Chiefs fans aren’t having it. They want a real quarterback. They want the Cassel charade to end. Pioli’s stubbornness forced a handful of Chiefs fans to spontaneously thank the Ravens for momentarily ending their Matt Cassel nightmare. I think America will survive.
It’s easy for the national media to sit on their couches, inside their television studios or on their free, comfy press-box seats and preach polite decency to the working-class folks paying to watch their hijacked football team.
I won’t do it. I was inside Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday as a Chiefs fan. I’m not the type to boo or cheer. But I want Pioli fired. Eric Winston, too.
“I don’t think that he meant 70,000. If there were boos or cheering that Cassel got hurt, I know that 70,000 did not do it, even though I’m not tuned into it. I know 70,000 didn’t cheer for him being hurt. There might have been some cheering for him being hurt. This season has been a disappointing season with the way it’s gone. I doubt very seriously that 70,000 cheered. My experience is that the fans here in Kansas City are good fans. Are they frustrated? Yes, they are. I’m frustrated with the way it’s gone. But my players, any one of them that gets hurt, I’m concerned about that player being hurt and his well-being. Eric has been in this league a little while, he’s seen some things and he has some pride. He has some strong feelings for his teammates, whether it’s Matt Cassel or [Anthony] Toribio. If they are hurt, he doesn’t want anybody to do anything negative as a result of that injury. I think he’ll stand up for any teammate on this as it relates to that. He’s seen a lot, so like I said, I didn’t hear what he said, but I think he’ll stand by his statement.”
LB Tamba Hali led the charge initially but would not be outdone by second year sensation, LB Justin Houston. The tandem combined for four sacks on the afternoon and forced Baltimore and Flacco to rely on an offensive line that struggled to contain the Chiefs and had to dig in with a run game that didn’t fare much better.
A late second quarter field goal by K Ryan Succop had the game tied 3-3 going into the half. Through two quarters, the Chiefs had amassed 179 yard yards rushing and RB Jamaal Charles had broken the century mark with 125 yards leading all rushers. Clearly the decision to run the ball down the field was giving Kansas City an advantage and left the Ravens knowing what was coming, but unsure of which ball carrier would look to punish their defensive line.
I heard two cheers. The first came with Cassel still on the ground, when Quinn — popular way beyond his own merits by virtue of Cassel’s 13 turnovers in five games — walked onto the field. This cheer was joyous. And at least to my ears, that was about Quinn coming on more than Cassel being hurt.
The second cheer came when Cassel rose to his feet, the kind of polite applause you always hear when an injured player gets up.
That’s what I heard, anyway, even as I understand that some idiots in the stands did directly cheer Cassel’s injury. One person cheering a head injury is one too many, and there was more than one. On that point, all rational human beings agree with Winston.
Winston said he did regret that part of his postgame diatribe.
“I didn’t mean all 70,000 (fans) were cheering,” he said. “It might have been 7,000. It might have been 700. It’s still too many. Of anything I said, that’s the one thing that might have been misconstrued. That was the one thing just looking back on it that I want to make sure people know, that I didn’t think it was the whole stadium.”
Winston’s comments sparked more than anger among Chiefs fans in Kansas City. They were played repeatedly on ESPN throughout the day on Monday, turning a local story into a national one.
“I’m surprised by the national play it’s gotten,” he said. “I’m not too terribly surprised by the local play it’s gotten.