One of the hot topics around NFL circles these days, other than the always exciting lockout/litigation extravaganza, (pukes) is which 2010 playoff teams won’t be making a return trip in 2011.
Some folks are quick to point to the Kansas City Chiefs as a team heading for a fall.
It’s irritating, isn’t it? As fans, we suffered through three absolutely miserable seasons. Then, when things finally started turning around, we had to suffer through a season of “are they for real” questions. Still, going through the season with the “nobody believes in us” chip on your shoulder is a heck of a lot better than going through the season with the “who are the Kansas City Chiefs, is that a football team or a minor league soccer team” chip on your shoulder.
Now, as we are in the midst of the most boring NFL offseason since the internet age, bored TV pundits are already talking about how the Chiefs will take a step back in 2011.
Saying something like that now is simply baloney. The only thing we know about the 2011 Kansas City Chiefs is that they have a tougher schedule than their 2010 counterparts and even that isn’t a given. I remember looking at the 2010 schedule last offseason and being worried about how difficult it was at the start. The slate of the Chargers, @Cleveland, 49ers @Colts and @Houston had me thinking the Chiefs would be lucky to get out to a 2-3 start with 1-4 being a very real possibility. Instead, the 49ers and Chargers turned out to be not so good and the Chiefs got out of the game 3-0, nearly knocked off the Colts in Indi and blew a large lead to the Texans. KC came a heck of a lot closer to starting the season 5-0 than they did 1-4.
The only thing that we can predict now is that there is a pretty good chance the Kansas City Chiefs will be a better football team in 2011. It will be the third year of their program and the team will feature a number of young, talented players who should be starting to come into their own. Anything can happen but it is unlikely guys like Eric Berry, Javier Arenas, Dexter McCluster, Kendrick Lewis and Tony Moeaki are going to get worse. All of those guys contributed to wins in 2010 and they haven’t even begun to scratch the surface of their potential.
Add to that a new crop of rookies with heaps of potential and a free agent class that is TBD and the 2011 Chiefs could be a lot better than the 2010 Chiefs.
Even if the Chiefs do take a step back in the standings in 2011, it won’t necessarily mean they haven’t taken a step forward as a team. Talent is king but winning in the NFL requires its fair share of luck. Many NFL games are decided by a lucky bounce one way or the other. If Dexter McCluster slips on the wet grass returning his punt in Week One, the Chargers kick a late 4th quarter FG for the win. If that one incident occurred and nothing else changes, the Chiefs likely finish 9-7 and the Chargers win the AFC West. Would it mean the Chiefs were any better or worse?
So let’s not worry about the final standings of the 2011 season just yet. For now, I suggest we all sit back, relax and enjoy this lovely lockout. Err…I mean, stay positive and talk about how much better the Chiefs are after their 2011 draft and how much better they can get once Scott Pioli gets a crack at free agency.
If he gets a crack at free agency.