The Intangibles


Intangibles. NFL scouts know exactly what it means, but few– if any– can describe it. Though it’s one of the least understood NFL rating factors, it is universally considered one of the most important.

The players’ intangibles.

Howie Long may have said it best: “I don’t know what it is but I know it when I see it.”

And so it goes.

I’m convinced that for a player to succeed in the NFL he must have those intangibles. Many Chiefs players in the past have certainly had it. Some currently active players on the Kansas City roster have it as well. Some do not.

I certainly think the great Len Dawson had those intangibles. Tony Gonzalez has them. No question Derrick Thomas had more intangibles than any Chief I can think of.

But what about current players?

I don’t think Matt has them. With Matt, they seem to come and go. Dwayne Bowe could use more some days. Jamaal Charles has all he needs, if that is possible. Thomas Jones may have had them, but he doesn’t anymore.

Tamba Hali has a goodly amount. Kyle Orton may, if he is given a chance to play on a team that welcomes him. He didn’t enjoy that welcome feeling with Chicago or Denver so I don’t feel he has had a chance to display them yet. I hope, somehow, we give him the chance to do that in Kansas City.

Good God, I can say without hesitation, that Priest Holmes had them. I could feel those intangibles every time I sat in my seats at Arrowhead and watched him sail high over a defensive line.

Training camp can be a good time to evaluate a player’s intangibles if you are a simple tailgater like me. Terrence Copper appeared to have them during his camps. It never appeared to me that Brodie Croyle did in any of his.

Coaches can have intangibles, though I’m not sure they are used in any rating system for them.

Dick Vermeil had them for sure. It seemed to many, including me, that Herm Edwards had them, but he didn’t. I am still not sure about Todd Haley, so I guess that means he didn’t. I certainly think that Romeo has them to a degree, but I would have to spend time with him to know for sure. He is hard to read, it will take some time. Here’s hoping he gets it.

Even NFL stadiums have intangibles. Arrowhead Stadium has the most. Some, like Soldier Field, have historic intangibles but have lost something the last ten years or so. Some , like Lucas Oil Stadium, never had them and never will.

It’s difficult to explain the intangibles of a stadium. Arrowhead has a soul.

Sitting in my little corner at Arrowhead, I get to talk to quite a few players and evalute their intangibles both on and off the field. I’d like to think I have gotten pretty good at it over the years, but I haven’t really. Evaluating a players intangibles is like dressing sharply. Either you can do it or you can’t. And if you can’t there isn’t a hell of a lot you can do about it.

My point to all of this? I do not think the Kansas City Chiefs are a team that many consider to score high on the intangible rating.

Maybe its a lack of cohesiveness or direction. Maybe it’s losing season after losing season. Maybe our players just never had it to begin with.

It can be difficult to define intangibles.

Each time I drive through those gates of Arrowhead I can see, feel and even taste her soul.

Arrowhead is excitement. Arrowhead is happiness. Arrowhead is pride. As we proved this year to the Packers, no matter who you are, no matter how many games you have won, no matter how bad you want to win…

Well, Arrowhead is a always a place you can lose.

If you have never been to Arrowhead you won’t know what I am talking about. And that, I guess, is the best definition of all.