dolphins Bills Jets always hammer us. Then there's the Horse Curse, meaning if our pass rush isn't beast-above-beast, Manning and Rivers are going to carve us up as they always have. Really, look at all that. That's reasonably 0-12 right there, I'm not kidding you.

Tough schedule? I'm great with that, though. If we're going to make winning mean something, we have to beat the better teams. Let's just get the hell out there and beat them this year with our fine management, coaching, talent, skill, drive, and passion. Wait, that's a 19-0 remark. Sorry.

Thing is, we'll need all that to beat The Curse. That's critical. Should we make the playoffs? We'll need the most beast team to do it, and winning with a blistering schedule may do the trick.

Will we get into the playoffs? This year is looking a bit like 2004 to me -- I hope not. But in 2003 we surprised everyone -- started 9-0 then too -- and stormed into the playoffs. But the following year we were horribly mediocre. 19-0? 0-16? Are we a bit of each and do we finish 9-7 if we try real hard?

Then a playoff game? Can we win at least one, for once?

So what is it?

I'll close with this. In the off-season I caught two brief Chiefs related things on television, you know, NFL Network type airtime fillers. One was a single play that I think pretty much encapsulated the Chiefs in the 70's and much of the 80's. A quarterback with No. 11 took the snap, stumbled, fell down, hopped back up, then threw a duck that was summarily picked off by a Raiders linebacker and run in for a score. I didn't even know who that quarterback was until I looked it up. It was Tony Adams in 1978, just FYI (I mean, I just had to look it up and find out). The point being that I think about what people think about the Chiefs and I wonder if it is really just one big massive plotz, like that play.

On the other far, far end of the spectrum was what I saw in a story I'd never seen or heard about before, the one about Charlie's Bar in Philadelphia. Seems like this is something that is quite the NFL human interest story, and one most would know about, especially if you're a Chiefs fan. Seems Charlie's Bar there in Philadelphia, is a haven for Chiefs fans, yes, the enthusiastic rooting for all things Kansas City Chiefs. 

Seems the bar owner many years ago just up and decided, "I'm going to be a Chiefs fan." And everyone came on board. Crazy thing is, I look upon that with great warmth, but also sadness. Our Chiefs have just not done that much to merit such heartfelt devotion. And yet, that warmth, that these people still find the best in a team that deserves that devotion, no matter how much The Curse has tried valiantly to derail that affection.

There is, as always, great pride the be had about this team.

And of course, there is Leon Sandcastle. I've been meaning to put this here, because it is so much fun. It'll be a fun season, and what better way to kick it off than to share those parts of last season when Sandcastle played so astoundingly. Splendid!

Can't wait for 2014!




Saturday, May 10, 2014

The Quarterback Project, Part ???

As I've shared in this blog a thousand times, I do work very hard to avoid any Chiefs chatter about anything except on game day when the game is actually on. I confess, though, that it gets a bit difficult around draft time. I have been actually pretty resolute in not paying attention to Chiefs draft items, except for seeing somewhere somehow who the Chiefs got with their first pick. Even then I pretty much look at nothing else about any given draft item.

I can't help but put a post up here at this time -- and yeah, I usually do put up at least one related to some draft pick remark each April (and now May) but it is usually just to say how I feel about whatever things I'm usually talking about in game day posts anyway.

Anyway, this time it has been a bit different. I'm not even going to mention who we got first, or second, or whenever because for one, again, I still know nothing about these guys. But I will mention who I found we got in the 5th round, and I was pleasantly surprised with our pick.

It was Aaron Murray, a studly QB from Georgia, about whom I was actually thinking about last year how nice it would be for the Chiefs to get this guy if he came out a year early. For the most part I know far less about college football than I do about the pros, but for some reason this particular QB was touted as a top flight guy. At least that's what I'd heard.

Great! Love it!

Still, why did he drop to No. 163 where we got him? Was it the ACL injury? Was it his being not over 6'2"?

And then there's the Chiefs QB situation, I happened to pick up that contract talks with Alex Smith are stalled. Ergck. Ergck ergck ergckk...

There is just so much emotion in all of this, perhaps too much, yes. But I can't believe there is a genuine Chiefs fan out there who isn't feeling it deeply with all this.

And one of the reasons, yes, has to do with The Quarterback Project. This is indeed my term for all the information about quarterbacks being drafted and developed for success in the NFL with specific attention to the Chiefs place in that -- which is... pretty much non-existent.

A phenomenal piece with lots of gruesome graphics was posted at SB Nation the other day, just before the draft, which puts the essence of The Quarterback Project into neat tidy chart form, which is, still, extraordinarily ugly. Take a peek. It is here. (Warning: viewer discretion is advised.)

