An absurd outbreak of injuries, some offensive schemes that had grown stale, a distressed head coach and other transitional issues conspired to make for a deflating debut for Missouri football in the Southeastern Conference a year ago.
It may still be mathematically more difficult for the Chiefs to miss the playoffs than make them, but how theyre perched wont matter much if this team has already peaked. The burden of proof now is on the Chiefs to demonstrate that those first nine games werent fools gold forged on a favorable schedule.
On Saturday, 15-month-old Zoey was at the center of a celebration of the life of her mother, Kasandra Perkins, who a year ago was the victim of the murder-suicide committed by Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher.
Is this second straight loss a blip? Or is it a regression in a new direction? The answer, really, is neither. Or both. Because it hasnt been determined yet. But one way or another, we know this about the Chiefs: They almost always will be in close games that could go either way.
A 2-1 victory clinches Eastern Conference title on a chilly night at Sporting Park. And for all the remarkable breakthroughs the organization has cultivated and enjoyed the last few years, this magnificent stadium, the clever merchandising, the connection its created with fans, this moment still was a necessary validation.
Yes, the Denver Broncos beat the Chiefs 27-17 on Sunday night, and, yes, Denvers offensive strengths trumped the Chiefs defensive assets. But despite all that, this was no romp for the Broncos, who actually were matched in first downs (24) by the Chiefs. The Chiefs might be flawed, but theyre not a fraud.
With the Chiefs in Denver for tonights showdown, there is an unmistakable serenity around the franchise. It doesnt mean they will win, but even the flap over Dwayne Bowe shouldnt distract a voraciously hungry core of players that less than a year ago suffered true tragedy off the field and has absorbed chaos seemingly all around it for the last few years.
Ageless marvel that he may be at 74 years old, one day before too very long Kansas State coach Bill Snyder will retire again. And if athletic director John Currie were to entertain the idea of a rising younger candidate with deep K-State roots, here’s one surging a little below the radar: Youngstown State coach Eric Wolford, 41, who was among Snyder’s first recruits on campus in 1989.
The allegation by Riverside police that Chiefs receiver Dwayne Bowe was in possession late Sunday of more than 10 grams of marijuana implies that Bowe was brazenly oblivious to his responsibility to his teammates and the Chiefs organization, just as the team has surged back to life at 9-0 and prepares for its highest-profile game in years on Sunday at Denver.
Former Kansas football coach Mark Mangino returned, after a three-year sabbatical, returned to where his career began as an assistant at Youngstown State, his alma mater. He is 100 pounds lighter and said he made mistakes at KU but dismissed the notion that his emotions consumed him.
In the most essential moment of what became a 23-13 Chiefs victory, Sean Smith high-stepped the last 10 yards of his 100-yard interception return for a touchdown. It punctuated the turnaround that at once tied the game, reinvigorated the Chiefs and punctured the Bills.
The defense-minded Chiefs have a chance to improve to 9-0 this weekend at Buffalo, a milestone the franchise has reached only once before. And members of the 2003 team that made it to 9-0 are hoping this years squad can avoid their mistakes and eclipse that mark.
While the Sporting Kansas City midfielder has ascended to the upper echelon of U.S. soccer, he has remained grounded. That mind-set still is showing up now as Zusi prepares to lead Sporting into the MLS playoffs Saturday with no sense of being any better than anyone else.
Perhaps 3 inches or so from caroming between the uprights or maybe even going through unscathed and sending the game into a third overtime, the ball clanked off the left goalpost and fell no good. Instead, the game was over, and Mizzou lost 27-24 in double overtime, and Andrew Baggett was immediately cast somewhere between shock and anguish.
So the Chiefs are 8-0, but boy, they sure are lucky, some are grousing. As if that diminishes the fact theyre the only undefeated team in the NFL. Or suggests that its all a whim of fate or mere smoke and mirrors. But if you want to understand how luck and the Chiefs really have melded this season, indulge us in a cliche about the dynamic: Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.
Inhabited by 40-some descendants of former slaves, rural Sapelo Island is reachable from the Georgia mainland only by ferry boat. Chiefs lineman Allen Bailey grew up there and remains fiercely proud of its people and uncomplicated way of life.
There are shades of gray to the NCAAs case against Missouri basketball coach Frank Haith, who will serve a five-game suspension. You could argue, that the NCAA endured too much controversy and invested too much in this to exonerate Haith. But, certainly, some of whats attributed to Haith in the NCAAs report, including inconsistent answers given to investigators, is undoubtedly candid.
Maybe youve been blessed to have someone in your life like this: A teacher, coach or mentor, perhaps all of those things at once, who believed in you before you knew who you were or believed in yourself. Thats who Don James was to Missouri football coach Gary Pinkel.
Chiefs linebacker Tamba Halis relentless way is contagious and helps galvanize and energize a dynamic defense, a defense that is the most substantial reason why the Chiefs have morphed from the worst team in the NFL in 2012 to the only remaining undefeated team.
After beating a ranked team for a second straight week for the first time since 1973, after becoming the first team to beat Georgia and Florida consecutively since 1992, Missouri is 7-0 and likely to ascend from No. 14 well into the top 10. Most meaningfully, MU is alone quite alone atop the SEC East Division standings at 3-0. Florida, Georgia and South Carolina are 3-2.
Even with his legacy entrenched a half century this month since he quarterbacked his first home game in Kansas City, Len Dawson still marvels at all the reasons he might never have been known at all here.
Even five seasons after playing his last game at Missouri, Chase Daniel remains intensely invested in the program he helped redefine and propel in 2007 to a No. 1 ranking for the first time in nearly half a century. Thats why after Mizzous historic win at Georgia, Daniel sent an encouraging text message to freshman quarterback Maty Mauk (pictured), who will start Saturday against Florida.
Missouri believes the quarterback is more than capable of stepping up and replacing the injured James Franklin. So, as sad as it is that Franklin will be out for an estimated three to five weeks, that neednt mean what had been shaping up as a special season for Mizzou simply is snuffed out.
As the seconds ticked down on Mizzou’s electrifying, groundbreaking 41-26 victory at No. 7 Georgia on Saturday at Sanford Stadium, MU senior receiver L’Damian Washington with fury in his voice repeatedly yelled to no one in particular, “Tell me that win ain’t good enough!”
Chiefs fans officially set the record for loudest crowd roar at a sports stadium against the Raiders. But in the end, no number really illustrates the symbiotic relationship between the Chiefs and their fans the way just being in the stadium did on this frenzied Sunday.