Monday, January 23, 2017

The Achilles Team of the NFL, Part III

I know I can pound out a blog post and save it in case I can't get the vast smattering of Chiefs thoughts down here right now. I really don't think I'll be able to get much down here but I feel like hammering away on the keyboard a bit more on Chiefs things. I actually have a moment.

We had an in-service day at work, which means we have meetings all day and my afternoon obligations are dispensed. In and around the meetings I'd gotten in the midst of some football conversations, ones in which I'd like to allow you to partake right now.

One gentleman was regaling us with his appreciation of the 1986 New York Giants, pointing out that the team really got it in gear when Bill Parcells allowed quarterback Phil Simms to call his own plays. I'd never heard about this and don't even know about its veracity, but I wouldn't doubt it. Parcells had a phenomenal feel for the game and how to win it with the best that he had, and Simms was good, and very smart.

Kind of like Alex Smith.

See, that's what I thought when he said that. Hmm, why the heck doesn't Andy Reid just do that. Let Alex Smith and his versatility and athleticism and smarts go out and take care of business.

The other conversation involved the news that the Steelers have about had it with Mike Tomlin.

Guhhh?

I'd just seen Tomlin school Reid -- well, not exactly, really, Tomlin was helped by the idiotic things that always happen to the Chiefs in the playoffs, but still. I'd made the point in this blog thread that Tomlin's organic approach allowed him to get his team matching up well against the Chiefs throughout the game, while Reid's cerebral obsession unnecessarily constricted us.

Turns out, apparently, the Steelers were upset that Tomlin's rigidity against the Patriots cost them yet another playoff game to those guys. Um, no, I can't see how anyone would not know the Patriots are a lot better than the Steelers -- I know nothing about the game but I'd have to say the Patriots just flat-out beat them. Yeah, I did think the Chiefs were the better team and should have been there anyway, giving the Patriots a better game on the face of it.

But then, there ya go.

Against any team the organic approach wins. Yeah, you need the cerebral too, but I'm sorry, I've been told over and over and over again that Alex Smith is probably the smartest quarterback in the NFL.

Um.

Okay.

Now what are you going to do with that, Kansas City Chiefs brass?

Sorry, but I'm going to belabor the point.

The Chiefs had no business not being in the AFC Championship Game.

They did make several fine plays to show they should've. We screech about Smith not hitting Tyreek Hill when he was wide open, but Smith also did things like hit Jeremy Maclin on a rope to get a 1st down on 3rd and 20.

Thing is, is Smith getting the clutch pass to Maclin merely a fine result of the exceptional Reid proficiency, or is he simply unable to best utilize his best weapons like Hill, Maclin, Kelce, Ware -- these guys are terrific players -- simply because he's not allowed to let go?

Or, is it possible Smith just doesn't have it in him to do that?

I mean, why can't we see the Alex Smith we saw in New Orleans (with the Niners) in that amazing 2011 Divisional Game, or in Indianapolis in the 2013 Wild Card Game (yes, he had a terrific day in spite of the horror)? Indeed Smith has never had a really bad playoff game, except that we're 1-3 in playoff games in the Reid-Smith era. That's a .250 winning percentage in the playoffs, while at the same time we've been sporting a .672 in the regular season (43-21).

I mean, what would happen if our top on-field decision-makers genuinely combined the organic with the cerebral, with this talent -- really?

Last night I happened to turn on CBS to see if 60 Minutes was on, the time was 6:57. No 60 Minutes, instead I came in right as the television people were going to officially crown the AFC Champions, the Patriots, and sure enough, right then -- you know --

They were being awarded the trophy.

I literally watched two minutes of it, that's it, two minutes, and heard them mention the name of the trophy three or four times.

::Whimper::

You know the name of it. You know what it is...

The Lamar Hunt Trophy.

Ya know, I was thinking about that one stat, about the Chiefs, one of the several that shows how good we actually are -- the one about us beating Super Bowl teams in the regular season.

Five times.

Well, I was thinking, which Super Bowl teams have we not beaten in the Reid-Smith four-year tenure? I thought. And discovered...

None. There have been no others. Only five teams have even been in the Super Bowl over the past four years.

Yeah, the Chiefs have beaten them all. 

Just so you know, in 2013 it was Seattle beating Denver. We beat Seattle in 2014 and Denver in 2015. Yes, I know the Denver win was two years later, but it was still very much the same team, quarterbacked by Peyton Manning who did take his Broncos to the Super Bowl that year.

In 2014 it was New England beating Seattle. We blasted New England that same season.

In 2015 it was Denver beating Carolina. We took down Carolina this season.

And this year it's going to be New England playing against Atlanta, and of course we beat Atlanta on that 2-point conversion return by Eric Berry.

Oh, and three of those five wins were on the road.

Did you catch that? Did you see that just there? It is just another evidence that

There - is - no - way - we - should - be - losing - a - single - playoff - game.

Don't worry. I'm good. There're very good reasons why I'm good, and I'm going to get to them as we continue this endeavor. There is more, look forward to joining you for it.

Very good Chiefs things, too, coming up...
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Sunday, January 22, 2017

The Achilles Team of the NFL, Part II

I'm back to continue the thread I started yesterday. I know I won't be able to get this all done today, either, so I'll most likely finish it up next weekend. That's cool. Therapy only works if you meet regularly in group, and the Chiefs Kingdom, what a group!

We've got time, don't we?

Here's the currently considered premise: That the Chiefs are just like Achilles, with all due respect to Derrick Johnson who has had two Achilles injuries. The first was in the first game of the '14 season when we lost to a terrible Titans team and missed the playoffs that year by one game. The second was this year when his loss adversely affected the Chiefs run defense.

In fact, late in the season the Chiefs elected to bring Justin March-Lillard off the injured reserve list, with the readily accepted reason that our run defense needed a nice spark with D.J. out. It sure seemed like the right move, because by NFL rules we were forced to give up on bringing back Jamaal Charles.

Now assigned run stoppers like Ramik Wilson played their hearts out, they were indeed stalwart Chief crusaders.

But it just wasn't enough. Le'Veon Bell still had something like 170 yards rushing. Ouch.

Now maybe Charles simply wasn't ready for this game -- ahem, yet another crazy Chiefs handicap to hurt our playoff chances -- he'd had his ACL tear over a year-and-a-half ago and still wasn't ready. But here's the Justin March-Lillard thing: Where was he?

Except for a handful of quick things I peeked at right after the game, I'd only looked at any information about the Chiefs-Steelers game since last Sunday one time -- really, I'd actually been pretty good about being sports celibate -- I didn't want to see anything, it's just too painful. But I did look at what happened with Justin March-Lillard, I mean, I just don't remember seeing him out there on the field! Turns out he was in for one play.

Are you kidding me.

From what I remember, he had some hand injury. Now please, I don't know the extent of the injury, I'm not trying to presume anything, but in my cynicism I wonder. It wasn't any leg injury to keep him immobile or anything, and as far as I'd been told the Chiefs were really high on him -- we all had been given the idea that he was a pretty good player. Sooo...

