Chiefs vs. Steelers: Finding Meaning In A “Meaningless” Preseason Game


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The Kansas City Chiefs’ preseason is halfway over, which means we’re two more “meaningless games” away from the start of the 2013 regular season.

I say meaningless because the preseason really has a bad rap among many NFL fans. Chiefs fans, in particular, are pretty smart and understand just how valuable the four preseason games can be for evaluation. In general though, most NFL fans just don’t get that aspect of the preseason.

There’s a good amount of strategy involved in the preseason, and yes, I’m talking about game strategy.

You want to get your starters reps to get them back in game-shape, but you also don’t want to risk injuring them. You want to execute your game plans and work on perfecting your schemes, but you also don’t want to give away too much to future opponents.

As a coach, you really have to do a balancing act between playing it cautious, and wanting to get reps and work out the kinks. Chiefs’ head coach Andy Reid discussed his plans for the upcoming preseason game against the Pittsburgh Steelers with the media, and he talked about this very topic:

"“Listen, we will be as simple as we can but still work our execution. It’s a long season. I don’t think anybody in the league goes out and shows everything that they’ve got. That’s not something they do, but at the same time you want to make sure you execute. I’m sure Pittsburgh feels the same way, and we feel the same way. We’re going to attempt to do that.”"

There’s so little on the line in regard to wins and losses, yet at the same time, as a coach, there’s so much on the line.

Injuries and even careers could be at stake all in the pursuit of a meaningless win, but that evaluation time is so important for overall makeup of the team. Reid also discussed that with the media when asked if he thought four preseason games was too many in the NFL:

"I’m okay with it just because it gives me time to evaluate. In this case, it’s a good time to learn about the players you have here and to learn how you do things and then to evaluate. And when you’ve been in a place for a while you have a chance to evaluate the young guys. The thing you don’t want to do with camp, you have all of these numbers with 90 kids, and you don’t want to miss. That’s the objective. You want to make sure you keep the best group of players that you possibly can for the final cut, and it takes a little time to evaluate. We try to do that the best we can.”"

I’ve said it all along here at Arrowhead Addict, and the sentiment hasn’t changed. Preseason football may be meaningless from a wins and losses standpoint, but there is always a ton on the line.

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In the Chiefs’ case, that’s amplified because there are so many new faces in the program, including the head coach and quarterback—arguably the two most important people in an NFL franchise.

Nothing is on the line, yet everything is on the line.

That’s the beauty of the preseason.

Note: Quotes via Chiefs Communications