With the Chiefs starting their first practices on Friday, the 2012 season has for all intents and purposes begun.
With any luck, by this time next week we will know more about how the 2012 Chiefs will look, play and prosper and you will no longer have to read articles rehashing past moves or talking about what might happen once the season kicks off. That’s right, ladies and gents. Very soon, there will be some real football to talk about.
But until then, let’s take one last look back at the 204 days that we have been without Chiefs football since we rained on Tebow’s playoff parade in Week 17. After all, back then the starting quarterback was Kyle Orton, everyone thought we were going to draft David DeCastro and Peyton Manning was still a Colt.
Although Al Davis, sadly, has left us, his legacy lives on in a number of absurd debilitating moves that have kept the Oakland Raiders uncompetitive for a record stretch of time. One of Davis’ recent hits was drafting Alabama LB Ronaldo McClain 8th overall in 2010 and signing him to a (pre-CBA) $40-million contract. On top of being an overall disappointment – even more so than his cousin LeRon McClain’s stint with the Chiefs – apparently, a fun night out for him can be described as “third-degree assault, menacing, reckless endangerment and discharging a firearm inside the city limits.” Due to all of that silliness, McClain was sentenced to 180 days in jail. Despite his mediocre play on the field, he is still the Raiders’ starting middle linebacker (for now) and it appears this sentence will keep him out of the whole 2012 season.
But don’t feel too bad for the guy; while in jail he’ll probably still be making around $5 million in guaranteed money.
Best Roster Move
While there could arguably be a debate over who the Chiefs’ best offseason acquisition was, clearly the best improvement in single position came with the signing of Tackle Eric Winston and the banishment of Barry Richardson to the St. Louis Rams (who apparently hate their quarterback). It is truly rare when a team is able to turn their weakest position into one of their strongest, but that is what KC pulled off this year. In addition to getting the guy that is quite possibly the best right tackle in football, adding Winston also instantly made the Chiefs O-line one of the strengths of the team. After years of god awful blocking, we now have one of the better units in the league with bookend tackles and a fairly deep bunch of young players in the interior.
Best League Scheduling Oversight
Due to rules governing prime time games, the Chiefs in effect get two bye weeks this season. In addition to their Week 7 bye, the Chiefs have an 11-day break between their Week 9 Thursday Night Football game against the Chargers and a Monday Night Football game against the Steelers.
Best Throw-Down Move in the Division
I’m not going to lie, while this sentiment is in no way based in any type of rationality, I love that Peyton Manning has joined the division after snubbing the Chiefs. Is this objectively good for the Chiefs’ chances of winning the division? No. Does it motivate me even more to crush the Donkeys? Yes.
My only complaint is that the Chiefs don’t get to face off against Manning’s merry band of mules until Week 12, and, in all likelihood, he will have broken his neck seven times by then. On the other hand, if his bionic neck holds up that long, it’s very likely that Week 12 is going to be a great game – one that will have major divisional and playoff implications. Although I have been watching Peyton carve up defenses for the last decade, I can’t help but mentally taunt Denver every day until that game comes. This year is our year. Bring it on. Throw-down time.
Best Offseason Prediction
I totally said that we should draft Dontari Poe and everyone complained about the suggestion and in the end we did draft him. So there.
Worst Offseason Storyline
Arrowhead Anxiety-gate. Although many of you have likely forgotten about this by now, the 2011 offseason started with a stunning expose by the Star’s Kent Babb about how Scott Pioli scared the bejesus out of most people who work for the Chiefs. Todd Haley believed he was wiretapped. He wasn’t alone. Employee turnover was extreme. Old people were swept out the door. Pioli picked up trash he found and creepily presented it at board meetings in evidence bags. Everyone, including business-side employees, was forbidden from getting a peek at anything going on at the practice field.
Not only was this bad press for the Chiefs, this was the kind of story that shook at the very base of all of our feelings about the Pioli regime. Sure, he’s been very effective, but he just might be an exiled dictator in an elaborate disguise. The fact that the publication of the story was followed by increasing rumors and comments by league figures that this is why many players choose to avoid Kansas City left a sour taste in my mouth. Was it Pioli and his reputation that made Peyton Manning decide to not even visit with the team, despite its playoff-ready roster? Was Todd Haley batnuts crazy because Pioli’s management style turned him into a paranoid schizophrenic? We’ll probably never know.
Worst Moment of Chiefs Fandom
Cassel getting booed at a celebrity softball game. Really, people? I’m not saying the guy’s a great player, but wait until he throws his 5th check-down in a row or manages to toss a no-look interception on a screen pass while in field-goal range with the game on the line. Even then, I’d prefer you all to react the same way that I, as any gentlemen, acts in this situation. Let a single tear roll down your cheek, physically assault someone in the immediate vicinity and order another beer (note: I only cry because of the adrenaline).
Worst Overall Change
The uniform design. Look, it’s not that bad and it seems like the material is going to be a lot better, but I agreed with some commenter who said they look like red Browns jerseys. Now I can’t get imagine out my head and all I can think is “yuck” whenever I see them (I do dig the gloves though).