I’m feeling refreshed after being spared from another Chiefs’ loss this past weekend. It’s cheap, I know. They didn’t lose because they didn’t play, but when your favorite team is 1-5, you’ll enjoy avoiding a loss any way you can.
The entire organization was under a microscope all last week. It’s been rumored that Scott Pioli’s job may be in jeopardy. We’ve also heard reports that Dwayne Bowe is demanding a trade. A healthy Matt Cassel has been supplanted by Brady Quinn. These are all symptoms that everything’s in disarray at One Arrowhead Drive. Fans are fed up and are taking matters into their own hands. Several social networking campaigns have been mounted to create an organizational tipping point. One of the most common memes in fan circles is the idea that the best thing for this franchise is to lose all of its remaining games. Doing so would put the Chiefs in position to find their quarterback-of-the-future in next year’s NFL Draft. Last year it was “Suck for Luck”. This year it’s either “Blow For Barkley”, “Give Up for Geno”, or “Tank for Tyler”. Tyler Bray or Wilson for the record, not the Chiefs’ failed former third-round draft pick. Notice I didn’t mention “Lose for Landry” in the aforementioned company (I want no parts of him).
What I’m about to say may rub some fan circles the wrong way, but I’ve been here before. I survived the first article I wrote about Matt Cassel, and I was certain that would get me run out of town on a rail. You’re reading this, so I survived. Call me the Gloria Gaynor of the Gridiron Gallery.
Okay, I’m going to stop stalling now. Here goes nothing.
Kansas City Chiefs fans should NEVER root for losses.
You’re still here? Good, let’s continue. I hope you’ll hear me out.
Reason #1: It’s counter-intuitive
As fans, we’re naturally inclined to cheer for this football team. How does one suddenly start celebrating turnovers, missed field goals, and being gashed by an opposing offense? My love for this franchise won’t allow me to. In Game 3, when the Saints stretched their lead to 18 points, I know you were screaming at the TV as you watched Jamaal Charles break a run for a 91-yard touchdown. Those are the moments we live for as fans. You mean to tell me you’re going to stare blankly into the television set the next time he takes one to the house? That’s nonsense and the both of us know it. You can continue to root for this franchise while you also demand that they get back on the right track. Those two things are not mutually exclusive.
Reason #2: The Pride Factor
There’s no good way to convince NFL players to lay down and look to the future. The league is comprised of professional and prideful men. Men on the field, along the sideline, and in the booth. Losing seems to be a foregone conclusion in Kansas City anymore, but players certainly aren’t happy about it. Chiefs players want to win. Prolonged futility for future possibilities isn’t persuasive. The NFL’s life expectancy is 5 years. These athletes are one hit away from never seeing the field again.
Reason #3: Players have options
The last thing the Chiefs’ front office wants is to create compelling reasons for players, with little time left on their contracts, to lose hope. Does anyone think Dwayne Bowe would prefer to be patient with Kansas City over, say, joining Tom Brady in New England? He’s reportedly demanding a trade. None of us know how true those reports are, but it’s clear he’s had his fill of this failed franchise. Bowe’s only been part of one winning season since being drafted by the Chiefs in 2007. The “maybe next year” mantra will only play for so long with this team’s star players. Selling the future will be much tougher if the Chiefs’ brass can’t retain the core of this football team. You can only backfill so much talent on an annual basis. If players start defecting to escape the stench, we could be staring at another multiple-year rebuilding project.
Reason #4: It’s a half-measure
The immediate return on an awful NFL season is a premium draft pick. Teams from the previous year with the poorest records are slotted on a worst-to-first basis (the lowest draft pick is awarded to the team that wins the Superbowl). Having one of the first ten picks in next April’s draft will put a team in great position to select a quarterback. We’ll have to wait and see who declares, but the early mocks have as many as three quarterbacks being taken in the top 10. When the draft rolls around, about six months from now, it will have been 30 years since the last time the Chiefs drafted a quarterback in the first round. It’s a well known secret that every man, woman, child, and dog who roots for this franchise wants said franchise to draft an elite quarterback prospect.
Losing will put the Chiefs in position, but without the right man in charge (who shares the desire for an elite quarterback prospect) we could very well wind up with another #1 along the defensive line. That would add insult to injury and pin the tail on the point I’ve been trying to make throughout the article. Is Tyson Jackson not the clearest example of why having a top pick can be a dangerous thing, in the wrong hands? Scott Pioli has never used an early draft pick on a quarterback. If he’s still here in the spring, are you sure the losses you rooted for will have the desired effect? Be careful what you wish for. Star Lotulelei may be a valued customer at Gates & Sons this time next year.
I believe this team needs an elite quarterback to take the next step in the NFL. The supporting cast he’ll be surrounded by can give him the help he’ll need to turn this team into a contender. If we have the right general manager in the War Room come April, we won’t need to pile up losses. That general manager will understand the need to have a franchise quarterback in the NFL. I suspect he’ll also do whatever it takes to acquire one. That’s what we should all be rooting for — the right leadership. Losing might expedite a separation of employment for the wrong leadership, but it won’t guarantee us that a better general manager will succeed Scott Pioli. The only thing that will create the kind of change we all want to see is better decision making, on a consistent basis, at the top of the organization. Clark Hunt has to identify and obtain the right general manager. The right general manager has to find the right head coach and the right quarterback for this team. When all of that happens, the Kansas City Chiefs will be headed in the right direction.
Root for new leadership, not losses. Losses don’t always constitute better decisions. The Chiefs lost 26 games in the last two years of Carl Peterson’s administration. We wound up with Scott Pioli. Get the picture? I’m sure all of this will be unconvincing to some of you. I’m okay with that. Do what you have to do, but for the love of all that is holy, please don’t root for the Chiefs to lose this coming Sunday. That’s just uncivilized. Death to the silver and blech!
Until next time, Addicts!