The 2014 Kansas City Chiefs: Not Quite Good Enough


The Kansas City Chiefs won their final game of the 2014 season on Sunday and eliminated Philip Rivers and the San Diego Chargers in the process. All in all, it was a pretty good day. Seeing Rivers frustrated and heartbroken as the Chiefs crushed his playoff hopes was satisfying. Watching Justin Houston set the Chiefs single-season sack record (22) was even better.

However, in the end, the day was not a total success, because the Chiefs didn’t make the playoffs. Kansas City’s fate was in the hands of teams like the Cleveland Browns and Jacksonville Jaguars, and those teams didn’t come through. To say that KC “did its part” would be misleading. Yes, it did its part on Sunday, but when you look at the 2014 season as a whole, the Chiefs just weren’t quite good enough.

Now, let me be clear: This is not a “doom and gloom” post or even a post whose purpose is to point fingers at “whom” or “why” the Chiefs didn’t make the playoffs. My intention is simply to give an honest assessment of the 2014 Kansas City Chiefs, and I’ll start off by repeating what I have already said in recent weeks.

The Chiefs are not a bad football team.

The Chiefs are certainly not a great football team.

You can make an argument that they are a good football team, but most good football teams make the playoffs. So by that standard, the Chiefs still aren’t quite there yet.

I think everyone can agree that Kansas City has its flaws.

Dec 7, 2014; Glendale, AZ, USA; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith (11) is pressured prior to being sacked in the fourth quarter against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. The Cardinals defeated the Chiefs 17-14. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

In the coming weeks and months, we will jot countless posts breaking down those flaws; discussing needs and ranking priorities. I don’t know that I need to start that discussion right now, though. We know that the Chiefs need help on the OL, an upgrade at WR, more production from the pocket, improvement from the run defense; and they must ensure that Chris Owens never drops back in coverage (for Kansas City) again. We know this and can discuss the specifics as we move into the offseason. Again, what I’m looking to do today is to try and define where the team is right now.

To any who argue that the Chiefs are a bad football team and light years away from being Super Bowl contenders, I would say the following: Bad football teams don’t go 20-12 in the first two seasons of a new administration, especially on the heels of a 2-14 disaster.

I would tell those people that bad football teams don’t have wins against both the Seattle Seahawks and New England Patriots on their resume. Those two teams are the odds-on favorites to make the Super Bowl, and KC notched wins over both of them.

I would tell those people that bad football teams don’t hold every opponent to 29 points or fewer.

I would tell them that bad football teams don’t go all season without allowing a 300-yard passer.

The Chiefs have one of the most dynamic offensive players in the league in Jamaal Charles. They have one of the most dynamic defensive players in the league in Justin Houston.

This is not a bad football team, and that should give every Chiefs fan hope for the future.

Dec 28, 2014; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs outside linebacker Justin Houston (50) goes past tackle Willie Smith (69) to sack San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers (17) in the first half at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

However, everything is not all sunshine and rainbows, either. If the Chiefs were as good as those last statements make them seem, then they would be in the playoffs. So to any that would shrug this season off as no big deal and say that the Chiefs are just fine, I would say the following: Good football teams don’t go 2-4 down the stretch with the playoffs on the line. This is the second season in a row that the Chiefs faded during the latter half of the schedule. (They went 2-5 at the end of last season).

Good football teams find ways to win close road games like the ones that KC lost to San Francisco (22-17), Arizona (17-14) and Pittsburgh (20-12). Those games were winnable if the Chiefs had executed and finished like they wanted to.

I would tell those people that good teams (especially in today’s NFL) don’t go an entire season without a single WR touchdown.

I would tell those people that good teams don’t allow the third-most yards per carry in the league.

Above all else, I would those who think the Chiefs are “fine” that good teams don’t lose their home opener to the 2-14 Tennessee Titans and then later drop a game to the 3-13 Oakland Raiders—a game in which a playoff berth was on the line.

Good teams don’t lose even one of those games, let alone both of them. If the Chiefs had taken care of business in just one of those two games, then they would be preparing for a playoff game.

Nov 20, 2014; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders safety Larry Asante (42) and linebacker Miles Burris (56) celebrate after the game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Coliseum. The Raiders defeated the Chiefs 24-20. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

In the NFL, there’s a saying: “You are what your record says you are.” While that’s cliché, it really does hold true for the 2014 Chiefs. The standings say they are 9-7, which is a winning record but not good enough to make the playoffs. And I think that’s an accurate description of where this team is at.

The Chiefs are a pretty good team with some solid pieces, but they have their share of issues. They aren’t quite good enough to breach the playoffs and compete for a Super Bowl.

Would I have liked it if the postseason puzzle fell into place? Sure, I would have been bouncing off the walls. But do I think the Chiefs DESERVE to be in the playoffs? No, I don’t. They had a chance and blew it. So now they need to get to work this offseason and fill those holes, making sure they don’t make the same mistakes twice.

When Andy Reid and John Dorsey arrived in KC, they took over a 2-14 team that was in total disarray. Not only did Kansas City have the worst record in the NFL, it was a dysfunctional mess. The Scott Pioli era had been an epic failure complete with fan revolts and off-field tragedies.

In one offseason, the new administration put all of that in the rearview mirror. The Chiefs went 11-5 and made the playoffs in their first year under the current regime. They then followed that up with another winning record in the subsequent season (albeit with fewer wins and no playoff berth). The locker room is now an upbeat one, where the players seem to enjoy working with each other and their coaches again. Arrowhead is not only full once again, but it has regained it’s rightful place as the loudest stadium in the NFL.

I point that out because while the 2014 Kansas City Chiefs weren’t quite good enough, the hardest part of this rebuild is over. John Dorsey and Andy Reid have taken the Chiefs from the absolute gutter of the NFL to a respectable franchise. Ask the Jacksonville Jaguars or Cleveland Browns how easy that is.

Dorsey and Reid’s job is far from done. The Chiefs aren’t where they want to be. They aren’t quite good enough…


So now we begin a key offseason for Reid and Dorsey. It’s time for them to prove they are still improving this team. Let the draft and free-agency hysteria begin. It should be a fun ride…

Just not as fun as a playoff run would have been.

As always, thanks for reading and GO CHIEFS!!!!!!!!!!!