The reaction of Chiefs fans from Sundays loss is bizarre. I hope I can say that here. Were all friends, right?
By SAM MELLINGER
The Kansas City Star
Anyway, the reaction, best I can tell, falls in four general categories:
- Were screwed. The season is falling apart.
- Were fine, because the defense is going to be better and look at the offense doing better.
- Even after three straight losses, were light years ahead of last season.
- Peyton Manning just did Peyton Manning things, so no big deal.
Now, the first three reactions I get it. Generalizing a group as big as Chiefs fans is a dangerous endeavor, and after any loss youre going to have some people who think the world is ending and some people who think the team will get better from it.
Its that last reaction I find the most interesting.
Because, cmon, if you have a team built on defense, that wants to have this claim as the greatest, baddest, nastiest, most dominating defense in the league you cant just roll over against a good quarterback. Thats not the way it works.
Unless youre just more comfortable being in denial.
Because, um, last night the Saints managed 188 yards and seven points at Seattle.
Also, if youre pressed for time, I do hope you read about the breaking news here with five formers players suing the Chiefs over concussions. There are some far-reaching possibilities with this.
As always, thanks for your help and thanks for reading.
@mellinger How long will chiefs fans be forced to hitch their wagon to a lame horse?— Nate (@nsatterl) December 2, 2013
Wait for it
@mellinger But I suppose it's better than year, when the horse had no legs.— Nate (@nsatterl) December 2, 2013
and there you go.
Strange place Chiefs fans find themselves in. Three straight losses, all to division opponents, all crushing what used to be the leagues best defense, and two of the games at home. Theres some justified frustration over that.
But think back to a year ago. Think back to before the season. Think back to win "11-5 with a decent chance at winning a playoff game" wouldve been reason for a parade.
The Chiefs have problems. Theyve had much bigger problems.
@mellinger why couldn't the chiefs have started, say, 6-3 so we could all just be happy they're not the worst team in the league anymore?— Jessica Zarate (@thejessz) December 2, 2013
Right. Its like a starving man gorges on steak, and then doesnt hamburger. Its totally natural, totally conflicting, and a pretty good illustration about where the fan base is right now.
@mellinger Hindsight is 20/20, but not going for Tony "Does-Not-Drop-Passes" Gonzales at the trade deadline was a total KC move, right?— Ben McGuire (@MrBenMcGuire) December 2, 2013
I still dont think so.
I dont want to sound like Bill Clinton here, but it depends on your definition of "win."
Can they win a Super Bowl with Alex Smith as the quarterback? Sure. But the margin for error is very small, and the players around him need to make up for the difference between Smith and, say, Peyton Manning.
Right now, with those receivers and offensive line, theyre not particularly close.
Its a bit of an Ink Blot test, because the following two statements are absolutely true:
- In NFL terms, Alex Smith is better than his receivers.
- In NFL terms, quarterbacks are much more important than receivers.
For instance, Tom Brady is having a better season than Alex Smith with worse receivers because hes a better quarterback than Smith. Also, Andre Johnson is having a better season with a worse quarterback than any Chiefs receiver because hes a better receiver than anyone the Chiefs have.
The next question is where the Chiefs should upgrade, and Id say that receiver is the bigger immediate need and quarterback the more important long-term need.
@mellinger so now that the division race is over, Marcus F. Cooper basically has five F. weeks to figure it out right?— Jackson Long (@TheJacksonLong) December 2, 2013
Not back, Jackson. Not bad at all.
Cooper, if you missed it, was targeted 11 times by Peyton Manning on Sunday. Manning completed seven passes for 180 yards and two touchdowns.
Brandon Flowers was worse. He was targeted six times for five completions, 120 yards and two touchdowns.
Now would be a good time.
But guys, he was SO good over the first nine games. The trainwreck of the last three weeks is no illusion, but those first nine games still happened, too.
This is still a strong, athletic guy learning the position. This is still a physical, press corner who showed great ball skills and anticipation in making a lot of great plays the first 2 ½ months of the season.
@mellinger Im actually feeling more optimistic after our last three games. Offense has come alive. I could see them winning out. Thoughts?— derek greaves (@derekgreaves) December 2, 2013
You are quite the optimist.
