Now that Matt Cassel has (involuntarily) passed the starting quarterback torch to Brady Quinn, and for all intents and purposes, the Cassel era in Kansas City is over, I think it’s time for a little reminiscing, and for a little nostalgia. Let’s look back and count down the top Cassel moments from his time as starter in Kansas City. So, without further ado, let’s begin.
Hat Missing Head
If this video isn’t about the perfect analogy of Cassel’s time in Kansas City, I don’t know what is.
Cassel’s Celebration Fail
A late entry into the countdown (as in I just remembered it), this failed touchdown celebration in a preseason game against the Seahawks in 2012 is another iconic moment in the Cassel era.
Cassel with Kenny Powers
After Cassel’s excellent 2010 season, he got an endorsement deal with K-Swiss and appeared with the flamboyantly brazen fictional character, Kenny Powers, in a commercial. Warning: the following video does contain strong language, but also Cassel saying “come at me bro.”
10. Cassel Signs in Kansas City
Finally, we get to the top 10. On February 28th, 2009, the New England Patriots traded Cassel and OLB Mike Vrabel to the Chiefs for the 34th pick in the draft. Later that offseason, the Chiefs signed Cassel to a six year deal for $63 million, with $28 million guaranteed. Even for those that supported bringing Cassel to town, a deal such as that for a player that only had one season of starting under his belt after inheriting the greatest offense the NFL had ever seen was a bit discomforting. But compared to the QB situation before Cassel – Croyle, Thigpen, etc. – Cassel was a welcomed addition.
9. Cassel’s First Win in KC
Cassel’s first win with the Chiefs came on October 18th, 2009 against the Jim Zorn-lead Washington Redskins. The final score was 14-6 thanks to four Ryan Succop field goals and a Tamba Hali safety of Todd Collins to end the game. Cassel was 16/31 for 186 yards.
8. Cassel’s Pro Bowl
In 2010, Cassel put up some of the best numbers in the AFC, and after Tom Brady turned down his spot in the Pro Bowl, Matt Cassel was selected to replace him. Coming off a season in which there were no Chiefs Pro Bowlers in 2009, having Cassel, along with Jamaal Charles, Brian Waters and Dwayne Bowe in 2010, was good to see. Cassel was 5/12 for 95 yards, 2 TDs and 2 INTs.
7. Kansas City Beats Indianapolis, 2011
It was the Chiefs’ second win of the 2011 season, but the way in which we won shouldn’t be forgotten. Down 24-7 with a little over a minute left in the second quarter, the Chiefs would go on to win 28-24 behind Cassel’s performance of 21/29 passing for 257 yards and 4 TDs.
6. Cassel’s Lone Playoff Game
In 2010, Cassel had the best year of his career that culminated in his only playoff appearance as a starter. Unfortunately, it was a blowout at home and the beginning of the end for Cassel in KC. And although you can’t blame the whole outcome on him, his stat line was nothing short of awful: 9/18, 70 yards, 3 INTs.
5. Yelling Match with Todd Haley
After a busted screen and a throw into the dirt in the red zone, Cassel left the field in the Chiefs game against Minnesota in 2011. After some heated words were exchanged on the sideline, Cassel and head coach Todd Haley were visibly shown on the broadcast shouting at each other, with full back Le’Ron McClain seemingly separating the two. This exchange brought on a lot of criticism by national media, but Haley’s tactics seemed to work, and Cassel would go on to lead the Chiefs to their first victory of the 2011 season.
4. Cassel Gets Booed at All-Star Game
With the MLB All-Star Game held in Kansas City, and such festivities like the celebrity softball game, it only made sense to invite local stars to the event. And being the quarterback of the host city’s football team qualifies one as a celebrity – not to mention his background in baseball. But the crowd, in an event that foreshadowed much of the fan frustration this season, booed Cassel when he was introduced at Kauffman for the celebrity softball game. Although, it must be stated his at bats were generally met with ‘polite applause‘.
3. Cassel the Good Guy
Cassel is truly a good person, and this fact shouldn’t be forgotten because of his poor performance on the football field. From helping rebuild homes in my city of Joplin after the tornado (good ESPN video on it here) to saving his neighbor’s life from a house fire, Cassel is a good guy.
2. Cassel’s Last Game as Starter
The close 9-6 loss to the Ravens at Arrowhead will, unless Romeo Crennel backs out of his commitment to Brady Quinn going forward, be Cassel’s last game as starter for the season, and possibly ever in Kansas City. It will also be known as the game some Chiefs fans cheered Cassel’s injury/Charles’ catch and run/Quinn entering the game (depending on which explanation you want to believe and what right tackle you want to ignore). It was also the game a plane flew over Arrowhead with a banner saying “Fire Pioli. Bench Cassel.” And with that controversy surrounding Cassel’s concussion, his era in KC came to an end.
1. Game after Appendectomy
Out of respect to Cassel, I felt I’d end the list with a positive. Cassel might not have been the best QB in the world, but no one could question his will or his toughness. Both were on display during week 15 last year against the St. Louis Rams. Appearing a little over a week after having an emergency appendectomy following his appendix rupturing, Cassel was back out there to lead the Chiefs to a 27-13 victory. He was 15-29 for 184 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT, but the image we should take away from that game is Cassel scrambling for a first down, taking a hit, popping up and signaling the first down.
Cassel’s time in Kansas City hasn’t been defined by success. The Chiefs only have one winning season since he arrived from New England in 2009. But the end of any era should be experienced with a bit of reminiscing. It’s like if you hated high school but then got sentimental while listening to Good Riddance by Green Day during graduation.
You might not want it back, but you can appreciate the experience.