I’m not a big believer in the theory that teams can build momentum for the regular season by playing well during preseason games. NFL history is filled with teams that were miserable in August and great after that, and vice versa, so preseason results tend to be coincidental in the bigger picture.
The Chiefs have been the exception to that rule. They’ve played poorly in recent years in the preseason (they last had a winning preseason record in 2003 and since then, they are 7-29 and have gone winless four times) and in most of those seasons have also started the regular season slowly (since 2003, the Chiefs have started the season 0-3, 2-2, 0-2, 0-2, 0-3, 0-5, 3-2, 0-3 and 1-10).
Coincidence? Perhaps. But in these cases, I’m not buying that. I’ve seen the Chiefs waste too much time on their training camp practice field and in preseason games the last decade. In many of these seasons, it was obvious that when the real games started, the Chiefs were going to be slow movers, and indeed that’s too often been the way things played out.
I don’t have the sense that this year’s Chiefs, in their first season under coach Andy Reid, are wasting their training camp time. They’re getting in plenty of hitting and appear to be getting a lot done.
So I have the feeling the Chiefs might be ready for a quick start when the regular season begins on Sept. 8 against the Jaguars in Jacksonville. I would still feel more confident about that if they played well in the preseason, beginning with next Friday’s game against the Saints in New Orleans.
It’s not essential that the Chiefs beat the Saints that night. But the stench from recent seasons needs to be cleared sometime and in the case of the Chiefs, the sooner the better.