What happened? Was he just that much not in game shape? Was it that significant? And why was that? Oh my could we have used what-we-all-thought-was his fine run defense ability out there on Sunday.

In my view, to remind you, it is just yet another contribution to all the standard unusual horrificness that happens to the Chiefs the instant they enter the playoffs. I already overwhelmed the Chiefs Kingdom with all the things that are part of this ugly spell the Chiefs come under that keeps them from winning playoff games, I've belabored it to death. Forgive me.

But I do want to add here another aspect in all this, and this one revolves around Travis Kelce. Needless to say, Kelce had a subpar game on Sunday, and there are general reasons for why I think that happened I'll get to later. For now, Kelce.

I believe the most critical officiating call that cost us was not the Fisher hold but the Kelce non-call when he was interfered with on a medium deep pass play -- yep, it was the typically Chiefs-destroying PI non-call. Yep, the officials do call the hold on Fisher, but miss the PI on the Steelers linebacker.

It was a play very much like that one that cost the Lions the game against the Cowboys a couple years ago. Pass is thrown, and just as the receiver is about to catch it the defender runs into the receiver neglecting to look back as he obviously impedes the ability of the receiver to get the ball.

When it happened it was such a bang-bang play that I couldn't see it clearly. But they showed the replay, and the ball was catchable -- Kelce merely needed to reach back to get it, and the defender plowed into him keeping him from doing that. The announcers even pointed out that it was pass interference, but the officials kept their flags in their pockets.

See, with all the technological advances for video reviews and all that, officials can still change the outcome of a game based on how they personally interpret holding and pass interference calls. This liability won't change until the NFL decides to do the one thing that would make all of this actually work: have officials in the booths with monitors and when they see something that should or shouldn't be called, they radio down and insist they make the right call.

Hey, they already do that at the end of games, last two minutes and so forth. Why not do it all the time?

Thing is, the entire NFL business/media manipulation oligarchy would also have to abandon the idea that they must do what they can to keep teams like podunk small-market non-$$$-generating teams like the Chiefs from advancing very far into the postseason, and I don't really think they're going to do that anytime soon.

That non-call kept the Chiefs from continuing a crucial drive, the first of the 2nd half by the way, and one that easily could have eventually had them in field goal range to kick for their margin-of-victory three points. Instead it was one of the five drives the Chiefs got nada. It was truly the killer.

This also presents one of those other supernatural things that reveal themselves in the behavior of the stakeholders, in this case Travis Kelce. He seemed to be so upset about this that later he went off on a Steelers player, earning an unsportsmanlike that didn't directly hurt us at the time, but I can't believe didn't affect the team spirit. Kelce was humbled, got his head back in the game, but only after a blistering upbraiding by people like Justin Houston.

After the game Kelce went off on the officiating, standing up for his boy Eric Fisher. Most of the team supported Fisher, good call, really. But Kelce tearfully shredded the officials. Yes, they deserved it, they did, it is true the Chiefs definitely got the worst of it yet again. But the truth related to much more robust Chiefs playoff viability is that Kelce needed to shut the heck up about it. As much as he feels it -- that is awesome, it really is, gotta give him that -- the truth is for the Chiefs to be respected as the fine team they are, Kelce or any other Chiefs player or coach or whoever need to let it go.

We the fans can see it, we can point it out in spades. Please, Chiefs organization people, we fans see it, we get it, we're with you! This is part of why I do this blog, I can see it for what it is in all its living color, call it out. As far as the Chiefs players and whoever goes, as much the irreparable harm is painfully veritable they just have be above it all.

And that's the key thing. It is about the maturity. Travis Kelce is a terrific player, a terrific team player, a terrifically vibrantly intensely competitive player. I think the Chiefs go farther towards being that team people want to see contend if they reeeeeally make sure there is a team maturity that is an essential component of warding off any future effects of this playoff spell. I believe at this point Chiefs leadership could accomplish a lot by stepping up and instilling in them a much deeper sense of respect by, for instance, dialing back those insipid dances they do after scoring. Great: have spontaneous celebrating with high-fives all around. But I've always felt the Kelce in-your-face-ism kind of antics will only come back to haunt you.

Play with the greatest, richest, fiercest passion, but be the respect too.

Before getting more into the direction of this team from here and a bit more of an overall regarding this "spell" stuff (Yeah, I mean, so what else is there to think or do something about it? Hmm...) I want to share one more thought related to the finding out what's really going on here.

I thought the other day, wow, if I had the time, I'd actually fancy making a documentary about the Chiefs playoff woes. Sorry, but they are more grisly than any other teams, and they are interminable -- lots of documentary material, that's for sure! Could be interesting! Now, I never will do that, but I further thought that a significant part of such an effort would reveal quite a lot I think about what happened. A documentary feature would include, of course, interviews with Chiefs players, but what they say wouldn't matter as much what is shared in the interviews with their opponents.

Really, documentary or not, if the players the Chiefs played against in all those games, all 15 losses since 1970, shared their thoughtful observations... I wonder...

What exactly would they say?

How would they answer, not even as much to questions like what was your game plan that allowed you to defeat this fine team, but rather what did you see in the Chiefs out there on the football field? What specific kinds of things happened with what they did or didn't do that got you the dubya?

If they were perfectly honest, what kinds of things would be among their observations, from the Dolphins of '71 to the Steelers of '16, I just wonder...

What kinds of commonalities would there be? Would we get any answers as to why this stuff so horrendously afflicts the Chiefs?

Some of those things are the legitimate on-the-field kinds of things that the Chiefs can indeed do something about. Let's go with that, let's talk about those things. Let's start at third-from-the-top, with Andy Reid. The top is of course Clark Hunt, but I can't see anything he's doing wrong except working hard to establish that firm stability and professional excellence the Chiefs have needed for eons. Second is John Dorsey, and there is one critical aspect of his role I want to address, but it is so important I'm saving it for later. For now...

Andy Reid. Here's my impression of the Andy Reid factor in all of this. What I'm sharing may already have been shared. Maybe Chiefs pundits of all stripes have said this, plus a bunch of other valuable critiques, that's cool. Here's mine.

A contrast: Andy Reid vs. Mike Tomlin last Sunday night. What did you notice looking at camera shots of the two? We take it for granted that Reid has his face in his laminated playsheet all the time. Tomlin, not as much so. How on earth did Tomlin call a winning game when he was going up against the incomparable technician playcalling master himself?

The answer is two-fold. Tomlin was actually getting his psyche into the game, letting the game come to him, becoming an organic part of the flow of the game. Reid? Not so much. And that's what cost us. With Tomlin being more observant about what to get his players to do in response to what was being given him by the Chiefs, Tomlin could adjust, then readjust.

