Let me start with an honest admission. I haven’t been much of a Kansas City Chiefs or NFL fan the past 5 years or so. That wasn’t always the case. For the vast majority of my life, I’ve been in love with the Chiefs, and watching football on Sundays was sacrosanct. My entire family got together to watch games, we’ve had season tickets off and on for roughly 30 years, my grandfather used to go to Chiefs training camp; the whole nine yards. We have family stories about being at Memorial Stadium to see the Miami Dolphins beat the Chiefs in two overtimes in the 1971 playoffs. I wasn’t at that game; in fact I wasn’t even alive. But the point remains. Chief’s fandom runs in my family and it runs deep.
Over the past 5 years or so, my interest in both the Chiefs and the NFL have dwindled to the lowest they’ve been since my brain was able to conceptualize what a football was. I am sure that in no large part that was due to the team being poor, but even when they snuck into the playoffs in 2003, I was only mildly interested. You’re probably thinking to yourself “Screw this guy, he doesn’t even like football, what business does he have blogging about the Chiefs”. I would probably answer by saying “Stop talking to your computer.” But you make a good point astute reader. One of the reasons I volunteered to write about the Chiefs is that I hoped it could re-spark my interest in the sport and the team.
I only bring this all up because no doubt my journey and attempt to fall back in love with the NFL and the Chiefs will be a running theme in my posts this season. I will also voice some of my gripes that have soured me about professional football. I also believe this will benefit me as a writer here at Chiefs Command. In many ways I’ve lost the fanboy of my youth, so hopefully that will give my takes less bias.
Enough with the naval gazing, it’s time to get started talking Chiefs football.
What a game of football to get the old juices running on Monday night. While it was a little disappointing that tickets for the opening game on a Monday night no less, were still available with less than a week remaining, when game time came around, it was amazing. From the opening kickoff, the crowd was ecstatic and Arrowhead re-earned its moniker as the loudest stadium in the NFL. The crowd caused penalties, disruptions and even better, caused Philip Rivers to kick the dirt like a middle-schooler. It didn’t help his demeanor that the rest of his team decided they weren’t that interested in actually playing the game. The Chiefs won the game, there is no reason for me to do a recap. You probably saw it, or at least heard everything important that happened. So I present my bullet list of things that stood out to me:
- I am ecstatic the Chiefs won the game, but it seemed to me the San Diego Chargers were the better football team. They moved the ball pretty well on offense, and played decent defense. The Chiefs got some big breaks on turnovers, special teams and big plays, which aren’t things they can count on happening every single game. However, in football you only get 16 games, so a few breaks in a few games can put you in the playoffs quickly.
- I saw Chiefs superfan X-factor twice on television and both times he was wearing a Bluetooth headset. Shouldn’t his friends know that during a Chiefs game, particularly a Monday Night game that he is pretty busy? And does the x-factor answer a call when it comes in? If so, either X-factor has some annoying friends or he is an awesome friend. The kind of guy you call when you are in jail, because even during what are probably the 8 biggest days of the year for him he is taking your call.
- Matt “Happy Feet” Cassel looked terrible last night. Charlie Weis called his number right out of the gate with a long pass downfield. Cassel repaid that favor by under-throwing a receiver in triple coverage. It was a giant stroke of luck that the ball fell to the ground. I know the Chiefs ended up going three and out anyway, but if that ball is picked off. I have a feeling things would have been much different. If the best thing people can say about Cassel is that he didn’t turn the ball over, that’s pretty much an indictment. It’d be like saying that the best thing about an armed robber is that he didn’t kill anyone.
- I am positive that the second possession for the Chiefs didn’t happen. I was sitting on my couch, watching intently. I didn’t get up to get a beer or go to the bathroom and I didn’t see one of the three plays that apparently happened.
- What was with Norv Turner’s hat? I’ve seen that same style now on a few coaches and good Lord are they terrible. Those hats were ugly in 1993 when they came out the first time. I don’t know if the NFL marketing department is trying some retro thing or if they think that the style was so awesome the first time around that it never went out of style. Does anyone really buy these hats? Everyone I know is just like me. Give me the solid red hat with the Arrowhead logo and I am good. Don’t put racing stripes, flames, flags, giant logos or any other crap on my hat. Keep it simple.
