2014 Gives Perspective of What’s to Come


The 2014 season has been one of unexpected twists, turns, wins, and losses for the Kansas City Chiefs. At 8-6 they are on the fringe of the playoff picture, like many projected before the season. Factor in the absence of five or six starters and 8-6 should be even more impressive than disappointing, but a 7-3 start changed expectations.

Despite the subsequent three-game slide, the Chiefs still control their destiny. We’re to the point that every game is a playoff game, against playoff-caliber opponents. For Kansas City to make the Super Bowl, they’ll need to win five of those games in a row. It’s like a video game. You’ve got one life with six levels to go, and if luck falls perfectly, you’ll find a bonus life in the next two levels. Most likely though, they’ll have to win outright amidst crazy conditions:

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Week 16: On the road in Pittsburgh – The Steeler’s offense looks unstoppable, and the Chiefs have already struggled to stop the run. Is this franchise ready to let Todd Haley ruin another season though?

Week 17: At home against San Diego – Another classic showdown against the Chargers, this time with everything on the line for both teams. The thought of Phillip Rivers coming to Kansas City and stealing a playoff berth is abhorrent.

Wild Card Round: On the road in Andrew Luck’s House of Horrors – It seems the playoff win drought just has to run through Indianapolis.

Divisional Round: On the road again, possibly in Denver – Only beat Peyton Manning once in 14 tries? You’ve got to win that second one eventually, right?

AFC Championship: On the road yet again, probably in New England – Remember in September when the Chiefs publicly humiliated a playoff legend in front of everybody? So does Tom Brady and the rest of the Patriots. I do like the odds here better than at Denver, but those two games may flip-flop depending what happens these next couple of weeks.

Super XLIX: Who knows who the opponent is by this point, but you’re pretty excited to have made it to the final boss. You hope for the best, but don’t really think about the emotions that will come after the game ends. I’d imagine this including a very Royals-esque feeling of destiny.

Now this scenario is not to be a downer, or discourage belief the Chiefs can win all these games. Realistic odds just tell us that it would take one hell of a finish for Kansas City to come out on top of the NFL this season. Let’s just see how far they can take this marathon.

This is still a re-build though..

Now whether the Chiefs win or lose this week, there must be an acknowledgement that these past two seasons have been a makeover to the team’s identity. It just so happens the team is talented enough to compete while general manager John Dorsey re-shapes the bottom and middle of the roster.

For perspective, of the 15 players remaining from the 2012 apocolypse, two are special teamers (Colquitt and Gafford), five were rookies (Hemingway, Poe, Stephenson, Allen, and Gray), and eight are veteran play-makers (Charles, Bowe, Bailey, Hali, Houston, Hudson, Berry, and Derrick Johnson). Since Dorsey and Andy Reid have taken over, the talent already in place has improved, as well as the roster surrounding that talent (Alex Smith, Sean Smith, Husain Abdullah, etc).

In addition, young players drafted or signed via free agency have begun to develop and make real contributions in quality situations. Travis Kelce leads the team
in receiving. Zach Fulton is your full-time right guard. Ron Parker is everywhere. Knile Davis makes plays. De’Anthony Thomas continues to find his place. Eric Fisher is erratic, but still improving. Phillip Gaines is a starter. Albert Wilson is starting to make plays. Dee Ford is getting more reps. Cairo Santos has potential. Heck, it’ll even be exciting to see if Aaron Murray or Tyler Bray can turn into a legitimate backup down the road – because who doesn’t love the home-grown backup?

Another offseason will shape the team a little more in Dorsey’s mold, and the building blocks will continue to stack up. This program will come along as far as management and coaching can take it, and though the current season is not by any means over, the process of making this team formidable has just begun.