XLVI Reasons

Four weeks after the Kansas City Chiefs played their last game, the 2010 NFL season is finally, officially over. Super Bowl XLV* has come and gone, and though it wasn’t mentioned during the broadcast, you probably, at one point or another, noticed that the Chiefs weren’t in it.

*As a friend tweeted Sunday night, “Why not just VL?”

But so what? Yesterday formally marked the first day of the 2011 campaign. Bodog.com has already set the opening odds, and the Chiefs are a 35-to-one shot to get to Super Bowl XLVI and win it all. Not quite as sure a bet as, say, the Packers (seven-to-one) or Patriots (15-to-two), but to quote the distinguished Canadian-American actor Jim Carrey as Lloyd Christmas in Dumb and Dumber: “So…you’re tellin’ me there’s a chance!”

With that in mind, I thought it might be fun to see just how optimistic I could be (while testing my knowledge of Roman numerals). So, without further ado and in no particular order, here are XLVI reasons why next year could be the year…

I. The Chiefs are the defending AFC West Champions. That has to count for something.

II. Tough out-of-division schedule or not, the Chiefs still only have to win their division.

III. Scott Pioli is NFL Executive of the Year. That has to count for something, too.

IV. Todd Haley calling his own plays could be a good thing. See: Mike McCarthy.

V. Dwayne Bowe broke the team records for most touchdown receptions and most games with a touchdown reception—and that was after it took him four lackluster games just to warm up.

VI. The defense—is there any way this group, already better than expected in 2010, doesn’t continue to improve in 2011?

VII. Matt Cassel. He played in the Pro Bowl. He did.

VIII. Cassel already has his appendix out.

IX. The NFL’s top rushing attack (plus Thomas Jones).

X. The Chiefs, sooner or later, will resign AFC sack leader Tamba Hali.

XI. In 2011, Hali will be playing with at least one if not both of his arms actually attached to his body.

XII. A brutal schedule—including six 2010 playoff teams—could make for a few tough losses, but also some team-building, quality wins. A tested team will be ready for the playoffs, no matter how they get in. See: Green Bay Packers.

XIII. Why not?? (I find your lack of faith disturbing.)

XIV. Hey, if the Black Eyed Peas can play like that and still go to a Super Bowl…

XV. Special teams: The smallest improvement will make the biggest difference.

XVI. After years of watching other teams make the trip to winter havens like Pasadena, Miami, and San Diego, it just makes sense that the Chiefs will finally go all the way…to Indianapolis.

XVII. The Chiefs will address at least one or two of their crucial needs. Imagine the result.

XVIII. Chiefs Will.*

*Get it? It’s a noun AND/OR a verb! Well, technically, an adjective-modifying-a-noun and/or a noun-verb fragment…but it beats the 2001 Royals’ slogan, “You Gotta Love These Guys!” (Sigh. Yes…yes, we do. Thanks for the reminder.)

XIX. If a lockout wipes away the free agency period, then no other team can improve either!

XX. Al Davis—just voted Most Disliked Sports Figure in America—is always good for motivation and for keeping the Raiders from reaching their potential.

XXI. The 21st pick in the NFL Draft—assuming there is a draft—is still a good opportunity to fill a critical position.

XXII. Brutal as it is, the Chiefs’ schedule does not include a national anthem appearance by Christina Aguilera. (Perhaps she’s seen this.)

XXIII. Many of the Steelers may be suspended by the time the Chiefs have to face them.

XXIV. Chicken spiedini.

XXV. Jamaal Charles.

XXVI. In 2003, after finishing 8-8 the year before, the Chiefs started 9-0 in their coach’s third year. Incidentally, the Royals had also started 9-0 in 2003, marking the first time ever that two major sports teams in the same city had both started 9-0 in the same calendar year—a phenomenon that apparently wasn’t impressive enough to warrant a response from Sports Illustrated when I emailed them about it for their “Go Figure” column. Wait—where were we? Oh, right: anything’s possible.

XXVII. Jamaal Charles.*

*Not a repeat: We will see more of him.

XXVIII. The Chiefs will be even more comfortable in that “new” stadium of theirs.

XXIX. K.C. Wolf.

XXX. Warpaint.

XXXI. A chance to “home school” Tim Tebow at Arrowhead.

XXXII. Kevin Harlan is waiting to broadcast Super Bowl XLVI on the radio. It’ll be like 1994 all over again. “Oh, baby! What a play!”

XXXIII and XXXIV. Shaun Smith.

XXXV. Higher hopes + guarded expectations = perfect environment for a championship run.

XXXVI. Derrick Johnson will fully emerge. Watch.

XXXVII. Jared Allen will be back at Arrowhead (to see what he’s missing).

XXXVIII. Tony G? No, Tony M.

XXXIX. Norval Eugene Turner’s best seasons are behind him.

XL. Now that Paul the Octopus is dead, it’s up to the manatees.

XLI. Ryan Succop was picked absolutely last in the NFL Draft, and seven months later kicked an overtime field goal to beat the defending NFL champs. I think we can do this.

XLII. The Green Bay Packers won the Super Bowl, but can they win at Arrowhead? (Since 1979, the Chiefs are 6-2 at home against defending Super Bowl champs.)

XLIII. Jason Whitlock isn’t predicting the Chiefs to go all the way.

XLIV. Jamaal Charles.

XLV. So the Lombardi Trophy is back in Green Bay? The Hunt Trophy belongs in Kansas City.

XLVI. Because, after XLII years…it’s time.

What do you think? Give hope a chance. I’m sure you all can come up with at least X or XV more…

Topics: AFC West News, Arrowhead Addict, Arrowhead Stadium, Chiefs, Denver Broncos, Derrick Johnson, Dwayne Bowe, Jamaal Charles, Jared Allen, Jason Whitlock, Kansas City Chiefs, Matt Cassel, NFL Draft, NFL News, Oakland Raiders, Patriots, Pittsburgh Steelers, San Diego Chargers, Scott Pioli, Tamba Hali, Thomas Jones, Tony Gonzalez, Tony Moeaki

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