The dog days of summer are upon us. For a football fan, those long, smoldering, sweltering days are even longer because there is virtually nothing – nada, zilch, zero – football related going on, that is worthwhile. If you’re a football fan, you’re resigned to watching internet videos of Chad “Ochocinco-Jailtime-Woman Beater” Johnson running 24 miles an hour on a treadmill. You find yourself reading yet another “power ranking” article or ridiculous countdown of the best football movies on NFL.com because there’s nothing else to do. You’re following the Aaron Hernandez case like it’s an episode of CSI-Foxboro. Hell, if you’re a Kansas City Chiefs fan, you find yourself wading through the countless articles by Patrick, Ladner, Lyle, Miles, Nathan, Nick, Stacy, occasionally, Merlin and of course, myself, hoping one of us will say something to piss you off, so you can let your voice be heard in the comments section. Yes, these dog days of summer are long. They’re miserable, and if you’re a football fan worth your weight, you dread them because they seem to go on forever until your team hits the field in September.
As Chiefs fans, these days seem even longer because this year, perhaps more than any year in recent memory, there’s a glimmer of hope.
Yes, I know we Chiefs’ fans say that every year. Trust me, my wife constantly reminds me that I’m like those guys in the bleachers at the beginning of the movie “Major League” when they say – yet again – “maybe this year is the year.” I know that after last season Chiefs’ fans everywhere have a bitter taste in their mouth, somewhat akin to rotten eggs mixed with despair and a touch of bitterness. I know that just like many of you, going into last preseason after the way the regular season ended (2-1 under then interim coach Romeo Crennel) I had high hopes.
Those hopes were encouraged with every report out of One Arrowhead Drive about the “ahead of schedule” rehab of the “ACL Trio” who were so instrumental to the team’s victory. Those hopes sprang even higher with the reports from training camp about what an absolute stud Jon Baldwin was in the absence of the franchise tagged Dwayne Bowe. Hell, after the first preseason game in which the Chiefs scored on consecutive drives with the first team offense, looking like the best team fielded by Kansas City in 10 years, I went to work and crowned them AFC West Champs around the water cooler. (Actually, we don’t have a water cooler, what with government cut backs and all. We just talk about football in the cubicles where we work. But you get the idea.)
Like you, however, I tasted defeat week after week. Week One I was traveling with work and watched victory turn to miserable defeat on my phone as I traveled by bus from Oklahoma City to Enid, Oklahoma. Although I was home, watching the following week’s game on what I like to call “70 inches of viewing pleasure,” it didn’t help make those losses any easier to take. All I could think was “what happened to the team that beat the undefeated Packers last season? What happened to the team we saw handle the Cardinals in the preseason?” I don’t know if there are answers to those questions. It just was what it was. There were flashes of brilliance last year. Not many, but a few. Charles ripping off a 91 yard TD run against the “Who Dat” nation comes to mind. But those were few and far between. And let’s be honest, as good as #25 is, he couldn’t carry the team for the whole season.
It was the worst season in franchise history. The pundits couldn’t stop talking about it and they said those very words over and over and over again. I mean, the team even had a murder-suicide. You don’t get much worse than dealing with that kind of tragedy.
In the end, the “Save Our Chiefs” movement (and really every Chiefs fan) got what they wanted. Their hard earned money to hire the plane to fly over Arrowhead demanding the benching of Cassel and the firing of Pioli was not wasted. Both of those things came to pass. The coaching staff turned over for the fourth time in seven years. The Chiefs received their third general manager in that time as well.
And here we are again.
You see, fellow Chiefs fans, that’s what’s good about these dog days of summer. They reset the score. Right now, as we move into July, everyone is equal again. The Denver Broncos and the New England Patriots may be the powerhouses in the AFC on paper, but right now, they have the same record as the Chiefs. Everyone is tied for first place and nobody is on injured reserve. Everyone is tied for first place and hope springs eternal once more.
So here we are once again, fellow Addicts. It seems like a little bit of déjà vu all over again, doesn’t it? New coach, new faces, big hopes abound in Kansas City. We, as Chiefs fans, find ourselves hopeful again with a new quarterback, a new receiving corps, a new offense and new…well, hope. Will this year’s team finally realize their potential? Will the hard work pay off for this team when it has failed them so many times in the past?
I guess time will only tell, my friends, but for now, I’ll keep trying to provide you with food for your football brain to get you through these dog days of summer.
Until next time, Addicts!