I'm truly excited about this weekend's game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the New England Patriots. Preseason only takes you so far, I'm anxious to see how the Chiefs handle four quarters of football. The Patriots are picked to run away with it, but as big of a test as it is, it won't be the last for the ˜baby" Chiefs. It's only game one, and in a long season there are ample teams ready to take the Patriots place.
Everyone from the players to the fans will be measured this season. Some fans will be pushed for the first time. Who hasn't heard an old timer talk about the glory days and the not so good days of the late 70's and 80's? There's one in every family, and guys like me vaguely remember it. Plenty came aboard the moment Carl Peterson gave fans a reason to turn their heads. I distinctly remember where I was the first time Marty got the Chiefs back into the playoffs. There was hope again.
This season will be about perspective and keeping a level head. If the Chiefs are truly babes then it only makes sense they'll take baby steps. I have four children, and not one learned to walk the same. Some got it right away, a couple didn't. There were bumps, bruises, and even cuts. With each tiny step I had my hands out ready to catch them, but eventually they got it. A big part of Arrowhead is the 12th man, and this season these young Chiefs are going to need him.
This may sound lame, but it's the truth. When the Chiefs fall, and they will, the media won't be the ones picking them up. When Brodie Croyle makes a stupid throw, and he will, it won't be the experts telling him its okay. It'll be the ones with the right perspective, the ones who stick around in the stands and behind their television sets. When this wild ride is over not everyone will have the same point of view, but hopefully everybody will agree on the same thing, that the Chiefs are on the right track.
Having the right perspective doesn't mean putting on the rose colored glasses. My opinion is the Chiefs have real talent with this group of young guys; they just need time and experience to develop it. This year will be about the view I take and how I choose to enjoy the Chiefs.
If someone gets upset each time the Chiefs lose, then I'm sure they're not going to have much fun. Chances are they'll stop turning on the television or going to the games before the season ends.
Along with the right outlook a fan in our situation has to be able to look ahead. The Chiefs truly blew it up. This is what it looks like when a team starts from scratch. There was a time nobody associated the Patriots with winning, but look at them now. Tom Brady and crew will go down as one of the best.
"We get to play," said young safety DaJuan Morgan. "It seems like a long time since we played. You have to start somewhere, and this is as good a place as any."
Everybody knows the Patriots are big and bad and came within one game of having a perfect season, but when you hear these young Chiefs, you wonder if they do. Dajuan Morgan summed it up perfect when he said they ˜get to play". For these young Chiefs they haven't quite gotten it yet, haven't realized where they are and who they'll be facing, but the longer Herman Edwards keeps them thinking they ˜get to play" the better.
"I don't think any of this is too big for these guys," said Edwards. "That's one of the reasons we drafted them; it was their ability to come in and handle something like this. They played, a lot of these kids, at big-time schools right out of high school. In their lifetime, when they were 17 or 18 years old, they walked onto a college campus and they handled that pressure. When they get to this level, it's really no different. They should be able to handle it."
That's what's going to make this Sunday enjoyable regardless the score, watching these young players learn how to walk to eventually run. There's youth and enthusiasm. Pure athleticism mixed with zero NFL experience. Not a winning recipe, but depending on your perspective a fun one.
In the past with some of the veterans I could argue such a lopsided victory as the experts are picking the Chiefs to lose by. I knew their attitudes, character, personalities, and skills. The Patriots could still have won, but I could have defended the Chiefs better.
With this team I honestly know nothing. With 11 rookies getting playing time, possibly more, how can I? In order to get to know someone you have to stick around. Thick and thin and with the valley and mountain tops.
Getting through this season will take guts, there's no doubt, but tell yourself it'll be worth it. I do believe that Clark Hunt won't let it last long. He's different than Lamar...in a competitive way.
So this commentary wasn't bout stats, possible projections, or guessing the score. It was to remind folks that this game is one of many, and that the final tally may not be much different than last season.
What's important is that we see progress as the Chiefs take steps forward to something new and different. Oh, and even if it doesn't happen right away...we're around to tell them it's okay.
It's just my two cents, but come Sunday that's how I'll be watching the game.