Andy Reid -- ehhhnn, not so much. This was one of the things I remember jotting down a few games ago, I maybe even made mention of it in a blog post. For the Chiefs to win in playoff game action, Andy Reid has not only got to adjust, but then adjust to their adjustments, and I'm sorry, I really don't think Reid did that. He's that skilled incisive technician, but what did Reid have for the Steelers when Tomlin was organically forming his game plan to best take on the Chiefs in the moment?

A precise example of how this played out could be elucidated with one play -- the 2-point conversion attempt right after the Fisher hold. Remember, the score is still 18-16 and even though we had the 10-yard penalty assessed against us, we still had a chance to tie. Now we just have to do it from the 12.

We could get that, any team could as long as the right play is drawn up.

But the spell had its way with us. Reid put in some vanilla play, Alex Smith just stepped back and flinged the ball somewhere into the middle of the end zone -- I think it was supposed to go to Jeremy Maclin -- and it was predictably batted away.

Erghh. There's that hideously familiar despondent feeling starting to overcome your Chiefs-fan soul.

At the cost of being tarred the worst Monday morning quarterback ever, here's the play.

Have Smith very quickly take a couple steps to his left, then have him roll back right. He's quick enough to get around the defense, get the blocking to make that happen, and get that not-much-above-average Steelers defense to bite and overpursue, and bring a key receiver back the other way across the middle. How about Hill, with his speed?

How about with all the splendidly imaginative playmaking he did over the regular season (can you say Dontari Poe?) why didn't he do something like a hook and lateral? Throw the ball the ball to Kelce near the goal line but have Spencer Ware trailing for the pitch -- if Ware is taking on some defender staying home, I'd give that battle to Ware.

Why wasn't Reid prepared to do something like that?

You know, in some ways I just don't even think Reid had to do anything fancy.

Just intuitively know the right play to employ with the talent this team has and the advantages you could have over this particular opponent at this time.

Thing is, Reid can do this. The Chiefs can do this.

All this blogging is a lot, and I've got to take a break. There is more to all this. Yes more! Some of the most important factors that should be addressed preparing for Chiefs 2017. Haven't quite gotten to the Dorsey factor (Can you say "The Quarterback Project"... I thought so...). There's also the whole overall meaning of it all, I'm eagerly looking to address that. Talking about spells and Andy Reid detrimental efficiencies is a bit depressing, but the best is yet to come. There are good Chiefs things to write about.

For now, as I write this, the Falcons are hammering the Packers in the NFC Championship Game. At this moment they are leading 44-21 with two minutes left in the game. When the Falcons go on to win, and head into the Super Bowl, that will then make five Super Bowl teams the Chiefs will have defeated in the regular season over the past few years. (You remember we beat Atlanta this season, at Atlanta no less.)

As despondent the feeling of despondency is that we can't watch Chiefs football right now like we should be, there is the fact that the Chiefs are a good football team. More of that in the next blog post, but for now it is with great pride we can say with real hopefulness...

Go Chiefs!
___

Saturday, January 21, 2017

The Achilles Team of the NFL

You do know that we live perpetually in a Greek tragedy.

Wouldn't you know that Derrick Johnson's Achilles heel injury against -- yes, if you remember, against the Raiders back on December 8 -- was such a profound symbol of the Chiefs as a team through the ages. Not only was that injury itself one of those crushing blows you just knew would come back to hurt us, and it did against Pittsburgh --

It is emblematic of everything Chiefs.

We are the Greek tragedy of pro football. You do know that, being a Chiefs fan.

In fact, this Kansas City Chiefs unit is such a fine pro football team that they are just like the Greek hero Achilles. They have everything going well for them, strong and wise in every facet of the game, winning game after game after game...

Except that they have that heel.

And sure enough, any time they get into the playoffs when they can truly show the world how strong and wise and talented and clutch they are, that heel kills them.

Every single time.

Please, there has been no other time. None. At least since the merger -- I know we won the Super Bowl once, yeah -- but since then, there's only been that heel.

What about last year, that wonderful playoff game win over Houston? Ahem, let's just be ruthlessly honest: that Texans team was tired, they had no quarterback, and their premiere defensive player was ailing. What about the time before that when we won, against the Oilers in 1994? That team was a catastrophe waiting to implode, and their dysfunction was exposed in the last quarter of that game when the Chiefs easily put them away. What about the Steelers win just before that? We were down 24-17 late and needed a miracle play ourselves and then one last display of Joe Montana magic just to eek out a win. What about the win over the Raiders two years before? Um, we were playing against Todd Marinovich -- need I say more? And we barely won that game.

Annnd, right there are our successes.

That's it.

Two 21-year playoff win droughts -- two of them. Yes, I'd love to regale you with all the horrors, but its been done, we all know what they are, but for sure they do make the tragedy especially gruesome. Sure there're four wins, joined by 15 losses. That is just unfathomable. Another of these most wretched figures is the ratio of playoff appearances to AFC Championship Game appearances. I painstakingly looked at all the numbers for AFC teams, and sure enough, my hypothesis was proven.

The Chiefs are statistically the worst team in the AFC (and likely the entire NFL) in making their conference's Championship Game since the merger.

See, it really should be the case that teams good enough to make the playoffs should be reasonably successful once there, at least often enough. The hypothesis, statistically speaking, is that a given team should at least reach its conference's championship game a quarter to a third of those times. Some teams may have a bit more going for it, the Patriots, the Steelers, while others don't -- the Chiefs.

Without further ado, here're the numbers:

Out of 47 AFC seasons since the merger (ranked by "winning percentage"-- again: times going to the AFC Championship Game for times making the playoffs)

Oakland  11 for 18  .611
New England  13/23  .565
Pittsburgh  16/29 .551
Denver  10/22  .454
Baltimore  4/10  .400  (in 21 years of AFC play)
Buffalo  5/13  .385
New York  4/12  .333
Jacksonville  2/6  .333  (in 22 years of AFC play)
Baltimore/Indianapolis  7/22  .318
San Diego  4/13  .308
Miami  7/23  .304
Cleveland  3/11  .273
Houston/Tennessee  4/16  .250
Cincinnati  2/14  .143
Kansas City  1/14  .071
Houston 0/4  .000  (in 15 years of AFC play)

Yes, Houston hasn't made it but they've been around for only 15 years. For the Chiefs it's been once in 47 years. And they lost that one. I just didn't take the time to do this for the NFC, but I did look at the one team easily considered to be most moribund, and that was Detroit. They have a ratio of 1 to 11, for a percentage of .090.

Still better than the Chiefs.

What this number says is something I'd simply like to spend some time addressing. I'm blogging here on the weekend when we should finally be playing in an AFC Championship Game but aren't, mostly just to do the annual therapy that needs to be done being a Chiefs fan. We all need the therapy at this time, and I have some time this weekend and just feel like pounding out some thoughts that have been ravaging my psyche all week.

