Today, some members of Chiefs Kingdom are calling for Andy Reid’s head. Others are offended at the mere suggestion of AFC playoff scenarios, citing the Kansas City Chiefs’ unmerited 2014 regular season performance. Some want John Dorsey forcibly removed from his office at One Arrowhead Drive. A few even want Clark Hunt summarily dismissed (those people really are crazy, trust nothing they tell you). There’s also a swath of fans with rose-colored glasses grafted onto their faces. In short, Chiefs fans are a reactionary, fair-weathered, Koolaid drinking, blissfully ignorant, wishful thinking group of maniacs. Guess whose fault that is?
Coming into the year, expectations were low. The 2013 Chiefs were a product of a soft schedule. A tougher schedule was destined to exploit this fluky bunch. We were all just waiting for a murderer’s row of good football teams to expose Andy Reid and company. Until that didn’t happen. Somehow, Kansas City stood at 7-3 through its first ten games. They needed only to play .500 football the rest of the way and a return to the postseason was imminent. Until that didn’t happen. Sunday’s 20-12 loss against the Pittsburgh Steelers dropped the team to 8-7 and the Baltimore Ravens, Houston Texans, and San Diego Chargers all stand in the way of an AFC wildcard berth.
When you look at it through that lens, you understand the range of emotions each sub-section of the Kingdom has gone through. It’s hard to know what to expect from the Chiefs’ future. We’ve seen the Chiefs disintegrate in two consecutive seasons following the bye week. The Chiefs are the professional football version of “A Tale of Two Cities.” It was the best of times…(a 41-14 drubbing of the conference-leading Patriots on MNF). It was the worst of times…(a 20-24 loss to the winless Raiders on TNF). Fans have truly seen it all this year and I’m beginning to understand why they’re such an unstable group.
Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
Ask the guy to the left of you to assess the first 16 weeks of the year and he’ll tell you the Chiefs exceeded preseason expectations. That’s true, but it fails to control for how much things have changed along the way. Sure, there were people who expected this team be in serious contention for a Top 10 pick in the 2015 NFL Draft. Clearly, they were wrong. Does the fact that the team outplayed fall predictions absolve the coaching staff and front office of a nightmarish collapse? Perish the thought. Reid’s orchestrated a complete culture change in Kansas City. The Chiefs are 19-13 since he took over as head coach, but they’ve also failed to perform on the biggest stages. If Reid deserves credit for what this team has become, he also deserves criticism for what this team has become.
Ask the guy to the right of you to give the same assessment and he’ll go on a 10-minute rant about how long it’s been since the Chiefs last won a playoff game. Despite the change Dorsey and Reid have affected, it ultimately still all comes out the same in the wash. You wind up with one disgusting, gray, over-sized lintball. The new regime wasn’t just brought here to engineer regular season improvement. They were also hired to help this team get off the postseason schneid. He tends to miss the progress forest in the imperfect trees. To paraphrase Brett Gering’s Monday afternoon piece, Rome’s rarely been built in a day in the NFL.
"After his first two seasons with the New England Patriots, Bill Belichick was 16-16. Two years after he took over the Seattle Seahawks, Pete Carroll was 14-18."
It takes time to go from being the team with the No. 1 overall pick in the draft to a viable playoff contender. In fairness, we’re only closing up year two of this regime. As disappointing as 2014 has been, the Chiefs are still playing a Week 17 game with postseason implications.
Mandatory Credit: Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports
I guess what I’m saying, is that there’s a grain of truth to whatever part of the Kingdom you belong to. There’s reason for hope. There’s cause for concern. You could even make the case that this administration is destined to fail like the last two. We have the Kansas City Chiefs to thank for all of that. The spectrum of their fanbase spans sheer panic, to cautious optimism, to blissful ignorance. They belong to one big, dysfunctional circus family under a red and yellow big top.
The second season of this series is nearing an end. The 2014 campaign has been one weird plot twist after another. Sunday afternoon will either end with a disheartening cliffhanger or with a mind-blowing payoff. The Chiefs have gone from having control of the AFC West to being playoff panhandlers. Even with a win on Sunday, they need help to get in. In a few days, we’ll find out just how lucky they really are. Luck usually favors the good steward and there are serious questions about whether or not that’s what the Chiefs have been this year.
How are you feeling today about this football team? Are you excited or terrified about the future of this franchise? Is it time for heads to roll or are you waiting patiently to see how the story ends for this regime? Use the comment section below to chime in. As always, we appreciate your readership and support.
Until next time, Addicts!