From this you can see in bright brilliant colors why the Chiefs are one of the few teams since the merger in 1970 who've never been to the Super Bowl. And not just that, but crazy-ass not-even-close. In fact one of the things that is stunning about that first chart is that it only encompasses the period after 1984. I can almost guarantee you that the time period before that was just as abysmal.

So yeah, we're all wondering, is this it? Is he the guy? Will Aaron Murray finally be a guy who can actually be a -- gulp -- drafted-by-the-Chiefs developed-by-the-Chiefs winner-for-the-Chiefs? I mean, it just seems so preposterous -- no Chiefs fan has ever experienced that. Do you realize that? None! Ever! In the entire history of Kansas City Chiefs football the words "drafted," and "developed," and "quarterback who wins Chiefs games" have ever been put together in the same sentence.

I say this, this stuff about it all being so preposterous, in all seriousness. You'd think that now, finally it just flat-out has to be. That after Smith plays fine for us for next however many years we can get him for, Murray steps in and is -- finally finally glory-be -- the man. Our own man -- valiantly taking us to the promised land! (Yes, I do say all this with that glisten in my eye and goofy smile on my face.)

Of course, there is that utter failure to suspend my disbelief. There's that part of me that thinks of Fuller and Blackledge and Elkins and Blundin and Croyle and on and on and on it goes, just convinced that Odin has already determined centuries upon centuries ago in the halls of Valhalla that this was just never to be for the Chiefs. Never ever, never ever.

I mean. Murray dropped to the 5th round. The fifth round! How many 5th round QB picks ever pan out? Hardly any. Yeah, hardly any, I've checked! It's depressing. Virtually none, really.

But then this is Aaron Murray. Last year when he said he might come out early he was spoken of as maybe, maybe a first overall pick! So what's with that?

Ergghck. I just don't know what to think.

All I can do is just hope, at this point. That's all there is, really. Just hope that we had a good draft this year.

Can't do anything but anything right now.

That's cool.

Just the hope is fine.
_

Friday, January 10, 2014

2013 Season - Chiefs Playoff Hell - Postscript

For the Chiefs Playoff Hell post with the exasperated resignation, that's here.

For the Chiefs Playoff Hell post with the resolute acceptance, that's here.

I'd like to say that I've confidently shifted into full acceptance mode, but I'd be lying. Sure, since Saturday I'm good sometimes, indeed most times, but other times it still doesn't feel so good. Wanted to just share here a bit more, do more of the therapy, the processing, just work through it all. Thanks for joining me in that effort, hope this is meaningful to you in some measure as well.

On my evening walk the other night I was doing what I usually do with my cerebral activity, spending about half of it thinking about the standard stuff -- family, work, home, leisure activities, news items, devotional time -- and the other half thinking about Chiefs things (yeah, sorry, that's just how it is -- I try to make it different, but, well, there ya go).

About two-thirds of the way into my walk my mind wandered into my remarks in a couple of posts recently about how abjectly horrific our record has been for some time against first the Chargers, then the Colts. Then I thought, hmm, there is something indeed these two teams have in common. My mind ventured into very prominent but not so publically displayed logo designs of both teams that feature, yes, you may have figured it out.

Horses.

I then added the other horse team in the mix, the Broncos, and the wheels started turning.

Just for thought...

San Diego. The last time the Chiefs beat the Chargers twice in one season was 2003, and since then we are 5-15 against them. During that period they've beaten us twice in a season five times. Over the last 13 games we've beaten them only twice, the last time largely because Philip Rivers fumbled the snap when they were in game-winning field goal range. Ironically, if you remember, that game was on Halloween night. We've lost the last four in a row to them.

In the last 2008 matchup between the two teams, at Arrowhead, we were ahead 21-10 at the two-minute warning. Sure enough they got two quick touchdowns to win the game 22-21. That game was at the tail end of a very bad season for the Chiefs, who were going nowhere anyway, but still. The two games this year were heartbreaking losses, the first of which cost us our two All-Pro pass rushers which turned out to be for the rest of the season, effectively, and the last of which the Chargers won with the help of a brutally missed penalty on the last play of the game.

The one single playoff game the Chiefs have ever played against the Chargers was the 17-0 disaster that summarily ended our 1992 season.

Denver. The last time the Chiefs beat the Broncos twice in one season was as far back as 2001 if you can believe that. Since then we're 9-17 against them, and during that period they've beaten us twice in a single season four times, including the last two. Just as he did with the Colts, Peyton Manning just lights up the Chiefs with the barest lifting of his pinkie.

The one single playoff game we've had with them was that gargantuously pukifying 14-10 loss from the 1997 season.

