Here we are, Kansas City Chiefs fans, at what is supposed to be the midpoint between the end of last season and the beginning of the next. I am falling into my usual mid-offseason crisis—however, this time there’s no guarantee of recovery. There may still be faint light at the end of the tunnel, the tunnel that will hopefully lead out onto the field at Arrowhead Stadium on Opening Weekend in September. But as we await our next day in court—and with the ominous first comments from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit, it ain’t a’lookin’ so good—we don’t know how long the tunnel is going to be…
Here’s what we do know: The 2010 season turned out to be one hell of a party. And as the party wore on into the wee hours of the playoffs, I remember that everything was going great… The Chiefs were in the postseason at home for the first time since the early-mid George W. Bush administration. It was a sell-out crowd. The temperature at game time was a balmy 20 degrees Fahrenheit. In the first quarter, the Chiefs were keeping it close against the favored Baltimore Ravens. Excitement was building. And then, I distinctly remember, this happened.
But from that point on, everything became a blur. And now we’re left to piece together how exactly we got to where we are today… and whether we’ll ever find our friend Doug.*
*Actually, there is no player currently on the Chiefs roster named Doug, the last one being Doug Terry in 1995. There is, however, a Dwayne—who has, on occasion, gone missing.
In this mid-May malaise, weird, seemingly unrelated snippets start to come back into focus through the haze… First, an image of a judge in Minnesota lambasting the NFL owners for the $4 billion of unwarranted TV revenue he found in their trunk (while they all stood there shrugging like they didn’t know how it got there). Next, a flash of the NFLPA announcing the band was breaking up, the owners throwing out a last offer they knew would be refused and then…
It all goes black again.
But wait! I remember now! Another judge in Minnesota comes to the rescue. Susan Richard Nelson lifts the lockout. Rays of sunshine break through the fog. Animated birds begin to sing. Chad Ochocinco switches from soccer to rodeo bull-riding.
The season is back on.
And then—it’s starting to come back—there might have been…no, there was! There was an NFL Draft! That would explain how all these strangers got here: that diva wideout and that lineman from some tiny, mythical-sounding island and that fullback straight from the Ivy League and, finally, a nose tackle, too, who happens to be a former prison guard, a quarterback who just loves America, and also some guy named Gabe Miller.
What else? Along the way, we found those letters from Roger Goodell and Clark Hunt. But they weren’t very helpful. As I recall, they sounded a bit insincere and were seemingly full of…oh, what’s that word? It means something like “false statements made with deliberate intent to deceive.” It’ll come to me…
But wait… I remember what happened now. The suspension of the lockout was itself suspended by a panel of three aging white guys in St. Louis… And then…oh, wow, this was just last night…it became official again when the Appeals Court ordered all of us to “Stay!”*
*Though it should be noted that one of the three panelists, Judge Kermit Bye, dissented in favor of the players—not only to be fair to Kermit Bye, but so that I can have the chance to type out the name “Kermit Bye.”**
**Or, as it would appear in an alphabetical list by last name, “Bye, Kermit.”
The lockout continues, and so does our long hangover, at least until June 3, when the argument—in front of these same judges—will start up one more time.
It’s enough to lead one to (continue to) drink.
Unless someone has a better idea (and bless those of you here at AA who continue to write and comment on the Chiefs’ bright future!), or knows any good lockout-hangover remedies…