The Kansas City Chiefs lost again on Sunday. They lost at home, AGAIN. Matt Cassel playing poorly, AGAIN (when the team even allowed him to throw). In fact, the offensive game plan clearly showed that the team no longer has any faith that Matt Cassel can help them win games. In the first 30 plays the Chiefs offense had 26 running plays and a mere four passes. That really tells you all that you need to know about KC’s trust in Matt Cassel. The Chiefs basically decided that they would be better off with no passing game at all than a passing game led by Cassel. Matt Cassel simply isn’t a good NFL starting QB. You may have been thinking that based on the title of this piece, I would be arguing otherwise. I’m not. If you were planning on getting in a “should Matt Cassel start another game for KC” debate at the close of this piece you won’t get any argument in favor of Matt Cassel coming from this author.
So what do I mean when I say that this isn’t Matt Cassel’s fault?
I mean that directing your frustration, anger, and sometimes outright hatred at Matt Cassel is misguided. Does anyone argue that Matt Cassel isn’t a good guy? Isn’t Matt Cassel a good teammate? Does anyone question Matt Cassel’s work ethic? How about his desire to win? Aren’t those really the only things a player can control? Matt Cassel’s problem has never been about the stuff that he can control. Matt Cassel’s problem is that he isn’t any good. It’s not from a lack of trying, the guy just doesn’t have the necessary skills needed to succeed at the NFL level. It’s an ability issue.
So why be so mad at Cassel?
Think of it this way. Imagine your boss at work gives a coworker a promotion. The coworker lacks the abilities needed to do his new job and fails miserably. The coworker is doing everything he can to succeed, giving his all, but still can’t do the job. Instead of admitting the mistake and finding someone more competent for the position, your boss keeps the same guy there for four years. You would be frustrated and angry about it, but who would you be more upset with, your coworker or your boss that put him in that position and refuses to do anything about it.
My point is obviously that KC fans should channel their anger at Scott Pioli, not Matt Cassel.
KC fans are so frustrated with the state of their beloved team that they can no longer contain their excitement over a different QB playing for their team. I think the percentage of fans that want Matt Cassel to suffer physical pain are very small. These fans, literally want revenge for the frustration that Cassel’s play has caused them. If you are in this group I feel sorry for you. That seems like a pretty bitter and hateful way to view the world. However, I think more fans would fall under the heading of “excited to move on from Matt Cassel.” Some of these fans cheered when Cassel was hurt, not because they wanted Cassel to be in pain, but because they were SO desperate for anyone other than Matt Cassel to play QB for the Chiefs that they couldn’t contain their excitement when Quinn had to come in. Was this in bad taste? Yes, it was. Was this situation created by Scott Pioli? Yes, it was. Do you think, for one second, that the crowd would have reacted that way if it was Kyle Orton who had been out their struggling after being re-signed in the offseason to replace Matt Cassel? I don’t. Do you think that if it had been a struggling first-round draft pick laying out there on the turf that the fans would have cheered? I don’t.
That’s what outsiders, the national media, and perhaps even Eric Winston don’t get. KC fans aren’t so much upset that their QB isn’t playing well. It’s that the SAME QB that has been underwhelming fans for the better part of four years is still out there struggling and the powers-that-be continue to deny that it’s an issue. Fans want a light at the end of the tunnel and thus far the Chiefs’ higher ups have refused to give it to them. Then when Cassel was laying on the turf and Quinn started to come onto the field they saw a small flicker of that light off in the distance. KC fans (at least most of them) don’t actually think Brady Quinn is some great savior that will salvage this pathetic season and lead the team to a Super Bowl. They just see a possible light at the end of the “Matt Cassel tunnel.” Some fans think that an injury is literally the only possible way to get Cassel out of the lineup. They’ve lost hope in the decision makers for their team to do what is right. It’s sad that an injury was some fans’ only hope for this team, but unfortunately that is where we are at.
Things are turning ugly in Kansas City. If fans don’t see some change soon they may explode. Every fan is responsible for their own actions, but if the explosion does happen, it will be in part because Scott Pioli provided fans with the metaphorical matches and gunpowder by not finding this team a competent starting QB in his four years on the job. I’m not in favor of change just for the sake of appeasing the fanbase, but at some point the Chiefs must prove to their fans that they are willing to admit their mistake and move forward. Not starting Matt Cassel for the rest of the 2012 season regardless of his health would be a step in that direction.
I am hoping for two things to come out of this situation. The first is that Scott Pioli comes to the realization that I just mentioned and moves on from the Matt Cassel era. The second is that Matt Cassel makes a full and speedy recovery, because no “win” or “game” is worth the long-term health and happiness of a fellow human being. All Matt Cassel has ever done is try his best to win games for the team that I love. I am grateful to him for that. I wish him nothing but the best in his life going forward. I just want the people that run the Chiefs to realize that he shouldn’t be the starting QB for my team anymore. That should be something that we can all agree on, no matter how unhappy we are with the product that the Chiefs have put on the field.
I still think that KC has the best fans in the world. I hope the next time the Chiefs take the field at Arrowhead that the fans earn that reputation. I also hope that the Chiefs treat the fans like they deserve to be treated and prove to them that they are committed to putting players on the field that can actually help them to win games. I no longer think that Matt Cassel is one of those players, but I still wish him all the best and a speedy recovery.
As always, thanks for reading and GO CHIEFS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!