Indianapolis. The Chiefs have a 3-13 record overall against the Indianapolis version of the Colts. The first of those three wins was the first we played against them not-Baltimore, in 1985 at Arrowhead with Todd Blackledge the quarterback. The game after that one was a classic way to start the wonderful history of the Chiefs misery against the Colts. It was in 1990 when one more win on the season would've given us the bye and the home game to start the playoffs. We held a comfortable 19-10 lead in the 4th quarter, then the Colts put up 13 to beat us. It was one of the losses in an 11-5 season that forced us to go to Miami for the wild-card game, which we lost 17-16.

The rest of the agony through the years is pretty plain and extraordinarily grisly.

Overall, comprising the totals from the three time periods above (Colts 1990 on, Broncos 2001 on, Chargers 2004 on), the Chiefs are 16-45 against these teams. In 2013 the Chiefs went 11-0 against teams not horse related, and 0-6 against the three horse teams. Through the years the Chiefs have lost all six playoff games they've played against them ('92, '95, '97, '03, '06, '13). The horse teams have a current 11-game winning streak against us.

How many times have there been in NFL history when every time a given team has gone 13-3 in the regular season they've lost their first playoff game? It's happened to the Chiefs three times ('95, '97, '03), I'd bet you they're the only one ever. How many times have there been in NFL history when every time a team has started a season 9-0 and they've lost their first playoff game? It happened to the Chiefs twice ('03, '13) -- honestly I can't see how there has been any other team this has happened to.

And all of those playoff losses?

Every one to a horse team.

Those three teams are now in the divisional round of the playoffs, all three of them, and all three there at the Chiefs' expense in some way or another. And the fourth team? The Patriots. Right now the Broncos and Chargers are getting terrific production from two former New England stalwarts, Wes Welker and Danny Woodhead, respectively. Meanwhile, the Chiefs worked like crazy to model their organization after the Patriots with the likes of Scott Pioli and Romeo Crennel, and, oh, guess you could throw in Matt Cassel too. How's that workin' for the Chiefs?

And, by the way, isn't that a picture of Paul Revere on the Patriots helmet? And warning the colonists that the British were coming, didn't Paul Revere ride around on a...

Horse?

Call it the Horse Curse if you will, there is something going on here.

Of course the next thing I'm thinking about was our horse relationship. What's with that?

The most obvious connection is the one with Warpaint, the name of the horse upon which someone waving a Chiefs flag rides around the field. All I could think about was, is this horse being abused in some way? Is there some PETA member horse lover witch doctor somewhere putting the hex on us? I mean, really. What's going on with this?

It's now widely known and mildly amusing how much Eric Berry fears horses, but this... this... Is there something else happening here?...

Around the beginning of the season I'd seen or heard something, somewhere in which it was said the Chiefs had the look of a Super Bowl team. I didn't go anywhere near it, but I thought about the New York Giants and why this 9-7 team a couple years ago won the Super Bowl. The reason they won was because of three key things they had going for them at that time.

1. An experienced head coach (Tom Coughlin).
2. A resourceful quarterback (Eli Manning).
3. A ferocious pass rushing unit (led by Justin Tuck and Jason Pierre-Paul).

I suddenly got that warm confident feeling inside. The Chiefs had

1. The experienced head coach (Andy Reid).
2. The resourceful quarterback (Alex Smith).
3. The ferocious pass rushing unit (led by Tamba Hali and Justin Houston).

Sweet.

I forgot one thing, however.

The fourth factor in that mix.

The New York Giants: 4. A charm that allows a 9-7 team to get every break they need to run the table.

The Kansas City Chiefs: 4. A curse that prevents an 11-5 team from keeping stupid things from happening to torpedo their playoff hopes.

Errrckhck.

I'm still looking, still thinking, still pondering. Yeah, many will tell me to get over it, stop obsessing so much about it, it's done, it's over, let it go -- all that. I got all that. I'm good. It is more a simple thought experiment anyway. I'm certain The Curse is something much more prosaic, much more related to elements connected with the NFL itself even, and in some ways as insidious as that is, there's not a whole lot I can do about it.

The poor officiating and the small media market elements enter into it. Whaddya do. The inept things the Chiefs have done themselves so many times enter into it. Whaddya do. I really wonder how many close to the Chiefs really know about crap that was, has been, even now is going on however wherever whatever and they know there's little they can do about it.

And what of the Hunt family? There has never been a time when Chiefs fans wonder if there is just something going on there. But I can't for two seconds believe that all the Hunts -- now Clark -- haven't been straight-up spot-on doing their very best for the Chiefs. That Clark went out of his way to clean house and bring in the best -- and succeed in doing so -- is testament to that. A pretty damn good regular season after last year's disappointment definitely says something about that.

