Where’s The Bar?

This pick pretty well sums up the game. Source: AP/Denis Poroy

After watching the Kansas City Chiefs take a 31-0 beat down at the hands of the San Diego Chargers many of you may have needed to head to the bar to drown your sorrows.

Unfortunately, I’m not talking about that kind of bar.

I’m talking about where you have set “the bar” for the Chiefs?

Were your expectations met once the team made a clear step forward from last year?

If your original expectations were met, do you set new ones or just sit back and enjoy any further success this season as a bonus?

If you reset the bar as the team has improved, how high is it now?

Is the expectation now that they can go toe to toe with the NFL’s elite?

When will Todd Haley get a hair cut?

Am I the only one that sits around all day thinking about these things?

I’ll try and work out some of the answers to these questions (except maybe the hair cut) after the jump.

If you’re hoping I’ll have some brilliant words of wisdom that will make the shellacking the Chiefs took on Sunday seem not quite so bad, sorry, I’ve got nothing.

Well, maybe not nothing.

How about this? The San Diego Chargers are a more talented team then we are and there wasn’t anything the Chiefs could do to beat them in their house if they brought their “A game”.

Feel better now?

Hang with me here. I’m not saying that the Chargers are a better team. I’m saying they’re more talented. There is a difference. This year’s Chargers team has a higher upside then the Chiefs. The Chiefs have just done more with the talent they have. I don’t know if that’s due to coaching, the character of the players on the team, luck, or all of the above. However, when the Chargers fire on all cylinders they are currently better. That doesn’t mean the Chiefs should feel guilty about leading the division. The Chargers dropped the ball early in the season and the Chiefs didn’t. Now let’s see if the Chiefs can do the same thing down the stretch. If they can beat the three teams left on their schedule, all with losing records, they will win the division and they will have earned it.

The best part is that we aren’t looking at the finished product yet. Scott Pioli isn’t sitting back in his office with his feet up on his desk thinking “Mission accomplished! What now?” If the Chiefs can maintain their hard work and continue to not drop the ball against teams they should beat while upgrading the talent level, the sky’s the limit.

Now back to some of those questions.

Have the Chiefs already met “the bar” I set for this season? Yes. I thought the Chiefs had a chance to finish between 7-9 and 9-7. With 8 wins already in tow, they have met that mark. This year is a big step forward and a success.

So does the bar need reset? Kind of. What I mean is 8 wins would be a success coming off a 4 win season. However, ending the year with 4 straight loses would not be okay. It would really end the year on a bad note and leave the team and fans questioning how good the team was. Going 1-3 down the stretch would be a little better, but still a downer.

Here’s where some of you may disagree with me. If we win 2 of the last 3 games down the stretch and get to 10 wins, this year is a 100% success. Even if the Chargers win out and beat us in a tie breaker. The fact that we would have matched the win total of the previous three seasons combined speaks for itself.

Some of you may see this as a “loser’s mentality”. The fact that we had a 2 game lead with 4 to play means we should win the division, no excuses. I see that point, I do. However, when I step back and look at where we were a year ago, I can’t bring myself to say “If the Chiefs don’t win 11 games this season and win the division they blew it!”

Think about how ridiculous that would have sounded just a couple months ago.

Now don’t get me wrong, I WANT the playoffs. I will be decked out in my #7 jersey, screaming at the TV, cheering my team on each and every week. When I look at each of the last three games on their own I think the Chiefs should win. If we drop a game it’s going to tear me up inside.

I’m an optimistic guy. I was literally labeled the “Kool Aid Man” at my previous blogging home. However, even I can’t sit here and say the Chiefs are in the same league as the Patriots or Steelers yet. I do think we’re headed in that direction and even a 31-0 thumping doesn’t change my mind.

So cheer on our boys as they head down the home stretch. Don’t be happy with sloppy play. Don’t make excuses for the team if they aren’t playing well. At the same time, don’t lose perspective on how far we’ve come. Don’t forget to stop and enjoy the fact that we are headed into the last three games of the year and we are fighting it out to win the division. That’s pretty cool.

Win or lose the division, the bar will be set a lot higher going into next season then it was this year. That, in and of itself, is a sign that we are trending in the right direction.

Thanks for reading and GO CHIEFS!!!

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