The offseason is a dark, lonely place if you are an NFL blogger. Sure, if you are writing about the NFL at large, you’ve got material. TO getting cut by the Wranglers. Various players taking shots at the Roger Goodell. You know, the interesting stuff.
But when you are covering just one team, trying to produce multiple posts a day for your readership that is literally frothing at the mouth for more, you’ve got to get creative.
Thus today, I’m returning to an old standard. Presenting my annual “Underhanded Ways I’d Like To See The Chiefs Win” column. I know you’ve all be desperately awaiting this one.
#5. The Halftime Trade Strategy
Week one: The Atlanta Falcons come to town. High expectations quickly turn to horror on KC’s very first play from scrimmage. Cassel hands off to Charles who sprints toward the Chiefs’ sideline. Charles lands awkwardly, tearing his recently repaired ACL. As he falls, he stumbles into Brandon Flowers who pulls his hamstring while falling into Tamba Hali, breaking his left leg.
Shortly after Hali hits the ground with a thud, the body of AA staff writer Big Matt lands somewhere out in the parking lot after a fall from the upper decks at Arrowhead.
Without Charles, the offense is in disarray and the Chiefs quickly fall behind 17-0. At halftime, Pioli storms over to the Falcons locker room. Just as Crennel finishes his halftime speech, Pioli returns, his tie askew, with former Chiefs TE Tony Gonzalez.
“Arenas, McCluster, beat it. You’ve been traded to the Falcons. Tony, get a helmet.”
The second quarter begins with Devon Wylie returning the opening kickoff back for a touchdown. On the ensuing kickoff, Crennel pulls out Todd Haley’s old playbook and executes a surprise onside kick. The Chiefs recover and on their first play, trot out four tight ends in a bunch formation. Tony G, Tony M, Kevin Boss and Jake “The Snake” O’Connell” all line up to Cassel’s right. As the Atlanta defense collectively poops their pants, Cassel snaps the ball and all four TEs take off.
Except nobody covers Jake O’Connell. Cassell hits him easily and the Chiefs pull within 3.
Later in the half, the Chiefs line up Dontari Poe at WR. The Falcons reluctantly put a man on Poe. Cassel fakes the play action and the CB covering Poe bites. Suddenly, Devon Wylie, who was hiding behind Poe the entire time, bolts for the end zone and catches a perfect pass from Cassel.
Chiefs win 21-17.
#4. Scott Pioli: NFL GM or Nepalese Witch Doctor?
Knowing that his team can’t continue to fool opponents with four-TE sets, Scott Pioli goes looking for a miracle cure for his injured stars. He spends the team’s BYE week somewhere deep in the mountains of Nepal.
Nobody hears from Pioli for a week. Then, Monday morning as the team is preparing for that week’s game, Pioli bursts into the film room with a wild look in his eyes. He’s lost about 10 pounds and now sports a long beard and a mullet. Babbling, he hands Crennel what he describes as a “shopping list.”
“Get these items for me, Romeo, and bring them to my office Saturday night, just before midnight.”
That Saturday, Crennel arrives at Arrowhead Stadium. With him, he has a lock of Troy Polamalu’s hair, a glass vial of Ray Lewis’ tears and some soil from the grave of Derrick Thomas. Crennel slowly approaches Pioli’s office door where he can hear the strange sound of chanting from within.
The next day, Jamaal Charles rushes for 132 yards and 2 TDs, Brandon Flowers records an interception and Tamba Hali adds three sacks.
#3. Pioli Lights The Way
Before the Chiefs play their first game at Arrowhead against Peyton Manning and the Broncos, Scott Pioli has two spotlights installed behind the end zones. He also insists that all of his team’s DBs wear dark visors on their helmets for the game.
On Manning’s first passing attempt, the spotlight in the opposite end zone is turned on and trained directly on his massive forehead. The reflected glare off his dome is so bad that the Denver receivers can’t see the football but the visor sporting Chiefs DBs can. KC racks up an NFL record 14 interceptions in one game and the Chiefs crush the Donks 42-3.
#2. Won’t Fight The Law
The week before the first Raiders game, Pioli unveils the team’s new alternate uniforms that look strangely like the uniforms worn by the Oakland PD.
The Chiefs win both games via forfeit when the Raiders players, most of whom are on probation or have warrants out for their arrest, refuse to show up.
#1. The Madness Of Todd Haley
The week before the Chiefs travel to Pittsburgh for the “Todd Haley Revenge Game.” Pioli pays some suspicious looking men in trench coats and fedora hats to start following Haley everywhere he goes.
That week, Haley begins seeing the men everywhere. Once while taking a piss at a urinal, another time in a parked car outside his house, even lurking around the putting greens at the golf course.
Other, strange things also happen to Haley that week. He begins finding bugs all over his house. Real ones. Roaches, ants, crickets and flies. He starts insisting to players and coaches that the big potted plants in the parking lot are following him to his car.
By the time the day of the game arrives, Haley is a total wreck. He’s accusing his fellow coaches and players of “going through his bag.” Haley’s paranoia distracts him quite a bit during the first half. While searching for listening devices during the second quarter, Haley calls in a draw play on 3rd and 27. When the play gains only two yards, Haley stubbornly calls it again on 4th and 25.
Just before halftime, things get really strange. Ben Roethlisberger, who had been growing more and more irritated with Haley throughout the week, finds himself in the midst of a very strange conversation.
The following is a transcript:
Ben: Ok, 3rd and 5. What’s the call?
Haley: I can’t tell you that, Ben.
Haley: It’s Pioli. He’s listening. He’s always listening.
Haley: Here’s what I’ll do. I’m going to give you “the play.” Understand what I’m saying, Ben? I will give you the play and then you’ll go execute the OTHER play. Then they won’t know what to do. So don’t run the play I give you. Or maybe you do. MAYBE you DO run the play I give you. Or you could run the other one. The one we talked about.
Ben: What in Sam hell are you talking about? We didn’t talk about another play. The damn play clock is almost up. What’s the call?
Haley: Toss Hail Mary.
Haley: (whispers) Don’t run the Toss Hail Mary. Run the Draw Slants and then take a knee.
On the next play Big Ben, never the sharpest tool in the shed, but always certainly the biggest tool in the shed, attempts to throw a slant pass from one knee while faking a draw to his RB. He is sacked for a 7-yard loss.
The situation comes to a head in the locker room at the half when Haley see’s a message in the bottom of his Gatorade cup that reads “There’s an eye in the bush.”
Haley promptly attacks Troy Polamalu, fearing that there is a camera hidden in his hair. Security arrives and places Haley in a straight jacket for the remainder of the game, which the Chiefs win 28-13.
Alright, Addicts, those are five underhanded ways I’d like to see the Chiefs win this season. What are some fantastical ways you envision KC victories going down this season?