In some ways all of it keeps everything ripe for discussion. I see so many who think the Jared Allen trade or the pick of Fuller before Montana are critical reasons to add to the mix, but I don't think so, at all. It seems fewer see the Marv Levy dismissal or the Hank Stram meltdown as what I believe are faaar more crushing to Chiefs success. There have been so many of these.

Yeah, I'd rather there were a lot more playoff wins, thank you. It's time for a few more of those instead.

What makes me especially sad is coming across this photograph. Chiefs fans are so passionate about their team. Yeah all teams' fans are passionate, I know. But no other team has the heartbreak we do. And ours are the loudest. Sorry, but this is proof. We love our team more than anyone else loves their team.

And what we have left to do is hope that John Dorsey is a heads-up guy and will keep getting this team back to respectability (he's already gone miles doing that) and back to that 1960's-style dominance (oh glorious day!) We pick 23rd in the draft, I think I saw somewhere, so we should be able to get a fine new receiver or pass rusher. Dorsey has nothing to do with the whole paranoid Patriots thing, thank goodness, but rather he comes out of the wholesome Packers organization -- so yeah, there's tremendous hope there that he'll assemble the team we need and get it to gel and play so well that no curse can overcome it.

That's the Chiefs takeaway from all this.

The Life takeaway is just that, again, there's a blessing somewhere for someone out of this. God'll see that happen.

I was encouraged by the sunrise the morning after I wrote the acceptance post. I went out to get into my car to go to work, and the sky was lit up in red. I'm not kidding you, it was red. I took a photograph of it, of the dawn of that new day. I'll share it with you here. January 7, 2014.

Richly, deeply, profoundly, vibrantly, joyously red and gold, don't you think?
_

Monday, January 06, 2014

Chiefs at Colts - Wild-Card Playoff Game - Addendum

The last first-season episode of the famously madcap British comedy series Monty Python's Flying Circus was titled, "Intermission," and it opened with morticians holding aloft a coffin from which popped an old man to introduce the show. It ended with the morticians chasing after that man and firing at him with handguns.

One of the more clever sketches featured police officers using magic wands and occult practices to fight crime. It was all very whimsical and humorous, of course, but I can't help but share a couple of very interesting things about it. First, one police officer describes the novel crime fighting techniques while sitting next to a man dressed as a Viking -- yes, just the two of them in shot. The Viking says and does nothing the entire time, which lasts about one minute. While he is speaking, the officer is methodically sticking pins in a small toy figure in a black and white striped shirt, stereotypically much like a voodoo master would do.

In the next scene four police officers are using a homemade Ouija board, wine glass and cards with letters on them placed around the edge of a small table, and as the glass moves it spells out "Up yours." It is very funny actually.

Now here's the thing about this particular episode, which was, predictably, the 13th episode.

It was broadcast on January 11, 1970. Do you know what is significant about that date?

It was the same exact day that Super Bowl IV was played, featuring of all teams, the Minnesota Vikings.

It was also the only time the Chiefs were ever victorious in a Super Bowl.

From that date to the time the playoffs begin next year is a vast, desolate span of 44 years, 11 months, and 23 days. In that time the Chiefs have played in 16 total playoff games, 4th worst in the NFL -- of teams around since the merger only Detroit (11), Arizona (12), and Cleveland (15) have fewer. During this same time period the Chiefs have had a playoff appearances to one-and-outs ratio of 13 to 11, that is, two years ('91 and '93) when the Chiefs have actually won at least one game in the playoffs, and 11 when they've been in but haven't. That's a percentage of .154 years of winning playoff runs to years without. Only Detroit is worse at .100, and it seems to me the Lions already have a pretty well-verified curse themselves.

In fact only four teams since the merger even have ten or more one-and-outs: Miami (10), Kansas City (11), Minnesota (12), and Indianapolis (13). The difference is those other three teams have twenty or more playoff appearances. And just to add one more thought on the Chiefs one-and-out hell, in seven playoff appearances from 2000 to 2008, Andy Reid, then of course with the Eagles, made the playoffs seven times, and had zero one-and-outs (with a total of ten playoff victories in that time span).

My last post was about the viscerally agonizing resignation of The Hell of Chiefs Playoff Anything. Quite understandable for anyone who's endured that Hell for so long. But while the scars will always be quite pronounced, after a while the pain does wear off. This post is a bit different. For those who simply want to look a bit more reasonably at things, this post is one that is about something that is somewhat similar but at the same time light years apart in nature --

Acceptance.

Please don't get me wrong. I believe The Curse is a veritable reality, and for those who dismiss it as superstition bunk, I dismiss them as clueless boobs. They just aren't looking close enough. The thrust about this post is getting at a more sublime approach to the thing, at finding something in it all that reflects its core meaning. Not pusillanimously embracing it with some insipid faux-affinity in a feeble attempt to deny its brutality, but rather wisely and graciously coming to terms with it.