I know a blog is supposed to be a series of much more brief posts, and that'd work fine if I actually had the time during the week. Today is a day off, a Saturday, and I have all the time now to spill my guts now. As it is there is indeed so much in my noggin that perhaps I won't get it all done right now, and may have to continue later. That's cool. There're a whole two weeks of Chiefs-less football yet again to do that, so we'll see.

For now, quickly, thank you for your readership and your indulgence, and I only hope that the things you enjoy reading here will help with the therapy. Don't worry, I have many genuinely encouraging things in the mix of my take, so it won't be completely depressing.

To start, I will tell you I'm getting really tired of hearing the standard, "Whull the Chiefs just didn't do enough to win, they didn't deserve it." I even found myself sharing that rote sentiment in my post-game post last week. I kinda went back and saw that I'd done that, yet reviewed how this team played -- indeed I looked back at how the team played in every playoff game they've been in since '70 -- and thought, ya know?

That's crap.

The fact is, there's just something else, and the 1-in-14 ratio says a ton about that.

In and around that inglorious state of affairs I discovered that 13 times in the 39 years since the 16-game schedule started in 1978 (excepting strike-shortened 1982) teams with fewer than 12 wins (as the Chiefs had in 2016) got into the AFC Championship Game and won it. That is, 13 sub-12-win-season teams went to the Super Bowl. 21 times teams with fewer than 12 wins at least got in but lost. Of 76 AFC Championship Game slots (since '78), 34 have been filled by teams with fewer than 12 wins. There were even about a half-dozen appearances by teams with 9-7 records!

Now yes, I understand that several other teams with 12 or more wins have not made it to their respective conference championship games, I get that. It's just...

What is it with the Chiefs never being able to do it???

The Chiefs have had 12 or more wins four times in their history and each of those times they lost the very first playoff game they had. There have been five times the Chiefs played a divisional playoff game at home -- '71, '95, '97, '03, and now '16. During the regular season of those years, the Chiefs were 37-2. People like to point out how in their three 13-3 seasons they had perfect home records, but you must remember that they had a perfect 7-0 record at Municipal in '71 -- then lost to the Dolphins. Their only two losses were this year, those against Tampa Bay and Tennessee.

Still.

37-2 at home, regular season.

0-5 in the Divisional Playoff Games.

Sorry, but that - just - does - not - happen.

It just does not happen unless there are forces at work that deliberately make that happen. Yes, I am going to get into the supernatural, just some of my thoughts anyway, but bear with me. I will, however, also get into the mechanics of the things happening out there on the football field and the things going on in the front office that with my very limited and perhaps I confess a bit stultified perspective, I see are messing with the Kansas City Chiefs in a major way. Again, if you're one to just outright dismiss this perspective, then I understand. But I hope you'll continue reading, if only for the therapy. Hey, I'm just a mild-mannered but passionate Chiefs fan too.

One of the things I'd been doing to soften the blow of experiencing another idiotic chain of football game events derailing yet another Chiefs shot at the AFC title was to re-read C.S. Lewis' book The Silver Chair. I'm not going to get into all the exposition, but I encourage you to read it as I do any of Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia books. Yes, it is written for children, but it is a wonderful Christian allegory and delightfully awakens the imagination.

Two key parts to note here. One, the character Puddleglum is a very cynical individual, and I fancy him to be quite like I am. I am cynical to the point of often seeing the worst in things, but I only do so to get to a point of identifying truthful things. I liken my blogging here to what Puddleglum does to get at the reality of things.

Two, the plot device related to Prince Rilian. It is a simple one for the purposes of this post about Chiefs things.

He is under a spell.

He is under a spell put there by a powerful underworld entity who wants to use him for her nefarious ends, and it is the task of Puddleglum and his companions to rescue him, to free him from the grip of that spell.

I'm sorry, but the Chiefs somehow come under the influence of some spell every time they face a decent challenge in a playoff game. For the past couple years I have actually worked real hard to deliberately avoid the use of "a curse" language, of "bad luck" language, simply because it is so awkward, so grievous, so -- here's a good one from the thesaurus -- vexatious.

I do bring it up here because I can't help but notice. I noticed it last Sunday -- I just did! I'm not going to sugar-coat it. When you looked into their eyes there whenever you could, when they were on the sideline, through their helmets -- the camera shot just allowing you to behold their souls bared -- you could just tell... I'm sorry I could tell!

The Kansas City Chiefs just looked like they were under that spell.

I knew it because I could see it in the eyes of any Chiefs participant all the other past playoff games. All of them.

It's that spell that just has them thinking there is nothing they can do to avoid the fate that is in store for them. Sorry, but it was just there, you could see it, and it is brutal. It is brutal over and over and over again, every single time we have these playoff games. And sorry, if you're a Chiefs fan who is honest with yourself, you have to admit you see it too.

We all watch amazing phenomenally talented exceptionally gifted hard-working having all kinds of got-it players -- Eric Berry and Marcus Peters and Justin Houston and Jeremy Maclin and Travis Kelce and Alex Smith and Dontari Poe and Eric Fisher and Spencer Ware -- and of course sharp astute insightful amazing coaches Andy Reid and Bob Sutton and Matt Nagy -- and of course so many other Chiefs terrific-football-people-in-so-many-ways -- these are incredibly good Chiefs people who should easily be winning games like the one on Sunday except that... You know what -- I could tell as I had so many times before -- you know it...

There was just that thing, that spell. Their expression, their demeanor, their composure -- I'm sorry but it was there. Please, nothing about them as players or people, they're wonderful as far as I can tell, but it's just that dread that that idiotic thing is going to happen to contemptibly derail all their extremely hard work. And it only comes upon them in the playoffs. Regular season? They're world-beaters. Post-season? I've written a number of times before, it's like every Chiefs player goes through some portal into which their strengths dissipate and their weaknesses distend.

Now, what are the elements of that spell? Really, what are they?

I've already racked my brain trying to think of what Lamar Hunt could have possibly done way back in the day, what??? I actually think, did he sell his (and his team's) soul to the devil the night before Super Bowl IV just so he could win that game, at least that one, in order to get back at that Minnesota team for so viciously dissing him when they'd promised to be a founding member of the AFL? I actually wonder, I do. And please know, I don't for a second believe Hunt actually did that, but I still think it, this kind of thing bumps around in the back of my head as I try to figure out something.

Thing is, the Chiefs that year, 1969, were truly one of the very best teams ever, they really were. Hunt simply would not have had to do anything so silly to afflict his future team in such a way. They were already going to easily beat the Vikings that day. Did you know that there are nine Hall-of-Famers from that one Chiefs team, do you? Do you know only the Packers of the 60's and the Steelers and Cowboys of the 70's have more, and only by a couple more Hall-of-Famers each? Not the 49ers, not the Redskins, not the Broncos or Raiders or Giants -- yes a team like the Patriots will likely get a few but that's for later.

