ourcSo where will the Chiefs go from here with the Wildcat? Is it bluff, or not?
My bet is bluff. First and foremost, if Haley and offensive coordinator Charlie Weis saw the Wildcat with McCluster as a big part of their offensive package in 2010 they would have never shown it during a practice where the media was able to watch. There are plenty of OTA sessions this spring where the Chiefs work without the prying eyes of the scribblers, yakkers and hairdos. Let’s remember the Parcellsian background of both the head coach and coordinator; for them to expose those plays in that practice wasn’t just an accident.
Second, the Wildcat is the most over-rated offensive innovation to come down the NFL pike in some time. The key for any offense to make these plays work is the element of surprise. Ask Mike Vrabel. He was on the field in Foxboro on September 21, 2008 at outside linebacker for the Patriots when they played Miami. The Dolphins did not invent the Wildcat, but they were the first NFL team to spring it on an opponent in a planned attack.
For a story in the current issue of ESPN The Magazine, Kansas City Chiefs WR Dwayne Bowe claimed that a few years ago the K.C. veterans would fly in girls for the young guys during road trips, an act otherwise known as “importing.” News flash: Flying women into cities when you’re on the road isn’t big news for pro athletes. Jose Canseco wrote about it in “Juiced.” And it still goes on. But in my experience, it’s a little different in the major leagues than the way Bowe makes it sound in the NFL. First, I’ve never seen any sort of ringleader for this stuff, a guy who takes charge and arranges the whole thing. And I’ve never really heard of importing groupies by the truckload, especially girls whom the guys haven’t met before. Generally, baseball players fly in women they actually like and want to have fun with, people they know. Who would want to be stuck with a stranger for a few days, anyway?
I hope that the Super Bowl in New York is a gigantic success and the NFL is willing to take the game to other great football cities with cold weather. Whether or not they are willing to expose the fans to the elements … well, that’s the NFL’s decision. But as far as the players go, yeah, I say you should make them play. I’d be all for a game in Denver, in Chicago, in Philadelphia, in Kansas City.
You might remember that for a long, long time no dome team had ever won a Super Bowl — the Rams were the first in 1999, and since then the Colts (2006) and Saints (last year) have followed. Anyway, no dome team won for a long time and I remember asking Kansas City Chiefs owner Lamar Hunt why that was. And he said: “Because sooner or later, you have to come out and play.” I’ve always loved that line, but lately it hasn’t really been accurate. In the last few years, you could win a Super Bowl without ever really facing the elements. That’s a part of life now, a part of the game, and I get that. There are more domes now than ever. There are more warm-weather cities now than ever. Pro football has created its own bit of global warming.