Make no mistake. This game was the ugliest, cruelest, grisliest bitch of them all. I know that is hard to do. How can anything be worse than the 1971 Christmas day game? The 1997 Broncos and their Vaseline-covered jerseys game? The 2003 Colts torment, or any Colts torment? I mean there are so many to choose from! How in a world, where there must be some miniscule drops of humanity in the veins of a raging Odin, could it get worse than what we've had to endure so far?

I really don't think any Chiefs fan could refuse to confidently say this one was the absolute worst of them all.

This was just like all the nightmares, really, each and every one of them through the years harrowing nightmares no one would wish on their worst enemy. What makes them so incredibly wrenching is that they feature just the right combination of things to make them such. Any one of these things not happening and we've got a win. You'd think, a Chiefs playoff win. Ahhh...

Here are just some of them from this game that provide ample proof. These are just the ones I know about. I can't even imagine the handful of others in the mix you may know about. (Yeah, I know, in case you were wondering, I'm in a bit better state emotionally today, a bit easier to go deep into the Hell without cracking. Thanks for your concern. I'll, I'll be okay, thanks.)

- How did we get so pounded with injuries in such a short period of time? In fact, what's the deal with this -- how many playoff teams have had their No. 1 key player go down with a concussion directly resulting in a catastrophic drop in play because of their absence? In '93 it was Joe Montana, and Saturday it was Jamaal Charles. Yes we continued to play great without him, but he still wasn't there to help us run clock when we needed it in the end. What?

- How come after the Charles injury, it just wasn't enough of a drop required to fully pulverize us? There were, what, five other injuries that really did us in, some of them also scary concussions. One wasn't enough, there needed to be more? Even beyond this, regarding just life and quality of life, what about the impact on these guys' personal lives irrespective of anything football or winning or Chiefs? Whaaat?

- How could an offensive line that was playing so phenomenally well throughout the game suddenly play so poorly that they couldn't protect Alex Smith at the most crucial times he needed it (sack and fumble, intentional grounding penalty -- those were especially costly), much less just get our running game untracked to run clock late -- even if it is with Cyrus Gray? Whaaaaaat?

- How could Smith miss a wide open Gray streaking for a certain game-clinching touchdown when his passing was so extraordinarily pinpoint for the entire game? I've heard it'd have been different if it'd been a quicker Jamaal Charles out there, but come on. Wide open? Gray is that much slower? Whaaaaaaaaat?

- How come one of the most proficient sideline receivers ever in NFL history could not get both his feet in bounds for the key catch that would've set up the game-winning field goal? Of course their defensive player can barely stay in bounds when wildly scrambling after Smith's fumble, but our receiver can't on a play carefully designed with the use of our last timeout against their least talented cover men. Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat?

- Where in the world was our vaunted pass rush, missing again against Indianapolis for a second time in three weeks? Where was Eric Berry or any surprise pressure on the quarterback? Where was all the defensive depth that was so splendidly showcased in San Diego just the week before? And if we were so tired, what happened to their defense that got them to be so beast against us? Why weren't they tired? We didn't have all three-and-outs in the 2nd half, and their offense had quick drives that lasted about two minutes. Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat?

- How can eleven lean quick 200+ pound dudes all at the same time have the most massive brain fart on in the history of planet earth right when the opponent's guy fumbles at the line of scrimmage two yards away from your own end zone? Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat?

- How come even without Brandon Flowers in there, our D-backs so loosely let their receivers get so wide open over and over and over and over and over again, while the very few times we just needed to just get just a couple of key 1st downs their D-backs suddenly became an entire race of Supermen? What 4.29 x 10 to the 53rd power?

- How many times have the Chiefs given up 35 points in a half, at any time in their history? How many times does any team give up 35 points in a half in the any postseason game? How many times has it happened when a team is ahead by 28 points get only six more but give up 35, just enough to lose the game by one point? Remember for the first nine games of this season we gave up no more than 17 points in each game. Sure we ourselves uncharacteristically put up a 31-spot in the first half, but since when does that mean they have to better it in the second, in that one particular half? And all of this in the one game when our kicker was actually making all of his field goals?!

What? INFINITY

Joe Posnanski is a great sportswriter who's been intimate with Kansas City sports stuff for quite some time, added his take. I'll share it with you, it's here. It's really nothing different than all the stuff we already know. It's good for commiseration, yet again, good for therapy -- all of this is. And you know, this link was on NBC's news site, not its sports page site, but its news site, right there on the home page. I never look at the sports stuff anywhere, in the newspaper, on the web, unless it crosses my eyes by accident or I'm looking for something historical or factual to help with my takes.