No, the Chiefs had nine Hall-of-Famers from that team, and no team has ever had more defensive player Hall-of-Famers, none. Yet, only one Super Bowl win. So yeah, I could just as easily say we should've had more, what a rip-off! Look at the Packers Steelers Cowboys they had a bunch!

But sure enough, there it is, and the very valid point that follows is that the Chiefs have been such a good team in every one of those games that they should have had several more playoff wins.

Again, there is that detractor: "Shaddup ya whiner! Ya lost."

How, though, can I make the legitimate case for more Chiefs wins that weren't? See, I can understand when the team is just not as good as they should be to win. Really, losses to the Bills in '91, Colts in '06, and Ravens in '10 are prime examples of this. But what about in years like 2013 when we had, I believe if I'm not mistaken, nine players go to the Pro Bowl? In years like 2016 when we had a high strength of schedule -- a 2nd place team schedule -- and we played in the very competitive AFC West, even going 6-0 there? That's not enough?

Over the past few years the Chiefs have soundly defeated each of the last Super Bowl winning teams in the regular season: New England, Seattle, and Denver, each team with pretty much the same bunch that won the Super Bowl, the Chiefs winning with pretty much the same bunch we have right now. You can even throw in our win this year over last year's Super Bowl runner-up Carolina to augment the impact.

There are so many evidences about how good these Chiefs teams were that should mean at least a few definitively demonstrative playoff wins here over these many years. There simply has to be some times when teams like these actually win playoff games against tough teams.

I'm boldly positing that the Chiefs don't because they just look like they're psyched out, like they're under some spell. And again, I am convinced that something happened, something something something happened after Hank Stram was hoisted on that overcast New Orleans January day in 1970.

You may shrug off "supernatural" as merely comprising the realm of the ethereal other-worldly type stuff, but it also means the insane things people do out of their own pride to affect football field activity. Look at what Stram himself did after SB IV. Every Chiefs fan knows how much his hubris contributed to the unraveling of the team beginning in the early 70's. And who can refuse to grimace every instance where Hunt's distractions kept him making the wrong moves over and over again (hiring and staying with John Mackovic for so long, firing Marv Levy when he should've kept him way longer ::groan::)

See, these are all part of the supernatural influences that hammer the Kansas City Chiefs -- that's a big part of the spell.

How in blazes does that carry over into what continued to happen last Sunday?

Well, let me get back to the key thread I want to emphasize in all of this.

The Chiefs were good enough to win last Sunday. And they should have.

Think about this now. What is this game going to go down as? What is it -- you know.

The Eric Fisher Hold Game.

Should we review all the "Games"? ::Deep breath:: The Christmas Day Overtime Game The Dave Szott Hold Game The Joe Montana Concussion Game The Player Who Shall Not Be Named (Lin Elliot) Game The Elvis Grbac (and not Rich Gannon) Game The No Punts Game The Criminal Indianapolis Turf Taking Out All Our Good Players One By One Game...

Sometimes these games are known by the weather -- there was the classic "Ice Bowl" Packers-Cowboys game from '67. How about the Chiefs? That super cold game against Indianapolis in '95? I mention this because this year when that ice storm had Kansas City right in the its center on the exact day of our playoff game, I do confess that yes, again, I thought, what is going on here? I simply could not help but think of the supernatural -- are we trying to be told something? Because this can't be happening.

No other NFL team ever ever ever has this many of these kinds of Games, with the special names, unless of course they're "The Catch" or "The Immaculate Reception". (::Whimper:: That we'd have any games like those. ::Sigh::)

Okay, back to The Game That Will Unfortunately Very Likely Be Heretofore Known As The Eric Fisher Hold Game -- sorry, but the game didn't turn on Eric Fisher's hold. It really didn't. And again, it didn't turn on any particular thing the Chiefs didn't do or did do poorly. Don't worry, I will get to the reasonable Chiefs inadequacies in a bit.

But this is about the officiating, and the specifics of how the Chiefs were robbed again by lousy officiating. It is indeed almost as if we're being punished by some witch doctor Raiders fans who didn't like that the refs missed Otis Taylor being out-of-bounds on that amazing catch in the '69 AFL Championship Game.

Sure some will say the officiating helps or hurts both teams evenly, that the calls even out, really, and this is an above-it-all, noble thing to say -- except when it is the critical calls that always rock the Chiefs. Even so, when the Chiefs do win a playoff game, I don't want to win on a crappy call that goes our way!

In some ways, this is one of the great virtues of being a Chiefs fan. We're still going to be rooting for a team that will win only when it is earned on the merits. The 1997 Broncos can hoist a trophy and have their name in the record books as NFL champions that year, but the Chiefs still know Denver's offensive linemen willfully and extraordinarily illegally smeared petroleum jelly all over their jerseys in that Divisional Game and the officials stopped the game and allowed them given time to wipe it off. No time-outs, no penalties, no nothing.

So again, everyone is going to rail on Eric Fisher, but they shouldn't. Bless the Chiefs players, coaches, and fans, they really aren't doing that. They know better. They know that even in understanding it could be considered a legitimate holding penalty, that's fine, it was still a major sell-job by James Harrison, and the truth is flops do work often enough in sports.

Then there're the number of holds the Steelers offensive line had against the Chiefs throughout the game. How many did you see that could've easily been called? 17? 18? At least? Those refs call one of them against the Steelers and Le'Veon Bell doesn't get that long run - the Steelers don't get that 1st down in that drive - they don't get into field goal range - they don't get a sixth field goal and ultimate the margin for the win.

Were there holding calls that could've gone against the Chiefs? Maybe, but they wouldn't have made as much of a difference to the Chiefs. Remember, the Chiefs didn't even score a point on five straight drives, so the refs could've called five holds and it wouldn't have mattered.

But it would have mattered if they'd called even one or two against the Steelers. Spencer Ware's runs were not as major as Bell's, so bringing back one of Bell's runs on a holding call would've had a much greater impact.

And of course that is a huuuge part of this, that the calls like these are waaay huger to the Chiefs than they are to their opponents. That one holding call they make, the one against Fisher, was a crusher. Don't call any holds the Steelers used to spring Bell, but call that one on Fisher when we can least afford it...

And the thing is this is the way it is in every playoff game the Chiefs have. Is it just coincidence? Does it just happen to happen that way, just because? I really don't think so, I really don't, and I don't think there is a single Chiefs fan who does.

I so much want to continue this thread, get more into the details of the game, the process, the eventualities, the criminalities, and yes, the standard but very necessary revisitation of The Quarterback Project, but as I figured this is a lot, and I've run out of time today. It'll be a series, but I may have time tomorrow, and next weekend also, to continue the therapy.

Thanks for joining me. Until then...

Go Chiefs! (For next year...)
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Sunday, January 15, 2017

Steelers at Chiefs - Divisional Playoff Game

It is simply not as agonizing anymore.

We're Chiefs fans.

As it is this is the fifth divisional playoff game the Chiefs have ever played at home, and the fifth loss. 0-5 in divisional playoff games at home for the Chiefs, ever. 1971 at Municipal, then in 1995, 1997, 2003, and one more time tonight here at Arrowhead.

