I sit with baggy eyes at 2am in the morning, a die hard Chiefs fan who traveled for hours to Kansas City to pay full parking and full price for a football game, only to endure whatever it was that you want to call Friday night, and drive back home the same night.
I sit here as an offseason-and-preseason-long apologist for the supposed strategery of GM Scott Pioli and the alleged dedication to process of HC Todd Haley. Their moves, I defended or have come around to. Their deliberations and unpopular choices, most notably not to play particularly competitively during preseason, I have tried to dissect and better understand.
And now I sit here, after an infuriating lockout, after a brilliant draft, after a free agency period that underwhelmed with veteran and rookie free agencts, after a soft training camp and now a horrific preseason, dominated by my id because my superego is worn out trying to understand it all.
What underlying philosophy is supposed to have guided the crap we’ve had to ingest for a month now? Why have we played our starting quarterback less than every other team in the league? Why was the only move we made to upgrade our dismal offensive tackle situation to sign a guy who couldn’t pass anybody’s physical? Why have we commented that our process is to evaluate players this preseason, yet make a dozen stupid playcalls a game that actively prevent plays that would help us evaluate players (i.e. kicking for a field goal late in the 4th last night instead of going for it on 4th and goal)?
It’s not making sense, Addicts. Whatever this team is doing right now, it’s not making sense. I spent the majority of the drive home trying to piece together some underlying philosphy that could explain all of the team’s actions, to make it all consistent. Because I simply can’t accept the idea that this team just doesn’t know what it’s doing right now.
Until I finally found the philosophy that helps make sense of it all. It explains everything. It tells us why Butch Lewis is our current backup at left tackle. It tells us why Clark Hunt demands we pay full price and full parking for a dress rehearsal Friday nights. It tells us why the team decided at one point to deny its employees who work the lots standing-room-only tickets for free as a perk. It tells us why our entire defense seemingly had never seen a power running back before Steven Jackson showed up last night.
The Kansas City Chiefs are deliberately trying to piss us off.
Why else have we asked our corners to give ten yard cushions for wide swaths of our three preseason losses? Why else do we trot Matt Cassel out against the Buccaneers three weeks ago so he can hand the ball off five times and retire to the bench?
Why else were we bombarded with anecdotes about Jonathan Baldwin’s rebirth into sainthood upon the Chiefs drafting him (hype that everybody, myself included, bought without questioning), only to find out upon his injury that he was a thorn in the side of the locker room and was underperforming on the field?
Why else would we be trotting out Jerheme Urban as a starter for three weeks across from Dwayne Bowe? Why else do we call for a three-yard out route on third-and-nine? What’s the fantasy here, that the guy’s going to break a tackle and juke for six additional yards to a first down? Why else are we starting Andy Studebaker, a machine of missed tackles, over two legitimate playmakers in Cameron Sheffield and Justin Houston?
It’s possible that since the lockout ended, the past few months have been an exercise by the front office to test the patience of those of us who really enjoy following the team. Love coming to the game? Pay some more in parking. Think the Chiefs could use their league-leading cap space to bring in some playmakers for the offensive line (Tyson Clabo, Ryan Harris) or wide receiver (Lee Evans)? How about not. Think the Chiefs could truly stick to their mantra that they’re not in it to win it this preseason, and actually go for it on fourth down at least once, like they do so often in games that do count? Not going to happen, it’s not like we have ninety players on our roster who are desperately trying to make the team. Enjoy watching backups play for their lives? Watch Chris Harr destroy your spirit at right tackle.
It’s been dispiriting on every level that a football team can be dispiriting: ownership, front office, coaching, and the players themselves.
It’s enough to make you think, maybe this isn’t just a team grasping for straws this preseason. Maybe this is a team that knows exactly what it’s doing. Maybe they’re just trying to piss us all off.
Maybe they are.
At this point, the burden of proof is on them to show that they’re not. Because I’m out of ideas.