I'm with Posnanski about how gruesome it all is, but I don't blame anyone, really. How Andy Reid may have misused timeouts or mismanaged the end of the game, ehh. Sorry but he's being played by The Curse. Sure he's shown he's not the best two-minute game manager, but in some respects none of that was really in play here. And if Reid's weakness in this particular area was a factor, how come it was so amplified? For the very same reason all the Chiefs weaknesses are amplified beyond belief in playoff games. Why? Yepp, you got it.

I mean, don't the teams we play have any weaknesses? They do, but you'd never know it in any of the playoff games we play. It's like magic: Their strengths suddenly become quadrupled, while our strengths just somehow evaporate. When trying to exploit their weaknesses no matter how bold and incisive and courageous we are, something tremendously stupid happens to bail them out.

None of this is lost on any Chiefs fan who's refused to avert his or her eyes.

So then, let's get right to it. After the agony, after the exasperated resignation, what's with this thing acceptance? What's with that?

For one, that Monty Python thing? Just a coincidence. But it is, indeed, a very creepy coincidence. Those guys using the Ouija board and hearing "Up yours." Wow. Who's been hammering the Chiefs with "Up yours" for those 44 years now? And what's with the Viking sitting there, for no apparent reason, next to the police officer who's putting pins in the doll? The morticians, the old dead guy -- that's a picture of The Hell of Chiefs Playoff Anything right there. Yes, just an odd, mildly intriguing coincidence, but still, crazy...

Also note that I am not in any way one who thinks God picks the team with the most moral rectitude and somehow favors them, adjusting outcomes accordingly. Who will win a football game between a team of the most wretchedly evil 220-pound prison gang members and a team of the most righteously pious ten year-old choir girls?

With that in mind I am, however, convinced that somewhere, somehow, someone with a great deal of hatred against Kansas City, against the Chiefs, against Arrowhead Stadium, against something related to our Chiefs has got something going that's just plain flat-out obliterating us. Whether or not it is deserved -- One of H.L. Hunt's distraught wives? Some investor really upset with the silver buying fiasco? The most decorated witch doctor on the planet who happens to be a Vikings fan? -- I mean, I just don't know. I am certain it is much more sinister and obscure than we may ever know. The one thing that is for sure is that there is such a heavy atmosphere of defeat hanging over every Chiefs playoff effort you just cannot miss it. Think about Saturday's game, just think about it. I mean -- daaaamnn.

Yeah, I do spend far too much time trying to figure it out. How, where, why, when, how -- What is the deal with what is happening to our team?... Yes, I do know that we should just simply be playing better football than the other team until the clock says 0:00. To attribute all of this to supernatural forces does kind of take away from what winning football games is all about. We want to hail a team that did the job and won the game and deserved the accolades and earned the rewards and yaaay us! I fully understand that. Furthermore bad things do happen to every team, all the time, really, let's face it, every year 11 of 12 playoff teams go home, often very miserably. I got that.

But the Chiefs. And their playoffs -- there's just something very different. I still can't help but think...

Sure our past failures could certainly relate to Lamar Hunt's inadequacies as an manager (not to say he was terrible at it or he wasn't fully devoted to his team, by any means) or to the nasty things that have happened to the Chiefs organization through the years, from simple administrative ineptitudes to the awful rash of tragic deaths that have plagued the Kansas City Chiefs through the years (including I believe Lamar Hunt himself, dying at 74 -- yeah a bit old, but still too early). I don't think those things in whatever measure are not critical factors in all of this. But I can't deny that these are simply part of the evidences of this curse thing. I just can't.

Oh but Dave, isn't this just a game, really just a modest form of entertainment? Yes, I know that. But that is in many ways beside the point. The Chiefs are a healthy catalyzing force for those of us who enjoy rallying behind fine individuals working industriously together as a team to accomplish something great in the field of athletics in order to provide a deep sense of civic pride and a vibrant forum for community identification. The Chiefs are about belonging, believing, connecting, crusading, interacting, just wanting the very best for those with whom you've made some meaningful relationship -- all good wonderful things, very normal things people must do to fulfill their social needs. This is the way it is for every team and their fans.

Oh my, Dave, please, aren't there other things far more important? Yes, I know that too. I'd say pretty much every person has some sense of taking care of family, doing their jobs well, being kind and gracious to others, giving some of the fruit of their labor to help the less fortunate, even acknowledging what happens to a child with cancer is extremely important. Yes. But these things don't obviate the healthy gratification people get from cheering on their team. There is a place for this and it isn't insignificant.