The schedule lightens up now. Washington is a hot mess. The Raiders have lost four of their last five, each of the losses coming against teams the Chiefs beat, two of the losses at home against teams the Chiefs beat on the road. The Colts are leaking oil, and the Chargers are still hard to figure out.
So, sure. Its possible.
But a team built on defense has now given up 103 points in three games, two of them at home.
@mellinger I just thought I'd drop in and say Hi Sam.— Chris (@jcpayne28) December 2, 2013
Also, this made me think of this:
@mellinger how can manning own the chiefs and yet be so terrible against the patriots?— Eric Hendricks (@EricHe1091) December 2, 2013
And at least SOME of Mannings struggles two weekends ago at New England have to do with the way that game played out. The Broncos had a big lead to protect, and its at least worth remembering that when they needed a touchdown drive into the wind in the fourth quarter they got one.
I havent studied that game, but watching live it seemed like the Patriots essentially flooded the field with defensive backs. The Chiefs had a lot of snaps with five or six defensive backs on the field Sunday as well, but if that press coverage isnt working the whole thing turns into disaster pretty quickly.
@mellinger Will the SEC's BCS championship streak snap?— Elias Williams (@HisNameIsElias) December 2, 2013
What youre basically asking is if Ohio State OR Florida State will lose this weekend.
Florida State opened as a 27 ½-point favorite over Duke, so lets just move on. Ohio State plays Michigan State in the Big 10 championship game in Indianapolis, and I think this is going to be the SECs window.
Im not convinced that Ohio State is all that great. I know its a rivalry game, but national championship-type teams shouldnt be giving up 41 points to Michigan, which lost to Michigan State 29-6. Ohio States most impressive win is, what? Winsconsin by a touchdown at home? Northwestern by 10 on the road?
The game will be indoors, which will favor offense, but the Big 10 is traditionally a league won with defense and here are the point totals for Michigan States last six opponents: 0, 3, 6, 28 (a 41-28 win at Nebraska), 6 and 3.
I think Michigan State is going to win, which should cause an enormous hissy-fit around college football about which SEC team should play Florida State in the BCS championship.
My vote would be for the winner of Saturdays game, but I get no vote, and we all know there will be a push for Alabama to sneak in there.
Hes intriguing as hell. I dont pretend to be a scout, but he has all the talent in the world. Terrific athlete, creative, mobile. Good arm.
The off-field stuff doesnt bother me. Maybe it should, maybe there are red flags Im missing, but mostly I see a young, privileged kid having fun. I couldnt care less about the autographs. Thats a "crime" only in the hypocritical eyes of the NCAA. The Manning camp thing bothers me a little bit, because thats an instance where partying got in the way of a responsibility, but in the grand scheme, cmon. Hes young. He can learn from that.
I do think that, particularly if the Chiefs lose Branden Albert this offseason, its a good idea to have mobile quarterbacks.
There are some issues here, of course. Alex Smith is the Chiefs guy, at least in the short-term. Chase Daniel is on the first year of a three-year contract as the backup. The Chiefs are high on Tyler Bray as a developmental guy.
But if youre not at least looking to get better at quarterback, youre doing it wrong in the NFL. I hope the Chiefs look hard at Manziel and everyone else in what is supposedly a loaded group of quarterbacks in the upcoming draft class^.
^ Were all assuming Manziel enters the draft after this season. Seems like a reasonable assumption.
@mellinger What kind of pay raise will Pinkel get if they make the Sugar bowl?— aron otto (@kcT1ger) December 2, 2013
Whatever he wants.
Certainly enough to make up for the salary freeze Mizzou gave him after the DWI a few years back.
@mellinger dare I say the "Arrowhead Advantage" is overrated? 3 biggest games of last 10 yrs ('03 vs Ind, '10 vs Bal, Sunday) all losses.— Jeremy Marks (@JerMarks) December 2, 2013
I dont know if Id say its overrated. When its right, Arrowhead is next to Seattle, Denver and New Orleans as the loudest and hardest places for teams to play.
The Colts game couldve gone either way, and turned on two plays. The Ravens were WAY better than the Chiefs that year, and its not the crowds fault that the Broncos have more talent than the Chiefs, or that Smith threw that interception in the end zone, or that Flowers and Cooper couldnt keep up with anybody.
If someone thinks the Chiefs are unbeatable at Arrowhead, sure, yes, absolutely: overrated.
