2015 K.C. Chiefs: The Story of a Champion

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“I’ve never been on a team like this that’s so united.” ~Alex Smith

The Kansas City Chiefs. This team reeks of championship qualities. They’re everywhere you look. They’re everywhere you listen too, if you like a good story. In fact, these Chiefs have so many inspirational “stories” it’s hard not to feel like you’re being preached at whenever you read about this team. In any case, if you’re preaching K.C. Chiefs, it’s a good bet the word “championship” is going to come up.

Let me say upfront, I’m not predicting a championship for this year’s incarnation of these mid-west men in red and gold, but I am saying it would not surprise me in the least.

One thing is perfectly clear, these men are playing with one purpose in mind: to win a championship this year and furthermore they believe they can do it. And that… is the real story here. These men have a real shot at a championship: that hasn’t happened since Marty Schottenheimer was strollin’ like a prince on the Chiefs side lines.

I visited the Chiefs training camp recently and got a strong feeling that this collection of football players and coaches are headed for greatness.

Now, how do we know when a team is headed for greatness? Well, how do we know anything? It usually comes through the unfolding stories as the season blossoms. However, this year’s team is a liturgical littering of liberating sagas. If the season is anything like the offseason, the Chiefs are already winners.

A player who will soon become the all-time leading Chiefs tackler (15 tackles to go), inside linebacker Derrick Johnson, went down with an Achilles injury in game one of last season. It’s important to point out that, less appreciated and undervalued defensive end Mike DeVito, went down with an Achilles injury in the same game. Why is that so important? Because Derrick Johnson said he didn’t think he could make it all the way back without DeVito.

A partner in rehab: the silver lining.

Both Johnson and DeVito will play a huge role in turning around a defense that ranked 28th in the league against the run in 2014. Perhaps just as important is that DeVito agreed to restructure his contract and take a huge cut in pay to stay with the team this year.

That’s Mike DeVito doing his best to insure a run towards a championship.

Don’t forget, Tamba Hali agreed to a similar contract restructuring so he could remain a Chief and allow the front office to improve the only professional team he’s ever played for.

What do they say it takes to win a championship? Sacrifice: that’s one of those words that comes to mind when thinking about Hali and DeVito and D.J..

It’s not just the players stories that are resonating “championship” in 2015. In a recent interview of John Dorsey on WHB 810 radio, for “Between the Lines” Kevin Kietzman asked, “What’s the one area or position where you could have done more this offseason, what would it be?” and Dorsey paused and paused and paused again finally saying,

"“Umm… that’s a good question. Umm… (5 seconds go by)… this sounds like I’m going to dodge this question but, that‘s hard… I mean, Kevin… I mean, that’s a very tough question.”"

Then the politician in Dorsey takes control and he states,

"“I think we did the best job that we possibly could but, I don’t know if I can single out one position where I think ‘oh I wish I could have got this or that.’ I don’t think you can be reactive like that. Basically, I think you have to live in the present and build for the future.”"

Build for the future.” Apropos words in deed. In fact, in a piece for KCChiefs.com, B.J. Kissel interviews Gil Brandt, the Dallas Cowboys former director of player personnel from 1960 to 1989 who predicts the Chiefs will win the AFC West this year and one of the reasons is because, in Brandt’s words,

"“I think John (Dorsey) is a very forward thinker. He knows about players, but I think he also knows what the team and the league is going to be like one or two years from now. So when he’s drafting a player, he’s not drafting a player for 2015, he’s drafting a player for 2017.”"

The other, more revealing aspect of John Dorsey’s statement is that, before he went all “bureau-crap-tic” on us is… he couldn’t immediately think of ways he wanted to patch any holes in this team. What he didn’t say there, is extremely telling. So, let me repeat that.

John Dorsey, couldn’t immediately think of ways he wanted to patch any holes in this team.

It’s like John Dorsey is sitting at the NFL GM’s poker table… and he’s looking at his cards… and he’s grinning inside (really big)… and he’s saying to himself… “I like my cards and I like my chances” and in the mean time he’s shoving all his chips to the middle of the table.

Now, obviously no general manager worth his salt is going to come out and say such outlandish things out loud… thus the legislative malarkey that eventually ensues.

Next: That Winning Feeling?