One of those factors has to do with the profound purpose of professional sports team athletics: It provides a way for people to be richly in the mix of great accomplishment. Often those things we consider far more important -- doing our jobs, caring for others, all that -- are in many ways quite nebulous, undefined, difficult to process. Sports makes it easy: We can see the results of hard work and teamwork quite plainly, clearly, intensely. This makes it so enthralling, as well as addicting -- something I've attested to in my own life, I confess.

And I confess, in light of all this, I couldn't stop feeling it after Saturday. Not again, not again not again not again -- I couldn't help it.

This was until a number of things started to happen to get me to much more of a place of acceptance.

I have to tell you, if you don't know already, that I'm a follower of Christ. He does inform everything I think and believe, and yes, feel. Yes, feelings are often horrifically painful (anyone for reliving Saturday?) But in my devotional moments soon afterwards I came across some Scripture that told me that in Christ I have all things. To wallow in the thought that I am somehow deficient spiritually is to deny what Christ has done for us and given us. Sure I can be emotionally shredded by Chiefs playoff madness, but then God said that's what happens -- life happens.

I've had to get back, get deep into the first part of the letter to the Ephesians, with words that assure me about all the extraordinary things God has given us. I'm always praying now as King David did, that in light of all this He'd "show us His goodness in the land of the living."

Finally, He asks me to "consider it a joy" whenever we face trials. That's a key one. That's one that seemed to shout at me from the things I'd been seeing around me, almost as if God was speaking quite firmly to me. This got me to think that whatever The Curse is, God is allowing it. I mean, really, if we presume with great reasonableness that God has everything in His hands, then, ahem, The Curse is as well. No, He didn't start it, make it, have it -- none of that. But He certainly lets it go.

And He does so to make it a blessing.

I know that sounds insane, I'm good with that. You can think that, that's cool, I understand. But I firmly believe that what happened, what has happened with the Kansas City Chiefs for years and years and years and years is ultimately designed to be a good thing somehow someway somewhere.

In a sense, we are blessed to be Chiefs fans because God will do something great out of anything that happens to them, even if it is a "momentary light affliction."

This is why after a hideous debacle that should make anyone turn away from the Chiefs, I will still cheer them on as enthusiastically as ever. This is why they could have 57 more such gruesome affairs and I'll know. I'll know that somehow, someway, God is turning it into something profoundly meaningful for His Kingdom.

That's the acceptance.

And the Chiefs team itself?

Still smarting from the sting of Saturday, something happened in my soul today, I can't explain it, but suddenly I just felt a lot better about our team. I thought about something I saw or heard a Chiefs player, coach, I'm not sure but I think it was Andy Reid, something he said. Just that he and the team are committed to excellence no matter what, that they'll move forward with eager dedication to be the very best.

I know every team can say that, and they always do, but there was just something about it this time. Combined with the thought that all this may just be part of making them not only better players but stronger men, it really engendered something good deep inside my heart, right smack in the middle of the still swirling pain.

Yes, I find myself still always praying, "May I consider it a joy..." "May we see the good..." "May I rejoice in being included with Christ..." I've also already been blessed by some pretty awesome talking-it-all-out with fellow Chiefs fans, that's pretty invaluable too. We've got to do that. It's not just about the Chiefs but about rich fellowship with one another. That's a very great thing. This is not even to mention the astounding blessings that will come, for whoever, may not even be me. Some I will never even really know about but are very real just the same.

This is the essence of the acceptance factor.

The Curse doesn't even know what it's in for.

If you read the passage in James' letter, by the way, about considering it joy when you encounter trials, the results are two pretty damn great things, endurance and wisdom.

God is answering. He is giving, providing, sowing, speaking. He always does, no matter what. No matter what insanity happens. There'll always be a dawn, yes...

No matter how many one-and-outs there are, for whatever reason.

For whatever awesome blessing that is.
_

Saturday, January 04, 2014

Chiefs at Colts - Wild-Card Playoff Game

I imagine introductions are in order.

Andy Reid, please meet The Curse. Curse, Andy Reid.

Annnd Alex Smith, Curse. Curse, Alex Smith.

John Dorsey, step up here -- John Dorsey, The Curse. Curse, John Dorsey.

Clark Hunt -- oh, wait, I believe you two have already met. Fine.

Oh, and the rest of the world happening to peek in on this, this Chiefs fan-thing, please, may I.

Now that we're all acquainted, let's get down to business.

This is the eighth straight playoff loss in a row for the Chiefs, an extension of the NFL record for consecutive post-season losses ever already held by, yes, the Chiefs. This is the seventh straight one-and-out we've had, the 11th in 13 postseason appearances since the merger. The Colts have now beaten us in 13 of the last 15 games we've played them, and sure enough, The Charm that covers them was on today, full-blast.

