I have played soccer most of my life, and I was fortunate enough in high school to play alongside someone who nows plays in Major League Soccer. Locally, actually; for the Kansas City Wizards. Although by “played alongside,” I mean “was on the field at a distance while he was doing all kinds of insane, record breaking, All World ass whooping.”
There was just absolutely no comparison to him for all the people I’ve ever played alongside in a sport. He was genius, could literally do anything he wanted with his feet, and could score from virtually anywhere on the field. He was bigger than just about everybody, faster than just about everybody, and was five steps ahead of everyone else. He set the single-season high school goals record that year. Teams we played would often assign two to three different guys to just follow himat the same time everywhere he went during games. I was assigned to do that in many practices, and was embarrassed 100% of the time; I never won a single battle against him, or came close.
There’s something to be said about taking the field with someone who really is that much better than everyone else when he’s on your team. No matter what the other team throws at you, you have a weapon that counters everything and can beat everything. That confidence spreads through your team like an infection.
To hear virtually every professional athlete in every team sport ever tell it, it’s the exact same way on their level. When you know you’ve got the biggest gun on the field, your confidence, willingness to take risks, and desire to be a part of “something special” escalates exponentially. Your entire team becomes an organism dedicated to maximizing and supporting his talent, and in that, you all become whole and all feel incredibly special at his accomplishment, as if you were part of the reason he was so good. Because if you worked your ass off on the field alongside him, you were.
This is worth mentioning, because the Kansas City Chiefs got to witness one of the finest performances by one of their own receivers I believe we’ve ever seen. Dwayne Bowe didn’t set any NFL (or Chiefs) records, and aside from Chiefs fans and his fantasy owners, few will have taken notice of it.
But he was untouchable today. No pass thrown his way was out of his ability to reel in. No defender could stop him — even if they threw their whole body at him illegally. No one could bring him down. No one could devise an effective coverage scheme. He was bigger, faster, smarter… and wanted it more than everyone else.
His play elevated from his typical Pro Bowl quality to a very special zone that we very seldom see, and he truly looked like one of the NFL’s top three receivers, albeit against a really poor opponent. But in doing so, he sparked both sides of the ball, the sidelines, and especially the team’s fanbase.
Thanks in large part to his performance today, this is a Chiefs team that once again plays like they believe they can beat anyone on any field. They take on the Raiders in two weeks with sky-high confidence and a chance at .500 and to shove their success in the face of every soul who was foolish enough to doubt them.
Bowe became a force of nature today, and it will only reverberate and intensify in the next two weeks, and perhaps beyond. That’s what elite talent can do; it’s not just a spark, it’s a brilliant flare. And this Chiefs team, despite all the negativity and their previously awful play and the many, many doubters (of which I’ve been one for months), could build this flare to a fire.