I am excited, there’s no mistaking it.
But, I do think it is important to remember that every NFL fan thinks their team will be a world-beater at this point of the offseason (except maybe in Jacksonville). Every team has added pieces and made adjustments. We’ve caught a glimpse of each team playing like titans against air and practice-squad tryouts in no pads.
But, after spending two consecutive offseasons seeing every rational reason to expect the Chiefs to be a playoff team, I am boycotting making any type of prediction this year, and, indeed, maybe ever.
As Rob Riggle says, “Never pick with your heart, especially if you’re from Kansas City.” Towards the tail end of the 2012 season, even my heart wouldn’t predict a win out of our dumpster fire team.
But my prediction ban isn’t only about twice-bitten-thrice-shyness, it’s about understanding what is really important in this league: wins. Pure and simple. The Chiefs have a boatload of Pro Bowlers and a mastermind coach (finally). But, I will say nothing about this team’s future successes until it shows me something on the field. Miami Guard Rickie Incognito said it really well when talking to Yahoo! Sports last week.
“Yeah, I have noticed that everyone’s looking through rosy-colored glasses,” Incognito says. “It’s a combination of things: We got more talented. We have our starting quarterback set. Our coaches and coordinators are back for another year. And we’ve got a good foundation here, and we work our asses off.
“But you know what? I definitely need to see it on the field before [talking about it]. I get it from my friends: ‘How are you gonna do this year?’ It’s real easy to say in May, ‘Hey, we’re gonna win the Super Bowl.’ But until you get to training camp and put on the pads and fight through injuries and tough losses and define yourself as a team, you really don’t know how good you are.”
It doesn’t matter that (aptly named) Incognito doesn’t know that the expression is “rose-colored glasses,” he’s right about teams and expectations.
Right now, all we know is that the Chiefs have some good pieces. We have yet to find out if they are a good team. The Chiefs were one of the most talented squads last year, but players on both sides of the ball would maddeningly crumble late in games. I understand that the team had historically bad coaching in 2012, but it wasn’t a simple matter of misfortune. The Chiefs were a bad team last year.
And so I want to hope. Even moves that I’m not 100 percent on board for like the trade for QB Alex Smith have made the Chiefs a better, more complete group. Like many of you, I spend an unhealthy amount of time scouring the glowing reports from OTA’s and watching highlights. I’ve seen so much reason for hope that I can already taste the playoff wins.
“But it’s an illusion!” I yell at myself periodically. Yes, we have a few highlights, but if you really want an impressive reel, you should make a “The NFL vs. The Chiefs 2012” compilation. Now that would be some good football. Smith is efficient but he is still going to throw interceptions this year. The Chiefs’ much-improved defense will still concede touchdowns. The team will lose games.
And so I’m done predicting. I actually wrote a post last year entitled “Hillis Could End Up Being The Chiefs’ Most Important 2011 Signing” and I’m sure that I will inevitably write far more nonsense before this season begins, but I pledge that I will not make any guesses about the team’s on-the-field success until they actually show me something on the field.
Potential does not win games. Grit, physicality, smarts, preparedness and a little bit of luck will get you through the day.
One thing is for darn sure, however. I cannot wait to see what this group has got.