Big Matt’s Chiefs Chat: The 2010 I Was Wrong Awards
By Big Matt
We all want to believe we know what we’re talking about. We want to trust our instincts, feel secure in our football intelligence, and know that our years of watching this team give us an insight into how it operates. That should be how it works, right? And to some extent, it does. There are definitely varying levels of Chiefs knowledge, and football knowledge in general. But no matter how much we think we know, or how smart we think we are, we’re still wrong all the time.
And it isn’t just us. Talking heads, announcers, journalists, nobody can predict game outcomes with any consistency. Experts’ preseason predictions are inevitably laughable. Even GMs, those few choice slimeballs at the absolute top level of the football hierarchy, make horrendous mistakes every year. The draft has been in existence for over 70 years and its still a total crapshoot. Check out the car Tyson Jackson is driving if you don’t believe me.
Everyone loves to shout it from the rooftops when they get something right. Understandable. But its important to acknowledge the other side too. I am wrong about many things every season. The IWW Awards is my annual acknowledgment of that. So without further ado, here are my biggest Chiefs gaffes from the year 2010:
#5) I predicted Alex Magee would get 5 sacks this season. I was wrong.– My reaction to Magee was essentially a masters course in how to be a stupid fan. I hated the pick before I’d ever seen him play. Then he showed some limited pass-rush promise and I completely overreacted and predicted great things. I really thought he’d eventually seize a starting spot. Or barring that, could at least mould himself into the next Jimmy Wilkerson. Instead the Chiefs lost confidence in Magee so quickly he was flipped for a song. A guy one year removed from being a high third round pick was given away to upgrade our 6th round pick to a 5th. You could get a better deal trading in a VCR.
I think giving Magee away like that was a mistake, but in any case my sack prediction was way off. This is Eddie Freeman all over again. My fellow Mageeks and I will be having a funeral service for Magee’s Chiefs career the next time I’m in town. I’ve booked the back room at TGI Fridays. Alex would’ve wanted it that way (tears up).
#4) I thought Thom Jones was a good signing. I was wrong. – It seemed like a pretty solid move bringing in Thomas Jones. Jamaal Charles needed a backup. Jones could pick up about 10 carries a game and convert some short first downs. Nice and easy, right?
It should have been. Instead Jones’ season unfolded like a ghastly, old-school nightmare. He was like a Bam Morris throwback. Slow, low YPC, “short yardage” back who actually got worse in short yardage situations. Yet he kept starting, and he kept getting the ball. And most frustrating of all, the Chiefs PR machine was able to brainwash half the fan base into thinking Jones was somehow responsible for our running game’s success*. NFL front office spin makes me want to barf blood.
*Case in point: Before the playoff game there was a shot of Jones and Charles, followed up by a graphic listing their combined total yards (and nothing else). The announcers gushed about how great the duo was, never once touching any individual stats. Which do you think is more likely, that the Chiefs told them to do this, or that these announcers, of their own volition, decided one of the least effective backs in the league was deserving of half the praise for our running game’s success? Keep in mind Jones was in the midst of a catastrophic breakdown and had been holding the offense back for months. Nobody outside of Kansas City thought he was used properly. It’s obvious what happened there. After a tremendous season like Charles’, and a total meltdown like Jones’, the spin doctors were trying to create positive press for Jones. Disgusting.
When a running back averages 3.66 YPC over the course of the year and 2.9 YPC in the second half of the season, its pretty apparent he wasn’t a good signing. Even assuming Charles needed to split touches 50/50 (which is foolish to assume), the plan had to have been to get something positive out of the other half of those carries. That didn’t happen. Everyone thought signing Jones was such a great move. I for one can admit I was wrong about that.
#3) I was certain Scott Pioli would address the front 7 in the 2010 draft. I was wrong. – I thought I had a pretty good read on Pioli heading into the 2010 draft. His immediate switch to the 3-4 combined with his desperate reaches for 3-4 linemen in the ’09 draft seemed to confirm what he was all about. And seeing as how the front seven was perceived as such a glaring weakness heading into 2010, I figured we’d see more of the same from Pioli. I was positive at least one of our money picks (rds 1-3), and probably more, would be spent on the front seven. It just seemed so obvious to me.
Instead Pioli threw the ultimate curveball and went heavy on the little guys. I still have major questions about the wisdom of both second round picks, but the fact remains I was wrong about having a bead on Pioli. I have no such thing. I’m not going to pretend to have any idea what he’ll do in the 2011 draft. Well, that’s not entirely true. I know he’ll pick team captains….with perfect attendance……who made Eagle Scout in junior high. But who knows what position they’ll play? Who knows what Pioli really considers our weaknesses? Nothing would surprise me at this point.
#2) I thought Charlie Weis would have much more success this year than Pants Crennel. I was wrong. – I really wasn’t expecting much from Romeo Crennel this year. Our defense had been bad for a decade and my last memories of Crennel were of him looking in over his head on the Cleveland sideline. Weis, on the other hand, had always run good offenses and seemed to be inheriting a unit on the rise. I figured our offense would take a major step forward in 2010 while our defense spent yet another season in the bottom third of the league.
Here we are a year later with Weis headed out of town and Crennel in charge of a resurgent defense. The offense and the defense performed at roughly the same level over the course of the season, but the defense made bigger strides and looks to be in far better shape for next year. I assumed we’d all be praising Weis right now and wondering if Crennel was really good at his job. Instead the opposite has happened. All hail Pants Crennel.
As a sidenote, let me just say how impressed I am that Weis’ son was able to earn an assistant coaching job at the very school that hired his father. What a strange coincidence! Can’t wait to see Weis jr. coordinate offenses in the NFL some day. He’s obviously got a major aptitude for it. Apparently his high school gym teacher gave him VERY high marks.
#1) I thought the Chiefs would go 7-9 this year. I was wrong. – We all know about the easy schedule and the playoff collapse. Those things are both very real, and should both be taken into account when assessing just how good the Chiefs really were this year.
Still, I knew our schedule was easy before the season started. We all did. .500 still seemed beyond our grasp. I liked Haley on a personal level, and thought he could improve, but I certainly didn’t think he was ready to lead our team to a division title. Sometimes being wrong is pretty cool. Like back when Paddy thought syphillis wasn’t curable. He went on quite a bender when he found out he was wrong about that one. I’ve never seen a guy so happy.
Well Chiefs, as Aaron Neville would say, I don’t know much. But I know I love you. And that may be all I need to know.
What say you, Addicts? What were you wrong about this season?