It’s been a long week to be a Chiefs fan. I think at this point we’re all tired of hearing about bugged cell phones and candy wrappers. I don’t care if you’re Scott Pioli’s and Clark Hunt’s biggest supporter or think they’re the worst GM and owner (and possibly human beings) in the NFL. I think we can all agree that we would prefer our beloved team not be making headlines in the offseason (at least not for these kind of stories). It feels like it’s a pretty dark time to be a Chiefs fan.
We haven’t seen a playoff win in 47 years (at least that’s what it feels like).
We’ve had to suffer through losing seasons in four of the past five seasons.
Our GM is too busy picking up candy wrappers and tapping cell phones to find an upgrade over Sabby Piscatelli.
Our owner just made Forbes magazine’s Top Ten Worst NFL Owners list.
We seem destined to go into next season without the franchise QB we all so desperately would like to see in Red and Gold.
It’s easy to understand why Chiefs fans are down and frustrated. You have to wonder if you walked your dog by Arrowhead if a Chiefs employee would run out and kick it! When you saw the preview for the new movie “Man On A Ledge” you wondered if it was about a Chiefs fan, didn’t you?
Well before we decide to replace Warpaint with Eeyore for this coming season, maybe we should all just take a deep breath.
FACT: The Chiefs lost arguably their most talented players on offense and defense at the very beginning of the season.
FACT: The Chiefs fired their coach midseason.
FACT: Most KC fans thought that the young Chiefs team that won the division in 2010 might take a slight step backward in 2011 due to a more difficult schedule.
FACT: The Chiefs started Tyler Palko for four consecutive games.
FACT: The Chiefs were a blocked FG away from winning the division and hosting a playoff game.
FACT: The Oakland Raiders are searching for their third head coach in as many years.
FACT: The Chargers decided to keep both GM AJ Smith and head coach Norv Turner for next season, despite years of perceived underachieving.
FACT: The Tyler Palko-led Chiefs lost to NE by four less points than the Tim Tebow-led Broncos. Tyler Palko does not appear to be in KC’s plans going forward (whew!). The Broncos have said Tebow will be the starter going forward.
So KC fans, what team in the AFC West is in the best shape moving forward? I certainly feel like the Chiefs are in a position to win this division next season. This isn’t a team that needs rebuilt. It just needs its star players to come back from injury and then a couple more roster upgrades. The Raiders are starting over (again). The Chargers, despite having a team that declined in production across the board, are going to try to do things the same again next year but expect better results (the definition of insanity). The Broncos are stuck with their star player having humongous flaws. I feel good about where the Chiefs are.
Next let’s address the QB issue. Do I think Matt Cassel can carry our team to a Super Bowl? No, probably not. However, despite this being such a high scoring and QB-led league this year, two defensive-led teams made the conference finals, thus proving that you can do well in the postseason without a star QB if you have a good enough team around him.
Now clearly Cassel is no Tom Brady, but if you compare his stats in his four seasons as a starting QB with the stats of Joe Flacco, Alex Smith and Eli Manning I think you’ll see he holds his own.
Matt Cassel: 59.0 percent, 6.6 YPA, 76 TDs, 45 INTs
Joe Flacco: 60.8 percent, 7.1 YPA, 80 TDs, 46 INTs
Eli Manning: 54.7 percent, 6.3 YPA, 77 TDs, 64 INTs
Alex Smith: 56.3 percent, 6.0 YPA, 37 TDs, 43 INTs
So while Cassel may not be good enough to carry the Chiefs to a Super Bowl, he may just be good enough to lead the team there if he has a strong enough team around him. Let’s be honest, the 2010 playoff team had some serious flaws. Yes, Cassel played horrible in the Chiefs’ playoff game, but the offensive line was completely dominated in that game and with Dwayne Bowe double teamed, the Chiefs had no one else to turn to. They’ve already brought in more receiving help, now they just need to build up the offensive line.
Which takes us to the front office and whether or not they will do what it takes to improve this team during the offseason.
Here’s where I look for the silver lining in all this bad press that the Chiefs have received lately.
Scott Pioli and Clark Hunt have never had a lower public opinion than they do right now. Pioli is being portrayed as an egomaniac who is obsessed with everyone doing things his way. He apparently wants total control of every little detail of how the team is run. If this is all true, there is a bright side for KC fans. Someone with an ego that big won’t stand for losing. What’s the one way Pioli gets to sit back behind that huge desk of his and laugh at everyone that talked poorly about him?
Win football games.
Clark Hunt’s reputation is declining even faster then Pioli’s is. His team has been one of the lowest spending teams ever since he took over the team. He was just named to Forbes magazine’s Top Ten Worst NFL Owners list. More than anything the fans of the team he owns are now convinced that he cares only about making money and not winning. Ifx this continues, especially in this economy, the attendance numbers will nose dive. Unless of course the Chiefs do one thing.
Win football games.
These guys may pretend like they don’t care about what the media and fans say and think about them, but don’t buy it. Scott Pioli just this week put the “kibosh” on a Kent Babb television interview about his recent article because he cares A LOT about what people think. I just saw Clark Hunt (along with Dexter McCluster) in an NFL commercial where NFL players sing to the fans to show them that “we are who they play the game for.” He was the only NFL owner in the commercial. Is this because he cares about the fans more than the other owners? Not a chance; he just wants to look like he does. How do these guys repair their public image?
Win football games.
That’s why I honestly believe the Chiefs will make some positive moves this offseason. Given the current public opinion of this franchise, can you imagine how ugly things could get if the Chiefs let both Dwayne Bowe and Brandon Carr walk and then made no big moves in free agency? The excitement around this team might just hit the lowest of any time in the team’s history. The fans would revolt. The team would probably end up with a losing record again next year. Hunt would lose money. Pioli’s reputation would be scarred beyond repair. The media would be proven right about these men.
Do you think that’s what these two want?
I don’t. In fact I think they’re likely do to everything in their power to keep that from happening.
I’m not here to defend Scott Pioli’s and Clark Hunt’s actions up to this point. I’m here to tell you that even if every horrible thing you’ve ever heard about them is true, there are still a lot of reasons to believe that they will try to build a playoff caliber team for next season. Simply put, doing so is the best way for both of them to do exactly what they supposedly love to do best. Pioli will continue to be hailed as a “genius” and his cold-hearted and perfectionist ways will be justified. If the Chiefs are one of the best teams in the AFC next season, every game will be sold out and we should even host an extra game or two in the postseason. This should line the pockets of Clark Hunt more than ever.
So KC fans, I know that it hasn’t been the best start to our offseason, but don’t lose hope. I still believe in this team and still believe (no matter what their motivation) that the people running it will do what they have to in order to build us a winner.
As always, thanks for reading and GO CHIEFS!!!!!!!!!!!!!