- To complete the 1990’s theme, along with a rocking Arrowhead and Norv’s hat, Billy Ray Cyrus sang the national anthem. Why? Seriously, why? Its opening night, it’s Monday Night, its national TV and the best you can do is Billy Ray? Was he the first choice? If not, who turned down the opportunity? Billy Ocean? Boy George? George Michael? How hard can it be to get someone to sing the anthem that was relevant for more than 10 minutes nearly two decades ago and has only become relevant today because he pawned his progeny off onto Disney. Wait a second, Disney, ESPN, ABC….I think I figured it out.
- If Billy Ray wasn’t bad enough , then we got Train at halftime. Come on. How hard is it to give the spotlight to a band that actually deserves it? Someone like Arcade Fire, Animal Collective, My Morning Jacket or Tool would have been an inspired choice and rocked the halftime out. It would have created some buzz, due to the fact that teams don’t ever think out of the very small and bad sounding box that is normal halftime entertainment.
- That goal-line stand was a phenomenal moment of football, and is easily the best Chiefs moment in the past 5+ years. It was full of drama, it was nationally televised, it was well played and the crowd was going nuts. On each successive play, I felt more fired up and shockingly more confident in the team’s ability to shut it down. On 1st down, I thought there was no way the Chiefs were going to win and by the 4th, I was positive they would shut down the Chargers.
- My preseason prediction of 4-12 is looking like it could easily be wrong (I’m happy), however my pick of Derrick Johnson to be the Defensive Player of the Year is looking strong. Seriously, Haley its time to stop messing with him and let him take charge.
- One of the things about the NFL that drives me crazy is the fact that the rhythm of the game is non-existent. There are tons of stoppages in play, way too many commercials and endless replays. Maybe it’s because I was really into the game last night, but I didn’t seem to notice that at all. Maybe the refs kept things moving due to the weather, but I wonder if it isn’t just the fact that being into the moment like that made my brain ignore the parts that usually drive me insane.
- My grandma (who you will hear plenty about in these articles) was the biggest Chiefs fan I ever knew. Watching games with her was an amazing display of cheering and outright hatred for the team in red. If things were going bad, she could have made Rex Ryan blush. It got to the point where the team was causing her so much stress that she had to start taping the games and then would only watch if the team won. She isn’t around anymore to enjoy the games, but you can rest assured that the VCR in heaven is rolling right now.
- I really, really, really wish that someone had the foresight to create a realty show based around the Truman Sports Complex parking lot on Monday. It would have been an amazing mixture of Cops, Intervention, Pitmasters and The Real World. The footage you could have taken of the parking attendants trying to force cars out of the lot, the epic line forming to get into the stadium, the all day cook fest and the 12 hours of drinking would be amazing. It would rival Hard Knocks as the best documentary/reality show involving sports.
- I really miss having a DVR during football season. Beyond being able to time-shift the game, I would really like to be able to re-watch the entire game to focus more on the line and secondary play. I’d imagine that there is somewhere on the internet where one can get the game, but I wouldn’t know where that is. I’d also like to see a game film, where you can see the whole field and really break down what’s going on. As I begin to get accustomed to the NFL blogosphere, I hope to find some good sites that break down the action like this. However, I’ve been unable to find anything like that. Can you recommend anyplace that can provide that kind of analysis?’
Week one is now in the rear view mirror. The Chiefs sit alone atop the AFC West and while there were a lot of things that looked good, there were plenty of things for them to work on. I’m still not of the belief this is a playoff team, but again in 16 games anything can happen. This is a win to really savor, it’s a shame that it’s a short week and there is one less day to enjoy being in first place. I’m as pessimistic as you can be about this team, but there were glimmers of what the coaching staff is trying to accomplish. The Chiefs now run into a stretch of beatable teams, and the next four weeks should tell us all we need to know about how the rest of the season is going to play out. I’m very interested in seeing what happens next.