All heartbreakers, so yeah, we're used to it.

And sure enough, there was that charmed thing that went the Steelers way, yet again. And the Chiefs suffer the exact opposite, some cursed thing that kills them. We're now 4-15 in the playoffs since January 11, 1970. The Steelers have almost twice as many playoff wins than we have playoff appearances in that time.

This was also another chance for us to win a playoff game after winning the division. As I'd mentioned a while back, the only times we'd done that were 1966, beating Buffalo, and 1993, beating Pittsburgh then Houston. We've never done it any other time. I truly think we're the worst team in the NFL in that department -- both winning the division and at least one playoff game -- only twice for us in our history. (FYI when we won the Super Bowl we were a wild-card team.)

I knew we'd win this game, but I have to confess I'd had few hopes that that stupid idiotic charmed Steelers thing wouldn't happen yet again to keep that from actually happening. I had no illusions whatsoever. I tried real hard in my preview posts to be optimistic, and I think I did well, but my feelings still couldn't be disguised. I'd even said plainly the only way they win is with the stupid idiotic charmed thing.

And sure enough, there it was, in great big blazing and extraordinarily ugly fashion against the Chiefs. There it was, right there.

We get the key touchdown on a Spencer Ware one-yard run after a blisteringly hard drive that included a Steelers guy slamming his head into Chris Conley, almost knocking him out. That TD made the score 18-16. We go for two, and get it, Smith to Harris in the back of the end zone, 18-18 with a little over two minutes left.

But wait.

Eric Fisher gets called for the hold.

There it is. The charmed thing that happens in favor of the playoff opponent.

We're just so used to it, I feel like the the Isrealites in the middle of Babylon, in hell there on earth, really, and God tells them that they're being tested in the furnace of affliction. But He'll do amazing things for them because His name is on the line. Check out the 48th chapter of Isaiah, it's pretty cool.

So yeah, for now, the standard disappointment, but it is way less of a despondency than before. For one, we didn't do enough to win this game, let alone have enough got-it to really show we've got playoff gravitas. We just made too many mistakes, and on drives No. 2 to 6 we did diddly on offense. This meant Le'Veon Bell et al were on the field for far much too much of the game time, and it meant we weren't getting the necessary scores we needed to stay up with them.

Every time we play the Steelers it seems like they have 14 men on the defense. Was the defense of this team their weakness? Was it? Because if it was you sure couldn't tell. Either we sure didn't take advantage of it -- and I believe a lot of it was that -- or they've just got our playbook. Doesn't it seem like that to you? That they just seem to know what we're going to do every time we play this team?

Our failures included just not doing play action way more often. When we did, it worked. We also dropped too many passes. Wilson dropped a key pass that would've been a critical first down. Kelce dropped a pass right in his hands near the goal line, then got mad and pushed a Steelers player for a huge penalty.

Thing is, that last drive when we scored to almost tie it, I have to tell you...

We started to show some got-it, we really did. That last drive was something like 14 plays or something like that, converting two 4th downs, it was thrilling to see us make it a good game. We should be proud of our Chiefs, they played their hearts out then, played like soldiers with their backs against the wall and did well.

Then there was the critical charmed thing for them. And it involved James Harrison, who had that most charmed interception return in that Super Bowl against the Cardinals, who went to the Bengals a few years ago then retired and was charmingly allowed to zip back over to the Steelers -- what was with that? And here he is with some people saying he was able to draw Fisher into that holding penalty -- it was just Harrison charmingly selling it to look like more than it was. That's nice.

The Steelers charmed play won it for them yet again, and it was just as I was afraid it would be.

But what's new.

Some things that did hurt us and kept us from putting away this game early, as we really should have.

The main thing was indeed the main thing that would've hurt us, and it did.

Our run defense. Le'Veon Bell ran up and down the field, and their offensive line was playing very well. Please, Ramik Wilson did all he could and played like a champion, really. But it must be said that losing Derrick Johnson was critical, I don't think anyone would doubt that. The Chiefs D stiffened every time the Steelers got into our territory, but you can't beat six field goals if you're not moving the ball on offense.

Alex Smith missed wide open receivers a number of times. One time they were showing Tyreek Hill so wide open on one play that all I could think was, yep, there's one of the two or three critical missed looks Alex Smith seems to have every game.

There were also some blow-its allowing Pittsburgh to keep getting in position to get those field goals. The most obvious one was an early one when Justin Houston was covering Antonio Brown on that long pass play. What was that? And what was with another linebacker covering Brown allowing him to get the first down catch for the Steelers to seal the win at the very end of the game? Guh?

There are so many other things I can say about this game, and because I just don't want to think too much about the standard disconsolations Chiefs fans must always endure from these things, I'm just going to leave this with just a couple more thoughts. I don't think I'll blog any more on any of this, but I may just because I'll think of things I'll want to write to do the therapy that we all so frequently need.

So I don't know. We'll see.

For now.

We have a good team. I know we're faced with decisions about Dontari Poe and Eric Berry and Alex Smith and all that. But the very encouraging thing is that there is tremendous stability in this organization. I know John Dorsey will make fine decisions to get the players we need to get to the next level. Really, that's a very encouraging thing at this point. There's tremendous promise for the Kansas City Chiefs.

And they're showing some got-it. Much of this game they showed much less got-it than they really should have had, but on that last drive they really had it. I liked it. It was thrilling to see them work valiantly to get the win. Maybe some year we'll have so much got-it, especially in the playoffs, that there is no way we can't win. I truly think we're on our way to that level.

Speaking about the building process this team is in, I can't wait until the draft when in the first round -- here's the key --

We have that quarterback right there for us at that 24th, 25th pick of the draft.

Somewhere I saw a prognostication of the draft that put the Chiefs in position to get DeShaun Watson from Clemson -- oh wow would that be great. With his performance in the college football championship game I'm not sure he'll drop that far, but maybe, just maybe if we can for once get the charmed position to get a guy who will be like Aaron Rodgers (he was drafted 24th or somewhere around there).

Alex Smith actually played his heart out, he really did. I will never dislike Alex Smith (though I confess I have expressed dislike for him before... and, um, yeah, I hate it when he misses those receivers) But he plays like a champion and I will always appreciate what he's done for us. I will appreciate his efforts to take this team deep into the playoffs next year, I really will. I think he's on board for two more years, at least on his contract, I think, but then I don't peek at this stuff because it just drives me crazy.

I'm just pointing out here that I'm looking forward to when we do finally, finally, finally

Get that drafted and developed quarterback to take us to the promised land.

Maybe Alex Smith will next year, or the year after. That's cool, I'm all for it.

But we now need to get that young guy on board right now to be ready to do that in the following years. As it is, as of this day, it has been 10,718 days since the Chiefs won a game with a drafted and developed quarterback at the helm. As I've posited most fully in The Quarterback Project, the only way you are going to win the Super Bowl is

With a D&D guy.

