Deja vu all over again?

Chiefs Now Within A Game Of First Place In AFC West


What? Is there something wrong with that headline? It’s true, or at least factual. And so are these:

Chiefs Only Two Back In Race For AFC’s Top Seed

Chiefs Will Need To Settle For 14-2 Season

Chiefs Unbeaten Against Division In 2011

Clark Hunt Celebrates Another Year Of Record Profits

No, this is not going to be another Pollyanna-ish pep talk. To quote the guy who was proofreading the alphabet and noticed something missing between E and G: “F that.”

The point (if there’s a point) is that there really is no way to put a positive spin on what’s happening. The sad fact is that essentially all of us will admit there’s no way we’ll see any of those headlines a month or even a week from now (except, of course, for that last one). And there’s really no way to make sense,* or for that matter, fun, of all this, either.

*Be warned, this post will have a lot of asterisks and even double asterisks,** if only to fill space where there is no coherent line of reasoning.

**See?

There is no comedy here, unless it’s a Divine Comedy: The lockout was the first level of hell* and it has descended from there to the preseason and down with each regular-season game, and each new torn ACL. To paraphrase Mel Brooks, “Tragedy is when Jamaal Charles cuts his finger; comedy is when the Detroit Lions walk into an open sewer and die.” (Not exactly sure how or whether that applies, but I gotta fill this post with words, people.)

*Or if you insist on being an I-told-you-so realist, it probably started with the final regular-season game last year against the Raiders, followed by the Wild Card blowout…

Like all of you, I’ve got my computer desktop set with the official, AA-endorsed wallpaper. What a brilliant, visual reminder that the season hasn’t even really begun. And yet, it still feels all but over.

Last week’s demolition at the hands of the Bills* was something of a shock, but what makes this all so painful is the familiarity. It was only three years ago (slightly less, actually) that the Kansas City Star used cutting-edge Apple Photo Booth “twirl” technology to cover its sports section with an image of the entire team going “DOWN THE DRAIN” after starting the 2008 season 0-3 (and 0-12 back to 2007). Now that was a headline we could believe. “The Chiefs’ best chances to win may have passed them by,” the subhead read. “With a string of tough foes coming up, they’re staring at the possibility of a 0-16 season.”

*The *&%# Bills!**

**And not the Jim Kelly/Andre Reed/Thurman Thomas Bills!

Fact: 0-16 feels more possible than ever before. And I remember 2008 very well. Because— as I’m pretty sure was just mentioned, and the calendar will totally back this up—it was only three years ago.

Part of me can see the virtues of the whole “Suck for Luck”* campaign (I know—come at me, Lyle). Perhaps it’s the Royals fan in me; back when they had a real habit of getting into those double-digit losing streaks, I hoped that each game would bring the end—but I also got just a little too excited when SportsCenter and Baseball Tonight would lead off with an update of the streak. If you can’t be famous, be infamous. And at  least in the Chiefs’ situation in 2011, all that losing could, in theory, eventually lead to winning.**

*Though the name does vaguely offend my prudish sensibilities. How ‘bout “Lose a Few for Andrew?”

**Okay, I have to admit a little additional bias here: as a Stanford alum, the idea that the college quarterback I already watch and root for every weekend could seamlessly transition to the NFL team I already watch and root for every weekend is tantalizing to say the least. Hell, he already wears red. And seeing Luck in a Chiefs jersey could forever clear away the cognitive dissonance and outright shame of knowing that the best pro quarterback my alma mater has produced in my lifetime until now is John Elway.

The Chiefs, of course, have never gone 0-16. They’ve never gone 1-15. Only once—in 2008—have they finished 2-14, and even that season included victories over the Broncos (on the same day as that “DOWN THE DRAIN” headline) and the Raiders (something last year’s 10-6 team couldn’t manage), so not all was lost. And as long as there are games left on this year’s schedule, all is not lost, either. We can still jack up the Pack or stun the Steelers in prime time, and homecoming in New England should still be intriguing (at least during the pre-game). We can still be infamous.

We know the 2011 Chiefs ain’t gonna finish 14-2. Can they manage at least 2-14? Let’s hope.

(And if that’s going to be the case anyway, why not hope that everyone else finishes at least 3-13?)

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Tags: AFC West News Andrew Luck Arrowhead Addict Chiefs Clark Hunt Denver Broncos Detroit Lions Jamaal Charles Kansas City Chiefs NFL News Oakland Raiders Patriots Pittsburgh Steelers Stanford

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