After starting the season 9-0, no one associated with the Kansas City Chiefs envisioned a first-round playoff exit.
Instead of memories of postseason glory, fans will have visions of T.Y. Hilton trampling all over a depleted Kansas City secondary as the Chiefs surrendered the second biggest comeback in playoff history; losing to the Indianapolis Colts 45-44.
While dwelling on the loss to the Colts will be the initial reaction, in time, fans will see that this team has the pieces in place to be a Super Bowl contender moving forward.
“I certainly think we have the pieces here, no doubt in my mind that we have what it takes,” quarterback Alex Smith told reporters Monday. “I think the guys will tell you even last night, more so than ever we feel like that we’re capable of not only just getting to the playoffs but going deep into them and making runs. We have that kind of talent here, we have the group together to do that.”
Making a championship team is a complicated formula, and it starts at the top of an organization.
After a 2-14 campaign in 2012, Kansas City owner Clark Hunt made some changes. He got rid of head coach Romeo Crennel and fired general manager Scott Pioli. He then hired head coach Andy Reid and John Dorsey to replace them, and the move paid off dividends immediately. Due in part to Hunt’s hands off ability when he found the right contingent of football people.
The Chiefs already had a strong running game and a stingy defense, but one thing they were missing was a successful NFL quarterback. Dorsey found that in Smith. Under center in Kansas City, Smith showed what he was able to do in San Francisco the past few seasons: keep control of the ball. Smith threw for 23 touchdowns and only seven interceptions in 2013.
Losing to the Colts is sure to leave a bad taste in the Chiefs’ mouths. A taste that can only be erased with redemption in 2014.
“You know, I certainly think you use this as drive,” Smith said. “I think it’s good to be playing in these types of games. I think these types of games are contagious. You go back to playing in just regular season games, you want that itch, you have that urge to try to get to these types of games, these playoff games – the stage, the feeling is just so much different. With that, I think you use it. Certainly I think the foundation has been laid for us as a team.”