In my previous blog post, when I previewed this game, I predicted that without The Curse we'd win 34-10.  But with The Curse we'd lose 15-14. Go ahead and look it up. I'll wait. I didn't change a thing in that blog post. Seems like Odin was asleep for the entire 1st half and some of the 2nd. When he woke up his wrath about his brief carelessness was so fierce that he did this to the Chiefs. And for those who didn't quite catch it, we were ahead 38-10 in the middle of the 3rd quarter, and lost 45-44.

I could regale you with every stupid thing that happened to the Chiefs in that quarter-and-a-half. That fumble by Donald Brown? Only to be recovered by Andrew Luck around a sea of Chiefs and leapt in for a touchdown? That says it all. I mean, that one play has got to shoot right into the, say, top five of the interminably long list of contemptibly stupid things that happen in every Chiefs playoff game there is.

All I can say is this is hell, really. I really feel like I'm in the worst kind of hell there is, right now. Jesus said there'd be weeping and gnashing of teeth in hell. For Chiefs fans there is certainly a lot of that, all the time in January. Right now it is particularly excruciating. This must have a title, yes. The Hell of Chiefs Playoff Anything. That's it. With all that the Chiefs had going for them, before the game as far as matchups go, as far as quality of talent goes, and for what they did in the 1st half and then some, there is no way what happened today could happen in a normal, reasonable world -- this is truly some kind of special hell for the Chiefs and their fans. Truly.

And what about the hell that was all the injuries our team suffered today. Our players were hammered, physically, by that bastard today. Damn, what is it with this? This just goes beyond even the whole whether-we-win-or-lose element.

Yeah, I'm too passionate about this team, and too crushed by a curse that is too real and about which Chiefs fans feel too impotent to do anything about. There is that thing inside me that does think we should be proud of a team that did so well after doing so terrible last year. That we'll learn from this, get better, and come out firing next year. These are very good things to think.

But I also know that unless something happens to end The Curse so we may finally get out of The Hell of Chiefs Playoff Anything, and yes, something supernatural, we'll just be wallowing here forever. After today there's nothing that really gets me thinking it'll ever be anything different.

For now, just some links and a couple last thoughts. If you want to get intimate with the brutality of The Curse, just look at my last post. Here's the link to it again. Oh, and by the way, I found out something else to add that, well, I just didn't know about before. With all that stuff about the weather being so cold this weekend, how it could affect playoff games, I happened to see a list of the coldest games in NFL history. No. 1 was the Dallas-Green Bay "Ice Bowl." Everyone knows that. No. 2 was the San Diego-Cincinnati game in 1982. Some know about that. Do you know what No. 3 was? That game in 1996 at Arrowhead between the Colts and Chiefs. Yeah, uh-huh, another head impaled on another stake of The Curse.

For some of the very standard exasperation experienced being in The Hell of Chiefs Playoff Anything, here's the blog post I put up after our loss to the Ravens in 2010. You'll get the idea of how this all feels. Why repeat it all again here.

I also have to direct you to this piece, if you haven't seen it yet, appearing just yesterday, written by a guy I'm not familiar with but who I believe writes about Kansas City sports kinds of things. I have not actually even read it yet, but will. Soon I will, as part of the commiseration, part of the processing, part of the therapy. I haven't even read it but I already know so well what it is about.

One of the first songs that came on the radio after having to endure the agony of listening to the closing minutes of the game (remember, I was driving home from paintballing for my nephew's birthday) was "Heartbreaker" by the Rolling Stones. No, you can't make this up. A bit later was Bruce Hornsby's "That's Just the Way It Is," and if you know the song the follow up line to that is, "Some things will never change."

I write the word ::Sigh:: countless times in this blog. That sentiment is plastering the insides of my soul right now, as it is for every Chiefs fan out there. But yeah, there are some Chiefs fans who'll continue to stand by their team. I'll stand with them, still. The Chiefs could lose the next 57 playoff games, and I'll still be their fan.

Maybe the whole point to all this is when The Curse does end, it'll just be that much sweeter.

I'd like to add one last thing, just one more. I've made a commitment to dwell on a few other pretty damn great sportsy kinds of things that've happened relatively recently, just to get a nice, small, refreshing breath of air sticking my head out from The Hell every once in a while. Hey, one Kansas City football team are World Champions, Sporting KC, the fine professional soccer team, there's that. My major league baseball team, the San Francisco Giants, recently captured two championships in somewhat short succession, and hey, that was after years and years of Baseball Hell for Giants Anything.

And my son's high school football team went undefeated in their season this year, triumphing proudly in their league after they'd spent years playing very below average football.

There'll be some day when the Chiefs will triumph. There will.
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