Sure enough, look at the teams in the conference title games. All with quarterbacks the teams drafted and developed, yet again. It is practically an ironclad rule.

I will hope the best for our Smith-led team, I always will.

But we need the D&D guy and hey, not going farther into the playoffs puts us at the 24, 25 draft slot and a better chance to get that guy. I know it's not a lot, but it is some small consolation here.

And another thing about those teams in the conference championship games.

Precisely as I thought.

You've got New England (big market) vs Pittsburgh (media darling), and you've got Green Bay (media darling) against Atlanta (who isn't either of those but the seedings didn't allow for a New York or Dallas to be there). How much will the powers-that-be slaver when they get Green Bay with Aaron Rodgers going against New England with Tom Brady.

Yes, I'm rooting like crazy for Atlanta now. And I'm simply not going to get into the whole very-legitimate-conspiracy-against-us considerations, just not.

Just going to revel in being a Chiefs fan right now.

It's simply because no matter what, it's authentic, it's real, it's whole, it's rich -- it was neat to see so many fans at Arrowhead in spite of the freezing weather. They were there, and our team left it out on the field. We're true and genuine and it is very very good. I think I can join millions of other Chiefs fans in being extraordinarily proud of this team.

And in spite of the silliness yet again that occurred this evening,

We've got great hope.

That's a very good thing.
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Saturday, January 14, 2017

Chiefs Playoff Preview, Part V

I did it, I finally got a great shot of one of those vintage planes they fly around during the air show they have at the local airport every second weekend in January. A couple years ago I blogged about how invigorating it is to watch those old military planes, getting the feeling that these guys are courageously coming to the rescue and kickin' aye in the name of goodness and wholesomeness all around.

In that post I used a stock image of a fighter plane, but today I managed to get a great photograph of the ones that are flying overhead today. I couldn't help but catch that first one, do you see? The colors?

Red and gold.

Not only that, but look at how it's rightfully, correctly, teleologically flying ahead of that other plane, the silver and black one.

Very cool.

Nothing much else to put in this post though, really, everything that needs to be said has been said, and we're all waiting to see what happens tomorrow night. Should we review?

If Andy Reid gets the ball to Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill, as we should, we win.

If Alex Smith runs the offense efficiently with Spencer Ware grinding out yards, as we should, we win.

If our playcalling proficiently employs the other fine weapons we have such as Jeremy Maclin, as we should, we win.

If our pass rush is ferocious and our D-backs smother their receivers, as we should, we win.

If our special teams unit wins the field position game by a whopping margin, as we should, we win.

If our fans can get to Arrowhead, fill it up in spite of the weather, and ramp it up to 150 decibels or so when the Steelers have the ball, as we should, we win.

If we avoid that stupid opponent's charmed thing from happening by winning the turnover game, as we should, we win.

There it is. It's that simple.

It's funny, I had a dream last night that the Chiefs were busy winning this game, and winning big. Only thing is Jamaal Charles was in there somewhere. Now yeah, he's still on the team, definitely... And you know what -- I was thinking, do you remember that he actually scored a touchdown for us this season?

It just seems like he'd hardly played, and it's true he hardly did. But in one game he did score a rushing touchdown for us -- do you remember which one?

I'll wait a second. Did you get it?

Week 6, at Oakland, 2nd quarter, Charles carries for four yards and the touchdown, putting us up 13-7 on the way to a 26-10 win.

Just fun Chiefs stuff to think about as we celebrate our spot in the divisional activities awaiting the ultimate game tomorrow night.

Besides that there's also this -- that the Chiefs can win and have won, a lot, without Charles... we have the depth and the confidence that comes from that.

We're all over this.
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At this point I simply can't refuse to add this. This weather thing. Just saw this news story a while after finishing this post.

It is now about people's lives. I mentioned this in my last preview post, that they really should move the game to Monday, maybe even Tuesday now that I think about it, and because the NFL now is refusing to consider it seriously is one more reason the NFL is a word-I-don't-want-to-employ-here.

Pro football should be entertaining, and yet this kind of thing puts it in perspective. I'm even ashamed of myself for being so brutally obtuse, that I think only about this weather thing being so bad merely because it may so negatively affect the Chiefs play.

Ahem, they have a state of emergency from Oklahoma straight through Kansas City to Illinois.

What are these people thinking.
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Friday, January 13, 2017

Chiefs Playoff Preview, Part IV

Yes, I'm back at it again, adding some preview notes, this time simply because of the unprecedented weather situation this weekend that definitely requires much more remarking about. Sure enough, being the seasoned Chiefs fan that I am, I knew it could happen.

I so very much knew (how many other Chiefs fans did as well?...) it could be the case that weather was going to be a major part of this Chiefs playoff situation. Come on.

It's the Chiefs.

Turns out temps on Saturday night and Sunday will be 34 degrees. And it will pouring rain. Not 32 degrees so it could gently snow, no. Has to be 34 to allow tons of rain to dump all over Kansas City after which temps will drop below freezing to make all roads and parking lots one big ice rink.

This is such a major mo-fo of a storm they've even called it "Winter Storm Jupiter." Are you even kidding me. Look at that screen shot, KC is right smack in the middle of that thing. I mean.

As a result the NFL has rescheduled the game to 7:20 CST, when weather people seem to feel it'll thaw enough to allow people to safely travel and park their cars. I mean, has the NFL ever had to do that?

I think to be more safe they should make the game Monday. Even with the game Sunday night and the nearby roads and stadium lot cleared there are still fans from farther reaches like Iowa and Nebraska who have to be on the highways. But hey, we simply don't want too many Chiefs fans showing up at the stadium to be so loud as to rattle the Steelers three B's, Ben, Bell, and Brown.

Seriously, what is with this. One of our most potent weapons, the loud Arrowhead crowd messing with the Steelers offensive signaling may be compromised because Mother Nature simply has to do this stuff to the Chiefs. Really, how often do the Chiefs have a playoff game at Arrowhead? Once every millennia? And then this happens? My colleague at work seems to feel that this could affect the Steelers just as much as the Chiefs, but who knows. The point still remains...

What is going on here with the weather? The Chiefs? Possible crazy-ass impediments to Chiefs playoff success?

I will say one thing I did see along with the game time schedule change was that Justin Houston is planning to play. If he plays with any of his full offensive disruption capacity, coupled with all the other weapons we have in every facet of the game and Andy Reid's famously effective bye week preparation, we win this game hands down.

But then, there's this weather thing, and the Steelers charmed playoff play thing. See, we should win this one in most every reasonable scenario there is, but there is the ugliness of interminable Chiefs playoff disconsolations too painful to review. Here, there is that chance that silly charmed thing happens to hand the thing over to them, how many times have those things happened for the Steelers in the postseason.

Really, that's the only way they win this game.

