The Morning Fix: AFC West Champions Edition

It wasn’t a dream. The Kansas City Chiefs are the AFC West Champions!

Let’s see how the nation is reacting. Here is your Morning Fix!

Clinched on Sunday:

* Baltimore Ravens (via win vs Cleveland Browns)

* Kansas City Chiefs, AFC West champs (via win vs. Tennessee Titans and loss by San Diego Chargers)

* New York Jets (lost to Chicago Bears, but in via loss by Jacksonville Jaguars)

* Philadelphia Eagles (via loss by Giants)

“It’s a huge accomplishment,” said quarterback Matt Cassel, who threw three touchdown passes in the first half against the Titans.

“It’s a huge turnaround for us, being 4-12 and going through the year we did last year. I know there’s a ton of adversity and all those things were very difficult to handle at times. But to be here with 10 wins on our season and one win away from a division championship — I mean, it’s remarkable to say the least.”

“That’s my time to have a little family time and I actually got to see a couple plays, but the kids are going crazy,” Kansas City coach Todd Haley said about his whereabouts during the Bengals’ upset win in quotes distributed by the Chiefs. “My wife’s sister came into town with our niece and so everybody was kind of going crazy around the house. When my phone started ringing I knew good things were happening.”
During the last eight seasons (since there have been eight divisions), there have been 15 times when a team went from last (or tied for last) in their division to first (or tied for first) the following year. St. Louis (last in 2009) could also win their division in 2010.
The Chiefs are an extremely young team on both sides of the ball, too. This could be the first of three or four division titles within the next five years. With Scott Pioli at the helm, even more talent will be brought into the system over the next five years.

This is a team that could win the Super Bowl in the next three seasons.

“You definitely have to dream it before you can make it true,” said linebacker Derrick Johnson, one of several Chiefs who survived the hard times. “Things are coming to reality right now.”
There are details to work out, like whether the Chiefs will be the AFC’s third or fourth seed, whether they’ll play the Jets or Ravens or Steelers, on a Saturday or Sunday, but for at least the next 12 days Kansas City is an active participant in sports’ biggest show.
Coach just made the decision that we had to fix a few things on the sidelines, so he brought me off,” Cassel said. “He wanted to talk about a few specific things for when I went back in, and we did.”
Jackson County taxpayers will get first crack at 10 a.m. for tickets to an AFC first-round game to be played either Jan. 8 or Jan. 9 at Arrowhead Stadium. The sale to the general public will begin at 5 p.m.
“The pressure from the defensive line kind of forced the throw, and right after they got the pressure, they just turned around and started blocking,” Berry said. “They turned into the greatest blockers I’ve ever seen. I just followed them. … I dove into the end zone, and I couldn’t really do anything because my teammates were so happy, I just celebrated with them.
“We did some things we’ve got to clean up and we’ve got to understand they can hurt us in different situations than (Sunday),” Haley said. “We’ll handle that.”
The Jets will be one wild-card team, and the Ravens or Steelers will be the other. So the Chiefs will play one of those teams in the first round.

The scenarios are many, but the Chiefs’ first-round opponent if they beat the Raiders is likely to be New York. The Jets are 10-5 and would be the sixth seed if both Baltimore and Pittsburgh win or New York loses next week.

The Chiefs would probably play Pittsburgh or Baltimore if they fall to the fourth seed.

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