Some of you may remember that classic Snickers commercial in which the groundskeeper misspells “Chiefs” in the endzone. “Great googily moogily,” he says.
Unfortunately, the same could be said of the Kansas City Chiefs this season. The only reason I bring this commercial up is because I feel a lot of fans were asking the same question after a 41-7 drubbing by the Buffalo Bills: who are these guys? This is not the 10-6 playoff team we remember. Sure, devastating injuries to Eric Berry and Tony Moeaki did not help anything, but come on; 41-7? At home? To freaking Buffalo? It’s almost as if we circled the wagons for them.
A friend of mine and I were discussing possible outcomes to the 2011 season and, sadly, none of them were positive. I think we narrowed down three headlines that we are almost guaranteed to see before training camp 2012:
1. Todd Haley will be fired – It doesn’t help his case that he is in a contract year and already looks to be leading his team to a top five draft pick. What also doesn’t help is his arrogance. Taking the blame for a loss is what a coach should do; saying it’s because you didn’t have them ready is what you shouldn’t do. Maybe if he had treated the preseason as something more than glorified practices, the team would be in better shape. Matt Cassel’s timing was off, tackling was atrocious, and the game plan was all-around poor. It seemed the players had no idea what to do out there, and that is 100 percent on the coaches. If the team continues to play the way they did against Buffalo, Haley won’t even make it to Thanksgiving with his job intact. Also, Buffalo’s coach’s name sounded really familiar to me. Didn’t Haley fire our offensive coordinator before the start of the 2009 season because he thought he could do it better himself? Isn’t that the year we went 4-12? What was that coordinator’s name? Chan Gailey you say? And now he’s with Buffalo? Good move, Haley. Sometimes there’s so much justice in the world of sports it’s not even funny.
2. The Chiefs will finish with their worst record in franchise history – That would make them 1-15. Such a depressing number in the world of football. But honestly, I don’t see where any of our wins are going to come from. Just look at the schedule. It’s scarier than Jack Torrance. We may be able to squeak out wins at home against Denver and Oakland, but if the Chiefs lose by nearly five touchdowns to Buffalo, imagine what New England, Chicago and Pittsburgh are going to do to them. All work and no play indeed.
3. The Chiefs will draft Andrew Luck in the first round – This might be our most uplifting headline. Clearly Cassel is not our man; neither is Tyler Palko, and even though I think Ricky Stanzi will turn into a good NFL quarterback, he is going to need a few years development. Luck will be one of those rookie QB’s that have an immediate impact on the team. And so long as Jim Harbaugh and the rest of the San Francisco 49’ers don’t intentionally lose the rest of their games, I think the Chiefs are well on their way to locking him up.
I am not a fair weather fan. I root hard for the Chiefs every Sunday; I come into every week hoping for a win. Maybe they’ll even surprise a few people and get a win this Sunday against Detroit. But hope only gets you so far. Growing up in the 90s I didn’t hope for wins, I expected wins. The Chiefs won’t be able to make that jump back to the latter with Haley coaching. We have a good team, we have very talented players; but none of them are playing to their potential under an egotistical, yet predictable, coach.
I’ve never experienced such pessimism from Chiefs fans this soon into the season. It is not unwarranted, however. Maybe they’ll turn it around and start winning a few games. Or, maybe we can lure Jon Gruden or Bill Cowher out of their desk jobs and back to the field, but I doubt it. Until that day, the coaching carousel will continue to turn on an endless supply of quarters, and the fans will continue to wait in vain for the second coming of Marty Schottenheimer.