Again, I'm very much looking forward to seeing the Chiefs do well, I really am. I'm as proud of this team as anything else -- again again, they deserve it because the talent and teamwork and smarts and leadership and camaraderie and character is so rich and full in this team.

And out of that I can thrill to the Chiefs being out there no matter what happens even if the Steelers have that silly charming thing that kills us. Yeah, it could just happen.

But it isn't resignation.

It's just acceptance.

It's a bountiful, joyous acceptance that holds on to who the Chiefs have been this season and how they've played. It is knowing that they deserve to have every accolade afforded them simply out of their own bountiful, joyous demonstration of all those things out on the field this season.

They'll play their hearts out no matter how much the winter storms pound against the team and its fans, no matter how much corruption spews out of the NFL and its media blappers, no matter how much any other forces conspire to keep them down. I've come to revel in the gallantry of Chiefs football in light of those robust challenges.

I've also come to accept that as much as there are hundreds of things more important than a football game, one of those things is just the plain old Chiefs Kingdom and what it stands for. I can take solace in knowing I have so many things to be thankful for -- and yes, one of those things is just the Kansas City Chiefs, period.

Today I did my late afternoon walk as I do on Fridays after work, and sure enough the sunset was amazing. The sliver of Steelers gold from the sun against the clouds slowly turned into a blazing Chiefs red sky filling the horizon.

That was awesome to see.
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Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Chiefs Playoff Preview, Part III

I can't help it. I simply cannot resist putting in another post about Chiefs Playoff Thoughts as we all eagerly anticipate what will commence this Sunday at 12:05 CST.

I'll be brief, and much of the post is simply a confession. I must confess right here in the cybersphere, I simply must. Thank you wholeheartedly for your indulgence.

I promised myself I would not look at a single thing Chiefs through the course of the entire week, because if things good are said I'll feel overconfident, if things bad are said I'll just be depressed. Stay away stay away stay away I told myself, but I blew it today. For a grand total of about 16 seconds I went off the wagon. Sorry.

I looked.

And I'm sorry, I just have to write. Forgive me.

In and around it all I just have to say three things. There is a lot more I'd like to say about how much I enjoy pure wholesome Chiefs things and how much I disdain the utter wretchedness of exploitive NFL organization/media/business-interests plap.

Here're the three things.

1. I'm so sick of seeing sportswriter hacks continue to write stories about how much we shouldn't forget what domestic violence thing Tyreek Hill did. Really, please, do you really feel any more about how despicable any domestic violence or sexual assault or anything like that must be just because some bozo with a keyboard in a cubicle gets on his high horse to remind us about it, with particular attention to how we should all think much less of Tyreek Hill because of it?

Yes, yes, I did a bad thing. I peeked at stuff about the Chiefs this week and sure enough I saw another of those idiotic pieces. What is it, what Mr. Holier-Than-Thou sportswriter wretch are we supposed to do regarding our thrills watching the fine football play of Tyreek Hill, someone who made a mistake, a terrible mistake not one single healthy individual would excuse for a second anyway, one for which he was duly prosecuted, one for which he fulfilled all the requirements of the law, and one for which he has expressed deep sincere regret?

Here's what I feel like doing. I feel like calling out any and every sportswriter who uses this incident and the contrast of Hill's fine play as a way to gain some pathetic attempt at notoriety and ask, what about you Mr. Sportswriter? What about that DUI you had a few years ago? What about that time you ripped off your best friend right after he helped you out? What about that time you got wasted and lied to your boss about it? Or something worse I could dig up? I feel like publishing a huge spread about how no one should ever forget what an asshole somebody could be just like Roger Sportsdick was at one time even though now he's a pretty decent writer.

Okay, how does that feel? Does that kind of thing make us all feel better about ourselves?

Of course it doesn't. It's just sanctimonious crap, all of it is. I may feel like doing something like that to a sportswriter who may even deserve it, but won't, and never would because of exactly that. It is sanctimoniously pointless crap.

Just as bad, I believe it is spewed out to try to put a crimp in the Kansas City Chiefs right at the moment of their potential success. Yes, it is part of that challenge the Chiefs have of working even more valiantly to overcome shit like this, to steel themselves against an establishment that loathes having a little podunk not-a-huge-market-with-lots-of-$$$ team there legitimately poised to go deep into $$$-generating playoff action.

I'm so glad this is a team with tremendous strength and character and camaraderie, that this stuff doesn't get to them.

I could add a few more things about this whole thing, about the plain double standards all around and the rank pusillanimity of the NFL as an organization, but that's for another post.

For now, the second thing, part of the confession.

2. The weather. Sorry, but I peeked at the weather for Sunday. Yeah, thinking this would be a harmless little transgression, I was wrong. I did a bad thing again.

But there you go. I saw the weather for Sunday, and I have to say right here, just to clear my conscience.

It makes me very nervous.

Every day in Kansas City this week the forecast is fine, it's okay -- somewhat sunny, temps decent though a bit chilly. Every day the following week is pretty okay too.

Except for this Sunday.

It is literally freezing rain.

Look it up.

Icy, freezing rain. The temps will be hovering in the mid-30's with major precipitation.

Great. Guh-rate.

Sorry but I look at these things and just wonder, what is going on here?

What is going on here with Chiefs playoff games at Arrowhead?

Now yeah, it could be nothing. It could be just as much of a hazard for the Steelers as anything, yeah, I know.

And one really good thing is that this is a playoff game, and Arrowhead will be packed even if it drops to minus-183 degree Antarctica-in-winter conditions.

We've got the fans and the decibel level on our side.

Here's the third thing, a good thing actually, the thing I'm now thinking is the key above all the keys we've talked about, heard about, thought about, keep thinking about...

3. Our coaches exploiting the areas where we can be most successful against the Steelers.

Really, that's the key. When you think about it, if we do this, we win. If we do this, and we make the right game adjustments, the charmed things that always happen for the Steelers won't happen for them because our fine talent will get us the dub-ya, no charmed things having any effect one way or the other.

One of the things we can do here is control the ball. Chew clock. Yes, we should score something each time we go down the field. Doesn't matter what, just get a score each time we get down the field -- be consistent with the scoreboard.

An important facet of this is to do our game management thing, have drives that use lots of clock time, for the expressed purpose of keeping their three fine offensive players off the field. Sure we can have big plays if we can get the touchdown, that's cool.

But our coaching is the key -- simply using our smarts in every area to exploit what we can, and we have the weapons, don't need to go over them again. We have the playcalling, it is Andy Reid's strength. We have the depth, John Dorsey has been phenomenal at getting us the guns.

Don't get me wrong. I'm eagerly looking forward to this, just to see our Chiefs there in the playoffs again, just to enjoy them being there out of their fine success this year, it'll be good this Sunday.

Yeah, it's all very wonderful. Very nice indeed, no matter what detractors of any and every stripe may blab.

The Chiefs are among the elite of professional football and deserve to be so.

Good work gentlemen. We're proud of you.

Keep it up.
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