Hello, Addicts. In case anyone has been keeping track, today is a special day. One year ago today, I published my first article for Arrowhead Addict. It was a simple piece and the first of four that I wrote for now managing editor Patrick Allen as part of my “trial process.” Click here if you want to read it.
Being that I started as a weekend staff writer and have risen to co-editor of this site, I thought I would take you on a one-year recap of this team, this site and the Addicts.
One year ago, this team was in a very different place. Uncertainty surrounded the franchise. Owner and CEO Clark Hunt had just hired recently fired-from-Philadelphia head coach Andy Reid to lead the Chiefs, fresh off the worst season in its storied history. Additionally, he brought in John Dorsey to run the personnel side and replace the much maligned Scott Pioli as general manager. In this piece – also part of my probation — I talked about how Clark Hunt finally was taking control of this team and doing things to make it better.
When I came on at AA, rumors were already swirling about an impending trade for Alex Smith. In fact, the rumors ended just after I arrived here, though the trade wasn’t official until the new league year began March 12, 2013. Nobody knew what the compensation for that trade would be, nor was anybody sure that the Chiefs were the team he would call his own in 2013. During my first couple of weeks at AA, most of the talk was about who the Chiefs should take with their No. 1 overall pick, the first time in franchise history the Chiefs had to ask themselves that question.
Of course, a huge number of Addicts still wanted the Chiefs to take Geno Smith with the first pick in the draft. Countless words were written about how drafting a quarterback first was the only way to go and the Chiefs needed — yes, the word used by commenters and some AA writers alike (I’m looking at you, Lyle Graversen) was needed – to bring the younger Smith into the fold in order to maintain success into the future.
As a fan of Alex Smith for quite some time, I was happy with the trade then, and I think it worked well for the Chiefs thus far. But, to show the comparison between the two Smiths, I wrote “The Kansas City Quarterback Debate: A Tale of Two Smiths” to show our readers the difference between the two signal callers. It remains one of my favorite pieces that I’ve done.
As the offseason melted into the preseason, hope continued to mount for what this team could be. However, as often happens in online communities, there were still the nay-sayers about Alex Smith. Hell, after this year, there are still people who think he’s a bum. Sometimes you just can’t change people’s minds. But I tried with a piece I called, “Football for Dummies – The 2013 Kansas City Chiefs Edition.”
I’m going to pause, and say that I truly enjoy the comments our readers provide. After all, if it wasn’t for the Addicts reading what I and the rest of the AA staff put out every day, then there wouldn’t be much point in all of this. At the end of the day, the Chiefs truly have the best fanbase in the NFL and you guys show it every day by taking time to not only read what we write, but also throw your 2 cents into the ring. We thrive off that feedback and are glad to mix it up with you on any topic.
That’s how I feel now. But it wasn’t always that way.
Over the past year, in addition to growing as a writer and a manager of this site, I also had to grow as a person and take criticism better — not so much about my writing, but just trying to understand that everybody has a passionate opinion about this team, and everybody thinks their opinion is the right one. That includes topics from Alex Smith to Andy Reid and everything in between. I’ve argued ’til I was blue in the face and my fingers hurt from typing so hard — which I do when I’m angry — and yet, it didn’t change anything. It’s actually taken a couple of “heart-to-heart” conversations between myself and Patrick to get me to see what I should have seen all along: as passionate as I am about this team, you guys are just as passionate. It’s the immovable object meeting the unstoppable force when we argue. It’s all good. But, I digress.
As the season drew ever closer, it appeared that, as sometimes happens in football and life, we were going to lose one of our own to bigger and better things. Patrick Allen — the guy who hired me, mentored me and made me a better writer — was moving up in the FanSided company and wouldn’t be the editor of AA. The company brought Andrew Kulha on board to run the site and that caused my role at AA to expand a bit.
When Patrick ran AA, he did so with a focus I haven’t seen from many people. He didn’t miss anything. It was like he had a microphone in every office talking about the Chiefs and a robot monitoring all social networks, sports networks and any other network covering the Chiefs. If something Chiefs-related happened, he was on it.
When Andrew came on board, he issued an open invitation to any staff member who wanted to do more writing. As I had been itching to get more involved with things, I jumped at the opportunity.
I started small, writing “Five Keys to Victory” posts every week and then moderating the “Live Game Threads” that we run every game day during the pre- and regular season. However, as news stories were being released, I began grabbing them and posting them as well.
Before the season started, my wife and I made plans to make our first trip to Kansas City and see the Chiefs, live in Arrowhead. I picked the Week 6 matchup against the Raiders because it fit our schedule, and it was a division game. At the time, I had no idea that it would be an attempt — successful at that — to break the world record for loudest open air stadium. A record, mind you, that would still stand if the stadium in the Pacific Northwest wasn’t almost entirely enclosed. Anyway, on that trip I also got to meet AA copy editor Natasha Sims for the first time — my first “co-worker” I met in person. Here’s the piece I did after that trip.
As the roller coaster ride that was the 2013 continued, I found myself continually being the voice for Alex Smith in my articles, in the comments and on AA Radio, the Arrowhead Addict podcast I took over after the third week of the season.
As the season came to a close, Andrew moved on, leaving the need for new leadership at AA. Like the Chiefs, who restructured the leadership in 2013, AA moved to a new system with two co-editors, which brought in Ben Nielsen. It was the best possible decision they could have made for the site.
As we move forward through the 2014 offseason and I begin my second year with this site, I’d just like to say “thank you.” Thank you to Lyle, Laddie, Stacy and Nicholas for providing your quality content every single week, as well as supporting Ben and me in our endeavor to keep this train running. Thank you to Natasha and Franklin, our copy editors, for never allowing us to look stupid and making sure the CHIEFS aren’t the “Chefs” or the “Cheifs.” You guys don’t see what they do, but trust me, you’d know if they weren’t here.
Thank you to our junior writers and the guys who came before like Merlin and Double D. Thank you to Ben for coming in and hitting the ground running. Thank you to my wife, Anabel, who only loves football because of me but puts up with me constantly running story ideas and podcast show ideas past her when she wants to do nothing more than read her book; love you babe. A huge thank you to Patrick for not only relenting to my incessant stalking to give me a shot at writing for AA, but believing in me when the time came for me to step up as an editor.
Finally, Addicts, thank you. Thank you for all your comments — positive and negative — on all our content here at AA. As I said before, without the regulars like berttheclock, KCMikeG, jimfromkc, Dave, and yes…even Micah, the loudest dissenting Alex Smith voice, this site wouldn’t work. I only named five of you, but there are literally — and I’m not making this up – 18,000 times more of you who I didn’t name who are just as important. Yes, Addicts, as of this writing, in the month of February, there have been 97,744 unique visitors to this site. AA, the staff and I aren’t what we are without you.
Thanks for making AA the best damn Chiefs site on the web.
Thank you again and GO CHIEFS!