But if someone thinks Arrowhead makes the Chiefs better, and is one of the leagues best homefield advantages when the crowd is into it: accurate.
Eh, sure. Hes an $8 million per year space filler, basically. Hes a league average pitcher, and I say that with respect: in major league baseball, league average starting pitchers are valuable.
Basically, it puts more pressure and emphasis on someone (or someones) out of Yordano Ventura, Danny Duffy and Kyle Zimmer to turn into impact starters in 2014.
The rub, obviously, is that couldve happened in addition to another strong pitcher to help ease the load.
@mellinger Where does L'Damian Washington's prediction of 11 wins at SEC Media Day rank on the list of unlikely predictions that came true?— Clinton Thomas (@ClintT13) December 2, 2013
Well, the craziest part of it is that Washington may very well be proven wrong but only because the Tigers might win 12 or even 13.
But, honestly, I dont have a good answer for you here. Earl Woods predicting his son would change the world is one possibility, but thats a little extreme.
You guys think of any?
I think Mizzou is going to win. I think Auburn is good but has been incredibly lucky, most obviously in the Alabama and Georgia wins, but they were also outplayed by Mississippi State.
I dont believe in Trap Games, but I do think its reasonable to wonder how much Auburn has emotionally a week after winning a game like that, against what was widely considered the best team in the country, which also happens to be an insanely encompassing rivalry.
We should all remember: dont nobody know nothing for sure about no sports.
It is rather remarkable, when you think about it. He was one more bowl-less season away from some more serious questions about his job and whether he could lead the Tigers in the SEC, and now were talking about enormous raises and statues.
@mellinger If KU and MU were to have played football this year, describe how the game would have gone.— Tim Campbell (@The_TimboSlice) December 2, 2013
Heres the lede of the fictional game story:
In the bowels of Arrowhead Stadium, the two football locker rooms are separated by a short walk. But on Saturday, they were also separated by a vastly different world view.
Over in Mizzous locker room, James Franklin and Michael Sam embraced in a happy but subdued celebration after Mizzous 42-6 win over rival Kansas.
"Im just glad we came in here and took care of business," Mizzou coach Gary Pinkel said. "We couldve looked ahead to the SEC championship game, but we didnt."
Over in KUs locker room, they had other things on their minds.
"When does the basketball team play?" said one staffer, who requested anonymity.
@mellinger I'm a KU fan through and through but I'm secretly happy that Missouri fans are enjoying a successful team. Am I a bad fan?— Daniel Wesley (@DanielSWesley) December 2, 2013
I dont think so, but, you might want to keep that thought away from some KU fans.
@mellinger Turner Gill 5-19. Charlie Weis 4-20. Which coach had a more promising future after two years?— Mike Rouse (@Turnksu) December 2, 2013
Weis, but only by default.
@mellinger what place in KC makes the bestChristmas cocktail?— lane baysden (@lanebaysden) December 2, 2013
What exactly is a Christmas cocktail? If it includes eggnog, take that nastiness somewhere else.
Drink a beer. Or whiskey.
@mellinger went to the drunken fish. 1 roll was good, 1 wasn't. What's with all the cream cheese? I'm choosing next dinner. Recommendation?— Mathew Berger (@_MathewB) December 2, 2013
Drunken Fish is OK, but theyre a lot of sizzle instead of steak, if you know what I mean. The best sushi in town is at Juns, which is in a strip mall at like 78th and State Line, across the parking lot from a Hy-Vee.
But if you jumped on the sushi grenade and you get to pick the next dinner, make up for it with something like Strouds. Or the Westport Flea Market.
The dream will be broadcast on national television.
The fact that youre asking means you dont feel certain, and dont have a significantly stronger bond to one team or the other. Because if you like one team signficantly more than the other, the answer is easy.
Now, we can go through the cases of each side here. We can say that Sportings argument for your live viewing is that they are playing for the championship of their league, the ultimate achievement possible for them, while Mizzou is just playing for the conference title.
Mizzous argument is that this is, potentially, the biggest moment for their program in at least a generation and that, lets be honest, college football is a much better deal nationally than MLS.
We could go back and forth on this for a few thousand words, or I could just say this: watching Sporting live and then catch up with Mizzou, because Sportings game should be over around halftime of the SEC championship.